by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism
When America went in to this rugged mountainous country to pursue, and bring the perpetrators of 911 to justice we did so with justification. After the initial successful incursion into Afghanistan GWB's administration shifted military focus to Iraq, a country that supposedly had weapons of mass destruction. We still don't have Osama Bin Laden, and we never found the WMD. However, what we did get was over ten tears of engagement in Afghanistan, additional loss of life, and a larger national debt.
I digress. Back to the encouraging news from Afghanistan and Gen. Petraeus. With recent successes in the south that have set the Taliban back there may actually be a potential end this long and costly military engagement.
Experts from the NYT's.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Besides well-reported advances in southern provinces, American and NATO forces have also been able to halt or reverse Taliban gains around the capital, Kabul, and even in the north and west of the country, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, said Tuesday.Truly good news. One can only hope the conclusion to this era in our history is indeed growing closer, that the troops will be home soon.
The general made his case for an improving overall picture in Afghanistan in an interview, offering a preview of what is likely to be his argument next week when he testifies before Congress for the first time since he took over command of coalition forces in Afghanistan eight months ago.
It will also be his first testimony since the influx of additional American and Afghan troops began to change the balance of the fighting in southern Afghanistan in late 2010.
Under General Petraeus, the tempo of operations has been stepped up enormously. American Special Operations forces and coalition commandos have mounted more than 1,600 missions in the 90 days before March 4 — an average of 18 a night — and the troops have captured and killed close to 3,000 insurgents, according to information provided by the general.
“The momentum of the Taliban has been halted in much of the country and reversed in some important areas,” he said.
“The Taliban have never been under the pressure that they were put under over the course of the last 8 to 10 months,” he added.
Other aspects of the war remain difficult, and progress is patchy and slow, General Petraeus conceded. There has been only modest momentum on efforts to persuade Taliban fighters to give up the fight and join a reintegration program, and a plan to train and install thousands of local police officers in rural communities to mobilize resistance to the Taliban has proved to be a painstaking business constrained by concerns that it will create militias loyal to warlords.
But security in and around Kabul has significantly improved, he said, thanks in part to specialized commando units of the Afghan Army, the police and the intelligence service, which operate in the greater Kabul area.
In 2009, Kabul was encircled by Taliban forces and there was talk of the capital’s falling to the insurgents, but now much of the greater Kabul area has been secured, he said.
President Hamid Karzai is to announce on the Afghan New Year, March 21, the beginning of the transition to Afghan control of some districts around the country, part of the plan to pass responsibility for security to the Afghan government by 2014.
The Taliban are expected to try to retake lost territory in coming months, and in particular to single out those districts in transition, the general said. But he said coalition forces would mount their own spring offensive to pre-empt Taliban efforts to retake lost territory.
“You cannot eliminate all the sensationalist attacks,” he said. “That is one of the objectives for our spring offensive — to solidify those gains and push them back further.”
Over the past four months, coalition forces have seen a fourfold increase in the number of weapons and explosives caches found and cleared, in large measure because the Taliban were forced out of territory they had held for up to five years, he said.
Here now the rest of the NYT article.
The one nagging question that keeps reoccurring is this. If, when we finally leave Afghanistan the Taliban should be resurgent how will the notational leadership handle it?
My other thought is, with the growing unrest in the Middle East will we merely move from one theater of operation to the next? Only time will tell I guess. But it is evident that since the end of WW II the nation has found itself engaged in one theater of operation or another.
I am reminded of President Dwight David Eisenhower and his warning in 1961 of a growing Military Industrial Complex and its threat to national liberty.