Afghanistan, Talibanistan ,Waziristan and Kill Ratios

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 1 month ago

There is good news and bad news in Afghanistan.  As you know, there are ongoing operations in Afghanistan, and the coalition forces are becoming very good at killing Taliban fighters.  Operation Medusa, as of September 3, 2006, had netted 200 Taliban killed and 80 captured, as compared to 4 NATO casualties.  In case you’re not counting (or dividing), this is a kill ratio of 50:1.

From the Washington Times:

An Army commander just back from Afghanistan had some good news and bad news.  The good: The coalition is good at finding and killing Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. The bad: Nearly as fast as the terrorists are killed, they are replaced by new recruits from camps in Pakistan. 

I have mixed feelings about calling this “bad” news.  On the one hand, I hate to see that there are so many in the world who hate us and want to kill us.  On the other hand, the good news part of the story is that if there are those who do indeed want to kill us, we are fighting them over there instead of on U.S. soil.  The effects of fighting them on U.S. soil would be many more U.S. deaths and the complete destruction of the U.S. economy (and certainly the destruction of our way of life).

Now for the really bad news.  Bill Roggio (h/t Michelle Malkin) has a must read piece on the surrender of the Pakistani army to the Taliban in the region of Waziristan.  His opening volley in the piece is this:

Pakistan’s “truce with the Taliban is an abject surrender, and al-Qaeda has an untouchable base of operations in Western Pakistan which will only expand if not checked.

Bill continues by outlining the terms of the truce:

- The Pakistani Army is abandoning its garrisons in North and South Waziristan.
- The Pakistani Military will not operate in North Waziristan, nor will it monitor actions the region.
- Pakistan will turn over weapons and other equipment seized during Pakistani Army operations.
- The Taliban and al-Qaeda have set up a Mujahideen Shura (or council) to administer the agency.
- The truce refers to the region as “The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.?
- An unknown quantity of money was transferred from Pakistani government coffers to the Taliban. The Pakistani government has essentially paid a tribute or ransom to end the fighting.
- “Foreigners? (a euphemism for al-Qaeda and other foreign jihadis) are allowed to remain in the region.
- Over 130 mid-level al-Qaeda commanders and foot soldiers were released from Pakistani custody.
- The Taliban is required to refrain from violence in Pakistan only; the agreement does not stipulate refraining from violence in Afghanistan. 

We can have a high kill ratio, but if the Taliban are being replaced as soon as they are being killed, then we have a problem.  One would like to believe that eschatology will put an end to the war.  That is, when the Taliban see that they cannot possibly win, they will simply give up and go home.  The trouble is in convincing them that this eschatological vision is the correct one, and that it matches reality.

The only way to do this is to make it clear to Pakistan and Waziristan that the U.S. now considers Waziristan to be separate from Pakistan and that we will treat them that way.  They have become an independent rogue state who sponsors terror.  As such, they are no longer under the umbrella of protection that Musharraf would otherwise give them.  Given this, they can expect the machinations of the U.S. war machine to be manifesting itself in and around Waziristan soon.

Just in case you don’t like this option, consider the other.  The alternative is losing in Afghanistan.

**** UPDATE ****

John Hawkins at RWN has an interesting set of questions/points on this issue of Pakistan using this agreement to “close the trap” on the Taliban.  He says:

Who’s right? I think the jury’s still out at this point because there are too many unanswered questions. If the tribesmen actually expelled the foreign fighters, this would be a good deal. Will they do that? I don’t know, but I tend to doubt it. Did Musharraf, who’s no dummy, cut this deal because he thought it would help the situation or out of weakness? Can Musharraf afford to put himself in a position that might damage his relationship with the US, especially when he still has to fear the US cozying up to India? Will Bin Laden still be targeted? Pakistan says that earlier comments that were made were taken out of context and no, Bin Laden will not get a pass.

My gut instinct is that this is bad news, but it’s still too early to say for sure.

I don’t think it is too early, and I think John’s gut instinct is right on.  I think that this is bad news no matter how it is spun by anyone else.  We have to remember that foreign fighters were not ever even necessary for there to be a Taliban to begin with.  Foreign fighters were a late addtion.  Expelling foreigns will do nothing to stop the radical elements in Pakistan from training and re-training fighters to rush to their deaths in Afghanistan.  If expelling the foreigns was so important to the truce signed by the two parties, then why the truce to begin with?  In other words, if the Taliban (in the absence of foreigns) had no designs on insurgency in Afghanistan, then why all of the fighting between Musharraf’s forces and the Taliban?  What was there to fight about?

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com m.takhallus

    It’s catastrophic news. Go back to our primary purpose in going into Afghanistan: to deny safe haven to Al Qaeda. If this news is accurate Al Qaeda just gained a safe haven in Pakistan. And unlike Afghanistan we cannot invade Pakistan or push for regime change there. In other words we’ve just wasted a lot of time, a lot of money, and too many lives and achieved nothing. Al Qaeda it seems now has a safe haven in the same country that possesses 15-100 deliverable nuclear weapons.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,War & Warfare and was published September 6th, 2006 by Herschel Smith.

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