Planning for the Spring Offensive in Afghanistan

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 9 months ago

The News in Pakistan is reporting some interesting developments in the recent engagement of some high value targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

PESHAWAR: Following unconfirmed reports of killing of a high-profile al-Qaeda commander Abu Laith al-Libi, there are now rumours that an American al-Qaeda militant Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, had been killed in the alleged Predator attack by the US on a house in Mirali, North Waziristan, a few days back.

32-year-old Adam Gadahn, who is American citizen belonging to southern California, has been accused by the US of praising the perpetrators of September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington and attending al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas.

According to sources, American officials who are yet to publicly confirm the killing of Abu Laith al-Libi, had reportedly sharing information with western media that most likely another most wanted figure, Adam Gadahn, has also been killed in the air strike by the CIA-operated unmanned drone on a house in Khushali Torikhel village near Mirali town.

According to sources, the American al-Qaeda militant, who has been reportedly spending much of his time in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, had reached Mirali for an important meeting with other senior al-Qaeda commanders for planning the so-called spring offensive against US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

However, there were no details whether he arrived in the town when a house reportedly housing some senior al-Qaeda operatives including Abu Laith al-Libi, was blitzed. US military officials based in Afghanistan are reportedly collecting details about those killed in the attack on the house and in this regard two of their spy planes continued flying over the same area even after the tragic incident.

Local tribesmen, who were kept at bay by hundreds of armed militants from visiting the house until all the bodies, mostly dismembered, were retrieved, said that US spy planes might have taken pictures of the entire rescue operation as well as of the funeral ceremony.

Like US officials, Pakistani authorities have been constantly keeping silence over what had happened in their jurisdictions. It may be recalled that the US State Department had offered US$ one million reward for capture of Adam Gadahn.

However, some military officials felt that declaring Gadahn as dead in the Mirali incident, the US wanted him to speak for his defence or make some telephone calls so that they target him like rest of al-Qaeda operatives.

The Captain’s Journal is going on record declaring Adam Gadahn to be completely irrelevant to the global war on terror.  The normally clear-headed Threats Watch is focusing on the person of Gadahn, as is the Jawa Report.  We have also focused on individuals, as in Baitullah Mehsud: The Most Powerful Man in Waziristan, but only to the extent that it bears on political and cultural movements and broad strategic analysis that points directly to necessary countermeasures by the U.S.  This silly focus on so-called “high value targets” and special operations to capture or kill them is a waste of resources and energies.  The issue in counterinsurgency is not the personalities, but the people.  This is why special operations cannot win counterinsurgencies.  The recruitment pool never dries up unless force projection provides the security for cultural amelioration and reconstruction to become effective.

Let’s provide a case in point.  The BBC is providing us with an account of why funds for reconstruction isn’t working in Afghanistan, once again giving an example of the need for force projection in counterinsurgency.

Journalist Zaki Shahamat believes Nato should put more money into provinces which have stability.

I have seen dramatic changes in my country since Nato arrived but the changes haven’t been balanced or spread equally throughout the provinces in this country.

It is those provinces where forces are stationed and where there is great turmoil which seem to get more money and reconstruction. Provinces which have seen less turmoil have also seen less funding.

The policy has been to reconstruct unstable areas to provide security. I think this has failed.

There are many reports that the Taleban are approaching Kabul. Another neighbouring province, Wardak, also has a strong Taleban presence.

My family live in Ghazni province and it experienced increased lawlessness. Last year South Korean aid workers were abducted in Ghazni. The Taleban are present but they operate as criminals. The real problems are in the outlying districts.

People who travel from the centre of the province to the districts have to pay – sometimes with their money, their cars, their property and sometimes with their lives.

Nato forces operate mainly in the centre of the province. They can’t and don’t do much for the people outside.

Monies to provinces and areas that are lawless and have no security (due to lack of force projection) go to waste, as does the expensive and time consuming targeting of personalities in the Jihad.  Counterinsurgency is not as simple as throwing money around and sending a JDAM into an enemy home.

But there is something divulged in the press release (other than the useless and boring report about Adam Gadahn) that makes it entirely worthwhile.  It is that the alleged meeting took place to plan the Taliban spring offensive against NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, once again underlining our own analysis of dual Taliban fronts– one in Afghanistan and the other in Pakistan.  This is important intelligence analysis, and again runs directly contrary to the position of Major General Rodriguez and his intelligence apparatus who claim otherwise.  Listening to the details irrespective of the emotional hype has its rewards.

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Comments

  1. On February 8, 2008 at 2:09 pm, CopTheTruth said:

    As for Gadahn, I agree that killing him means nothing to the overall success in the “GWoT,” but it’s also important to remember that aQ and the Taliban use him as a propaganda tool in their video messages, which makes him the face of Islamic terrorism for some Westerners. While the military may consider him insignificant as a strategist or soldier, the MSM paints him as the “California boy turned true believer” that the POTUS just can’t seem to find, along with UBL. Therefore, the message to Americans is that his continued existence is a “failure” by the Bush Administration and our military.

  2. On February 9, 2008 at 2:44 pm, GI said:

    I agree with CopTheTruth, Gadahn had zero tactical value to AQI, but had large strategic value to them in their information operations against the west through the media. So overall I think it was important that he was taken out because it isn’t like AQI can just go out and find another American to fight their information war through the western media again.

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You are currently reading "Planning for the Spring Offensive in Afghanistan", entry #929 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Counterinsurgency,Featured,Force Projection,Jihadists,Pakistan and was published February 8th, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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