5 years, 5 months ago
Army intelligence said that there would be no Afghanistan spring offensive by the Taliban not more than half a year ago. The Captain’s Journal said that there would be, and also claimed that it would be mostly asymmetric. In a stark admission and direct contradiction of the position of Army intelligence, the Department of Defense is saying that the insurgency will grow and expand the violence.
In its first formal report on the situation in Afghanistan, the U.S. Defense Department says the Taliban is “a resilient insurgency” and is expected to expand its challenges to the Afghan government. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.
The report required by Congress says the Taliban “is likely to maintain or even increase the scope and pace of its terrorist attacks and bombings” this year, and to move beyond the south and east, where most of the fighting has been happening. It says the activity “will challenge the control of the Afghan government in rural areas” throughout the country. The report says the Taliban is able to do this even though U.S., Afghan and allied operations have killed many insurgent leaders and forced the group out of former safe havens.
But the report calls the Taliban safe haven in Pakistan “the greatest challenge to long-term security” in Afghanistan. It calls for better Afghan-Pakistani military cooperation, and laments a reduction in Pakistani military operations against insurgents in the border areas, which have decreased cross-border attacks in the past. The Pentagon report also expresses concern about a new round of agreements the Pakistani government is considering with local tribal leaders, saying past agreements have led to an increase in cross-border attacks.
The period covered by the report ended in early April, but U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed similar concerns during a news conference on Thursday. He was asked about the 40 percent increase in violence in Afghanistan during the first five months of the year, compared to the same period last year.
“Well, I think it is a matter of concern, of real concern,” he said. “And I think that one of the reasons that we’re seeing the increase is more people coming across the border from the frontier area. And I think it’s an issue that clearly we have to pursue with the Pakistani government.”
Secretary Gates also welcomed a newly announced Pakistani initiative to get control of the border area.
The “newly announced Pakistani initiative” will redound to more wasted time, and the only solution to the dilemma is force projection in Afghanistan. One wonders if the U.S. Marines are not the coming answer to the problem. The Corps has just placed an order for 19,000 pairs of mountain cold weather boots.
LaCrosse Footwear Inc. announced Tuesday its Danner subsidiary received a $3 million delivery order as part of the Mountain Cold Weather Boot contract awarded by the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006.
Danner will supply the U.S. Marines with 19,000 pairs of the Mountain Cold Weather Boot in several shipments in the second half of 2008. To date, this is the largest delivery order related to the 2006 contract. The Mountain Cold Weather Boot is produced in the Portland-based LaCrosse’s (NASDAQ: BOOT) manufacturing facility in Portland.
Danner has a description of their boot here. Whether it is the Marines or some other branch, force projection is the only answer to the problem of Operation Enduring Freedom.