Friday, December 14, 2007

The Taliban Suffers A Major Defeat

The Taliban suffered major defeat today, as the flag of Afghanistan's government flew over the Taliban an dal Qaeda stonghold of Musa Qala in the Helmand province.Aside from being a major military base, it was also one of the leading centers of heroin and opium production.

The town was taken by a mixed force of Afghan troops, British marines, armor and infantry, NATO forces and US Green Beret special forces teams and airbourne troops.

Hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters were reported killed, wounded or taken prisoner in the battle.

This is reminiscent of Operation Mountain Thrust by the amazing US 10th Mountain Division in that it was an attack directed at a point the Taliban thought was simply unassailable.

The jihadis found out differently.

The offensive started last week when British Marine Commandos led the way by attacking across the Helmand River and were joined by the light armor of the U.K. Household Cavalry Regiment who attacked from the west. This set up the Taliban for the main thrust, an airborne drop and attack from the north by a battalion from Task Force Fury from our old friends the 82nd Airborne.

The Taliban and al Qaeda forces,instead of running back to Waziristan chose to stand and fight it out.

As the town was surrounded, the Taliban positions were pounded by heavy ordnance and pulverized from the air by B1 and B52 bombers backed by A10 tank busters, F16s, Apache helicopters and Specter gunships. They took heavy casualties before fleeing Musa Qala.

In a move that was openly criticized by US commanders on the ground,Musa Qala was abandoned last year by the British, after they were subjected to Taliban attacks and suffered heavy casualties. In essence the Brits simply handed the town over to the town elders and pulled out, which simply meant that the Taliban came back and took over last February.

The recapture of Musa Qala is a welcome victory over these brigands, and hopefully this time the NATO forces can hang on to it.

The main problem, of course, is that the Taliban can regroup in their havens in Pakistan and again subject the NATO troops to attacks while the NATO forces are pinned down on defense...just like last year.

1 comment:

B.Poster said...

Major congratulations are in order for all of the forces involved in this very heroic and necessary operation. We all owe them one. In fact, we all owe them many times over.

Freedom Fighter is spot on to point what the main problem is. I might also point out that we have never had enough troops on the ground. Clearing an area of bad guys so far has not been a huge problem. Holding the areas once they are cleared seems to have been a bigger problem.

An Israeli official recently pointed out that it is impossible to defeat a terrorist organization if you don't have enough troops on the ground. How do we fix this problem? I suggest two things.
1.) Allow the current forces we have to actually fight to win. So far, they have often been forced to fight with one hand tied behind their backs and many times they have been forced to play defense and not allowed to go on the offensive against the bad guys. If we will allow our troops to actually go on the offensive more and remove the restrictions on them, we may be able to win this without increasing the size of our armed forces. While allowing the troops to fight to fight more aggressively would certainly be helpful and it would go along toward winning the war, I'm not opptimistic that this will be enough by itself. This leads to the next suggestion. 2.) Substantially increase the size of the Army. This will likely require a draft.