Nato forces have cornered a large contingent of Taliban fighters, and they are taking them apart piecemeal. Meanwhile, “Taliban Bob” still has the home phone number of aÂ Reuters reporterÂ and keeps calling in to say the equivalent of “There are no American Tanks in Baghdad!”
NATO says it has killed more than 300 insurgents and cornered hundreds more since it launched its biggest offensive against the Taliban a week ago. The Taliban denies the figures.
“A week has elapsed since the launch of NATO’s operation and the Taliban are … putting up tough resistance,” the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Abdul Hai Mutmaen, (< —-Editor: Taliban Bob)Â told Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location. “NATO has failed to crush the Taliban’s resistance despite its fierce and continuous air as well as ground attacks since the start of the operation,” he said.
Many military officials and analysts say the fighting in Afghanistan is now heavier and worse than Iraq. NATO leaders are pressing member countries to send more troops and equipment to the south after a high-level delegation visited this week, highlighting divisions over where and how some countries deploy their forces.
More than 2,300 people have died his year in the Taliban resurgence that has led to the heaviest fighting since U.S.-led troops toppled the hard-line Islamists. (Editor: The Reuters article fails to point out that >2,100 of these deaths have been Taliban, and puts the Taliban slant on the article.)
What’s interesting about this isn’t that the Taliban are there, it’s that they are massed in a large force. They didn’t do this when the US troops were in charge because they knew they were toast when they did. PotentiallyÂ there’s another reason as well.
At Afgha.com Matt is predicting a major battle soon.
The recent pact in Waziristan and other, earlierÂ agreements with warlords in both southern Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan has created a situation where the Taliban have no real base. (I disagree with Bill Roggio’s read on Waziristan, seeing the evidence of Afghans migrating out of Pakistan.)
The Taliban have been forced out of their hiding places, and this could be their last ditch fight. See also this article at Gates of Vienna, and these previous articles here, and Lawhawk has a write-up as well.
Also back in early August note this incident, there were several others leading up to it, again lending to the theory that the pro-taliban forces have outstayed their welcome in Waziristan:
Pro-Taliban militants beheaded a pro-government tribal elder in Pakistanâ€™s restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan officials said. The body of Loi Khan was found dumped on a road in Garhiyoum, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan region, a local official said on Monday.
The man was abducted last week from adjoining South Waziristan, the official said, requesting anonymity. A note found on the body said the man had been killed as punishment for working as an â€œinformer.â€Â â€œAnyone found indulging in espionage will meet the same fate,â€ the note said.
Several tribal elders have been shot dead or beheaded this year for allegedly spying for US forces across the border in Afghanistan or supporting Pakistanâ€™s campaign against Al-Qaeda and other militants in the rugged area.