Afghan insurgents on brink of defeat

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by DesktopCommando, Jun 2, 2008.

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    Missions by special forces and air strikes by unmanned drones have "decapitated" the Taliban and brought the war in Afghanistan to a "tipping point", the commander of British forces has said.

    The new "precise, surgical" tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith.

    In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it is the "very effective targeted decapitation operations" that have removed "several echelons of commanders".

    This in turn has left the insurgents on the brink of defeat, the head of Task Force Helmand said.

    "The Taliban are much weaker," he said from 16 Air Assault Brigade headquarters in Lashkar Gah.

    "The tide is clearly ebbing not flowing for them. Their chain of command is disrupted and they are short of weapons and ammunition."

    Last year's killing of Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban chief, most likely by the Special Boat Service, was "a seminal moment in dislocating" their operation in southern Afghanistan, said Brig Carleton-Smith, 44, who has extensive operational experience in Afghanistan and Iraq and has commanded elite Army troops.

    "We have seen increasing fissures of stress through the whole organisation that has led to internecine and fratricidal strife between competing groups."

    Taliban fighters are apparently becoming increasingly unpopular in Helmand, where they are reliant on the local population for food and water.

    They have also been subjected to strikes by the RAF's American-made Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle and the guided Royal Artillery missile system, which have both proved a major battlefield success.

    "I can therefore judge the Taliban insurgency a failure at the moment," said Brig Carleton-Smith. "We have reached the tipping point."

    The task is now to regenerate the economy to win over the civilian population of Helmand, the base for 8,000 British soldiers.

    Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, appears to be a town on the cusp of an economic boom if security remains stable.

    A new airport will be ready by the end of this year and a packaging factory by the end of next year.

    This could enable the soil-rich "fruit basket of Afghanistan" to export its food.

    Alternative crops, such as wheat or rape, could prove a greater attraction than Helmand's massive opium trade, especially as international prices continue to rise.

    Much of the Taliban operation is run by Mullah Omar and to a lesser extent al-Qa'eda from their headquarters in Quetta, across the border in Pakistan.

    The ability of what is known as the Quetta Shura leadership had been "hugely reduced" and its influence "increasingly marginalised", the brigadier said. Michael Ryder, the senior Foreign Office official in Helmand, agreed that intelligence assessments suggested that the Taliban had become "fractured and fragmented".

    "There's a lot of suspicion from southern Taliban commanders of the agenda of Quetta Shura," he said, with the leaders trying to draw in an estimated £20 million a year from the opium trade.

    The number of Afghans involved in the insurgency has also fallen, with increasing numbers of Pakistanis, Chechens, Uzbeks and Arabs found dead on the battlefield.

    However, with the shortage of helicopters still a problem, most movement is by road and Brig Carleton-Smith warned that British forces must prepare for an increasingly Iraq-style insurgency as the Taliban modified its tactics from pitched battles to ambushes and roadside bombs.
  2. Saw this today as well. Hope we're not tempting fate!
  3. I'll just get fit enough to get back in and the war will end!
  4. No worries mate - there's always Iran! :twisted:

    I have no doubt the Taliban have taken heavy losses. But saying they are on the brink of defeat is perhaps a little optomistic.

    Reminds me of the officer in WWI who's last words were: "They could'nt hit an elephant at this dist-" :roll:
  5. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    Let's not get too excited. From another Afghan thread:

  6. No worries mate - there's always Iran! :twisted:

    I have no doubt the Taliban have taken heavy losses. But saying they are on the brink of defeat is perhaps a little optomistic.

    Reminds me of the officer in WWI who's last words were: "They could'nt hit an elephant at this dist-" :roll:
  7. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Hmmmmm, not sure on some of this. The summer is yet to arrive, and Reaper to my knowledge (the R.A.F. ones) don't fire missiles yet (though I stand to be corrected).

    I did suggest some time ago that something akin to Op. Claret wouldn't go amiss - especially in light of the nationality of the bodies turning up on the battlefield in ever-increasing numbers - they can pretty much only come from one direction.
  8. RAF Reaper have commenced ops carrying GBU-12 and Hellfire.
  9. Trans-sane

    Trans-sane LE Book Reviewer

    Thought that was an American Civil War quote? I agree that it is too soon to say that victory is near. If nothing else history has proven time and again you get bitten on the arrse most time you say it.
  10. I've heard the same quote attributed to both the American Civil War - or The War of Northern Aggression if you're a Southerner :twisted: - and WWI.

    The point is, as you say, that declaring victory over the Taliban is a bloody dangerous thing to do.

    No doubt quite a few Soviet officers thought they had the Mujihadeen on the ropes as well... :roll:
  11. American civil war actually old fruit,
  12. I stand corrected, old boy! :oops: :salut:
  13. msr

    msr LE

    And in other news: jelly nearly nailed to the ceiling.
  14. It'll be over by Christmas!
  15. twas the american civil war and the gentleman in question was berating his troops for lying down. john sedgewick was his name. unfortunately my sig is knackered and i have never been arrsed to sort it but it there.