the US assault (according to media reports) is being slowed down by Taliban 'booby-traps' and 'hit-and-run' tactics.
the US assault (according to media reports) is being slowed down by Taliban 'booby-traps' and 'hit-and-run' tactics.
"the US assault (according to media reports) is being slowed down by Taliban 'booby-traps' and 'hit-and-run' tactics."
We're in no hurry. Call me when the taliban make a determined assault on one of the participating units. They won't. What they do now is all that they can do. The town will not be there's. It's just that simple. Read the backgrounder from the Institute For The Study Of War provided in the links please.
see how effective was the ban on opium cultivation by Taliban in year 2000
i hope above is understandable, if not, that remind me of what Trevor used to say, a retired British SAS soldier and my ex company boss based in outskirts of east London
''Dont try to convince the assh*les becuase they dont have ear to listen or brain to understand.''
one of the very few wise people i met so far, he also believes that this misadventure in middle east and afghanistan by Americans, supported by Brits cannot be won, lets see if he is right or assh*les have some other plans
Posted By Stephen M. Walt Monday, November 30, 2009 - 5:38 PM Share
Tom Friedman had an especially fatuous column in Sunday's New York Times, which is saying something given his well-established capacity for smug self-assurance. According to Friedman, the big challenge we face in the Arab and Islamic world is "the Narrative" -- his patronizing term for Muslim views about America's supposedly negative role in the region. If Muslims weren't so irrational, he thinks, they would recognize that "U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny." He concedes that we made a few mistakes here and there (such as at Abu Ghraib), but the real problem is all those anti-American fairy tales that Muslims tell each other to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.
I heard a different take on this subject at a recent conference on U.S. relations with the Islamic world. In addition to hearing a diverse set of views from different Islamic countries, one of the other participants (a prominent English journalist) put it quite simply. "If the United States wants to improve its image in the Islamic world," he said, "it should stop killing Muslims."
Now I don't think the issue is quite that simple, but the comment got me thinking: How many Muslims has the United States killed in the past thirty years, and how many Americans have been killed by Muslims? Coming up with a precise answer to this question is probably impossible, but it is also not necessary, because the rough numbers are so clearly lopsided.
Here's my back-of-the-envelope analysis, based on estimates deliberately chosen to favor the United States. Specifically, I have taken the low estimates of Muslim fatalities, along with much more reliable figures for U.S. deaths.
To repeat: I have deliberately selected "low-end" estimates for Muslim fatalities, so these figures present the "best case" for the United States. Even so, the United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of "excess deaths" in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.
Figures like these should be used with caution, of course, and several obvious caveats apply. To begin with, the United States is not solely responsible for some of those fatalities, most notably in the case of the "excess deaths" attributable to the U.N. sanctions regime against Iraq. Saddam Hussein clearly deserves much of the blame for these "excess deaths," insofar as he could have complied with Security Council resolutions and gotten the sanctions lifted or used the "oil for food" problem properly. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the United States (and the other SC members) knew that keeping the sanctions in place would cause tens of thousands of innocent people to die and we went ahead anyway.
Similarly, the United States is not solely to blame for the sectarian violence that engulfed Iraq after the 2003 invasion. U.S. forces killed many Iraqis, to be sure, but plenty of Shiites, Kurds, Sunnis, and foreign infiltrators were pulling triggers and planting bombs too. Yet it is still the case that the United States invaded a country that had not attacked us, dismantled its regime, and took hardly any precautions to prevent the (predictable) outbreak of violence. Having uncapped the volcano, we are hardly blameless, and that goes for pundits like Friedman who enthusiastically endorsed the original invasion.
Third, the fact that people died as a result of certain U.S. actions does not by itself mean that those policy decisions were wrong. I'm a realist, and I accept the unfortunate fact that international politics is a rough business and sometimes innocent people die as a result of actions that may in fact be justifiable. For example, I don't think it was wrong to expel Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 or to topple the Taliban in 2001. Nor do I think it was wrong to try to catch Bin Laden -- even though people died in the attempt -- and I would support similar efforts to capture him today even if it placed more people at risk. In other words, a full assessment of U.S. policy would have to weigh these regrettable costs against the alleged benefits to the United States itself or the international community as a whole.
Yet if you really want to know "why they hate us," the numbers presented above cannot be ignored. Even if we view these figures with skepticism and discount the numbers a lot, the fact remains that the United States has killed a very large number of Arab or Muslim individuals over the past three decades. Even though we had just cause and the right intentions in some cases (as in the first Gulf War), our actions were indefensible (maybe even criminal) in others.
It is also striking to observe that virtually all of the Muslim deaths were the direct or indirect consequence of official U.S. government policy. By contrast, most of the Americans killed by Muslims were the victims of non-state terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans should also bear in mind that the figures reported above omit the Arabs and Muslims killed by Israel in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Given our generous and unconditional support for Israel's policy towards the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular, Muslims rightly hold us partly responsible for those victims too.
Contrary to what Friedman thinks, our real problem isn't a fictitious Muslim "narrative" about America's role in the region; it is mostly the actual things we have been doing in recent years. To say that in no way justifies anti-American terrorism or absolves other societies of responsibility for their own mistakes or misdeeds. But the self-righteousness on display in Friedman's op-ed isn't just simplistic; it is actively harmful. Why? Because whitewashing our own misconduct makes it harder for Americans to figure out why their country is so unpopular and makes us less likely to consider different (and more effective) approaches.
Some degree of anti-Americanism may reflect ideology, distorted history, or a foreign government's attempt to shift blame onto others (a practice that all governments indulge in), but a lot of it is the inevitable result of policies that the American people have supported in the past. When you kill tens of thousands of people in other countries -- and sometimes for no good reason -- you shouldn't be surprised when people in those countries are enraged by this behavior and interested in revenge. After all, how did we react after September 11?
MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images
"i hope above is understandable..."
Partially. You like pictures. Incomplete ones at that. I like data. Your pictures which I provided are distortions of the whole truth in that you fail continuing the bar graph through 2008 and 2009 thus failing to show the 36% decrease from 2007. A clear trend downward. Odd.
Too, you've not availed yourself of the data which makes clear that 123,000 hectares were cultivated last year in 34 total provinces. Most of those provinces were in fact opium free. 80% of the opium cultivated last year was in THREE provinces-Oruzgan, Helmand, and Kandahar-the traditional strongholds of the taliban.
Nothing explains the consistent growth of opium under taliban control quite like the manner in which the taliban SHUT IT DOWN in 2001. If capable of that then it stands to reason the taliban were equally capable in 1996 of not engaging that heinous practice at all but preferred otherwise.
Tiresome and dissembling.
"Well, I didn't want to be the one to compare the Frontier Corp to the Afghan National Army so as not to invite criticism for underestimating the ANA..."
It is no shame to me that a nascent force has no relation to the martial tradition and stability enjoyed by the Pakistani Army. The ANA possess no NCO corps worthy of the name yet. No tradition and an officer corps that has much to learn. None of that happens overnight, especially in the midst of war.
Need you be apprised of those obvious realities?
"The ANA, in the future, might not."
We'll let the future unfold to determine what transpires on the ground. Meanwhile, they have good mentors in the Canadians, French, British, Dutch, Romanians, Estonians, and ourselves. We lead from the front and they are with us as the photos make clear. This army isn't sitting in its barracks, whatever might be said of them right now.
"We could say the same. In fact, when we launched our own massive operations, we did. I think this is part of that "trust deficit" thing."
Agreed. You don't trust forty plus nations whom say they've no evidence of your claims. Forty plus nations don't trust your claims that Haqqani isn't in Miram Shah. We listened in amazement to your denials of the Quetta Shura for years only to awake one morning and read this-
Quetta shura no longer poses threat: Ahmad Mukhtar- DAWN Dec. 11, 2009
I've awaited denials or elaboration by your government of Mukhtar's claim. There's been none. Has it been destroyed? No. Of course not...but it's existence is assured.
Doesn't matter though. Sanctuary in Pakistan is an established fact for eight years and, worse, your own citizens have engaged in war with Afghanistan without restraint-Hafez Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. That's a shame, PAFAce. It really is.
Forty plus nations understand that if India used Afghanistan as a springboard for attacks upon Pakistan that India would be endangering THEIR LIVES and those of the Afghans whom we try to protect. Do you really think with all those nations, NGOs, world press, U.N. and everybody else watching out of THEIR self-interest that such is occurring?
Sheer dissemblance to justify your attempts to manipulate Afghanistan with the afghan taliban is how it adds up for the rest of mankind. Pakistan fools nobody but itself and unless that changes, it'll be Pakistan's ruination.
"You wouldn't say that if you knew what I've written in the Think Tank section. But I don't have to justify myself to you."
I don't hide my thoughts. I express them as powerfully and eloquently as possible. Evidently you've something to hide from your fellow Pakistanis. I see that from many in the think-tank who fear facing their brothers and sisters instead of leading. Your problem...with them.
"Well our objectives were a lot clearer than yours... but your objectives are unclear to me (hence the questions)."
Sadly, had you read the backgrounder from ISW your questions about a very distinct and well-defined operation would have been answered. Oddly, your questions have little to do with that operation and allude much to other matters. Therefore...
"Also, take your own advice and stick with Operation Moshtarak, Rah-e-Nijat and Rah-e-Rast can be discussed elsewhere."
...this advice by your is a red herring. It is YOU that expanded the discussion beyond the scope of the topic. So be it. The comparisons to exfiltration by the taliban from S. Waziristan into Orakzai, Kurrum, and Khyber are obvious to me. Given warning, that's what an irregular force will likely attempt. Faced with the harsh reality of war, those remaining will also come to their senses and seek safer climes. Not unusual nor unexpected by me so I fail to understand what lesson you haven't also learned?
"My questions, initially, were to get the opinion of "those in the know". That is all."
All open-sourced if you wish to locate the myriad available bits of information lying about. Sadly, I'm convinced that links can be placed under the noses of many and STILL those horses refuse to be led to water.
You write well. You possess a fine mind. Forgive me for expecting more.
Last edited by S-2; 02-15-2010 at 05:46 PM.
NATO's Afghan offensive enters second day, 27 Taliban killed
14 FEBRUARY 2010
Lashkargah, Afghanistan - NATO's most ambitious offensive against Taliban strongholds in Helmand province entered its second day Sunday, with officials claiming 27 insurgents killed. Thousands of US Marines, Afghan and British forces were inserted by dozens of helicopters and armoured vehicles into Marjah and Nad Ali districts in the southern province Saturday.
The military operation is the largest since the ouster of Taliban regime by a US-led invasion in late 2001.
NATO officials claimed early success as troops cleared 13 targeted locations in the two districts, strategically important bastions in the country's main opium-producing region.
"The operation is going on successfully," Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand's provincial governor, said. He said seven insurgents were killed since Saturday night, bringing the total Taliban death toll to 27.
He said the combined forces also discovered and destroyed more than 2,500 kilograms of explosives.
Two NATO soldiers, one British soldier and a US Marine were also killed in the first day of the operation, Ahamdi said. The British Defence Ministry also confirmed in a statement posted on its website that a soldier from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was killed by a explosion in Nad Ali district.
There no Afghan army casualties among. General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan defence minister, said in Kabul Saturday that there had been some injuries among Afghan forces.
Wardak said several hundred Taliban fighters were still in the area, while a large number of the insurgents had fled before the start of the operation, which was announced weeks prior. Other NATO and Afghan officials estimated that from 600 to 1,000 Taliban were entrenched in the two targeted districts.
A total of 15,000 troops, including US, Afghan, British, Canadian, Danish and Estonian personnel were mobilized for the operation.
The operation, dubbed Mushtarak or "together," is centred on Marjah, inhabited by about 80,000 people, where Taliban-protect traffickers had erected the biggest drug market in the country.
Hundreds of local residents of Marjah and neighboring Nad Ali have fled to provincial capital Lashkargah, but many others remained amid assurances by NATO officials that measures would be put in place to avoid civilian casualties.
Officials said roadside bombs had slowed the advance of combined forces moving through Marjah town.
Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi, speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, said Sunday that their fighters had not retreated.
The combined forces held meetings with groups of Afghan local elders in the area, a NATO military statement said Sunday. "More shuras (local councils) are anticipated in the coming days."
The offensive, a first test of new US strategy to turn the tide of the eight-year-war, aims to extend the Afghan government's authority in the Taliban-controlled areas and begin reconstruction to win the hearts and minds of civilians.
US President Barack Obama increased the US troop commitment by another 30,000 troops, bringing the US presence to 98,000 soldiers. The US and NATO together have around 113,000 troops currently in the country, and some NATO countries have pledged to send up to 7,000 more troops by this summer.
Here's a downloaded image of a complex of compounds just south of the google-earth location for Marjah. The area is well-mapped by google earth for those who've downloaded the program-
20 Militants, 2 Soldiers Die In NATO's Afghan Offensive
2/13/2010 11:21 AM ET
(RTTNews) - At least 20-militants and two soldiers have reportedly been killed in the ongoing offensive launched by NATO-led troops, Saturday morning, for neutralizing Taliban's last major stronghold in Marjah town.
NATO's spokesmen confirmed the deaths saying that one died in an attack using improvised explosive device and another from small-arms attack. Both the soldiers were part of operation Mushtarak.
Taliban is currently witnessing the biggest ever offensive since it's decline in 2001, with about 15,000 US, UK, Afghan troops jointly assailing into the districts of Marjah and Nad Ali, backed by NATO air support.
The military offensive, codenamed "Mushtarak," a Dari word for "together," involves about 4,500 U.S. Marines, 1,500 Afghan troops and 300 U.S. soldiers.
The attack according to Nato official's is making good progress.
by RTT Staff Writer
20 Militants, 2 Soldiers Die In NATO's Afghan Offensive
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