06 October, 2006

Afghaistan: all points bulletin no. 2

The wholly justified security restrictions imposed on reporting military action in Afghanistan create difficulties in formulating a precise assessment of progress in the war between ISAF and Taliban. Any analysis of the strategic picture, is, therefore, partly impressionistic and will reflect more than usually the biases of the analyst. However, even for the sake of argument adopting a most pessimistic perspective, I cannot discern the predicted looming disaster for the ISAF so fervently hoped for by the left. Overall, despite the continuing problems and tragedies, ISAF forces in Afghanistan seem to be making satisfactory progress towards ensuring the country is secure enough to hand back the Afghan government.

In the west, where Operation Wyconda Pincer is going after the Taliban, Crumbling Spires has already reported the Taliban being cleared out of the Golestan district of Farah province. Now, from the east, comes news of an Operation Mountain Fury success in Ghazni province. Elsewhere, in the area, the Afghan authorities have themselves arrested 17 would-be suicide bombers. The south remains problematical but, for now at least, Taliban activity seem to have been reduced from full scale attacks to individual suicide bombings. In isolation these reports might not appear to amount to very much but, taken as a whole, they send a signal to the Talbian that it cannot operate with impunity even in areas it formerly regarded as strongholds.

The one dark shadow looming over the entire ISAF operation originates to the east, in Pakistan, where the surrender of Waziristan to the Taliban has provided the terrorists with a secure base and raised serious questions about the Pakistan government's attitude towards Islamic terrorism.

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