Afghanistan: Taliban Offensive Shot to Pieces

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May 24, 2006: The last two weeks have seen an ambitious Taliban offensive shot to pieces. As many as a thousand Taliban gunmen, in half a dozen different groups, have passed over the Pakistani border, or been gathered within Afghanistan, and sent off to try and take control of remote villages and districts. The offensive was a major failure, with nearly half the Taliban getting killed, wounded or captured. Afghan and Coalition casualties were much less, although you wouldn't know that from the mass media reports (which made it all look like a Taliban victory). The Taliban faced more mobile opponents, who had better intelligence. UAVs, aircraft and helicopters were used to track down the Taliban, and catch them. Thousands of Afghan troops and police were in action, exposing some of them to ambush, as they drove to new positions through remote areas.  

 

The Afghan and British governments are both accusing Pakistan of looking the other way as Taliban groups set up shop and openly operate in Pakistani border areas. Pakistan denies this, but anyone who is bold enough to travel to these areas, will see evidence of Taliban presence (including enforcement of conservative Islamic lifestyle practices.) In truth, the Pakistani government has never controlled many areas along the border, and is only now, for the first time in its history, trying to exert control. 

 

May 23, 2006: In the last week, Afghan and Coalition operations in the south have killed some 300 Taliban, while losing 50 soldiers, police and civilians. In several incidents, Taliban used civilians as human shields, which led to civilian deaths.  British and French troops were heavily engaged, including British AH-64 gunships.

 

May 21, 2006: Coalition forces found that about a hundred Taliban gunmen were staying at a religious school near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Smart bombs hit the school in the middle of the night, but several dozen of the Taliban fled to nearby homes. As Afghan and Coalition forces closed in, the surviving Taliban fired back from nearby homes. So smart bombs were used on the homes as well, which killed about 16 civilians and wounded another twenty. Over 80 Taliban were killed, with no Afghan army or Coalition dead. The Taliban promptly spun their use of civilian homes, as human shields, as a Coalition atrocity.

 

 

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