Day By Day

Friday, July 22, 2011

Amir Taheri is Optimistic About Afghanistan

This is refreshing -- after all the ankle-biting and pessimistic commentary that has been flooding through the media both here and in Europe it is nice to see this.

Yesterday, rumors were making the rounds in Tali ban circles that Mullah Omar had died. In fact, sources tell me that he is alive and hiding in the Pakistani city of Quetta. But his recent failures will make it hard to hang on to his increasingly shaky position as leader of the Taliban.

Six months ago, the mullah assured his followers that this summer would bring "evident victory" (Fatah al-Mobin), as promised in the Koran. Yet July is nearly over -- and there are no signs that the Taliban and its allies are about to fulfill Omar's dream.

Indeed, the mullah has not merely failed to win any new territory for more than a year, but he's also been forced to abandon large chunks of it in four provinces. (The closest thing to a gain: Armed smugglers allied to the Taliban have secured a new foothold in the Wakkhan Corridor on the short border with China.)
And the annual "fighting season" is due to end in 10 days, with the start of Ramadan. By the end of September, the country's harsh autumn and winter will make major fighting difficult.

The Taliban is no longer capable of mounting attacks on positions held by NATO and/or the Afghan National Army. Instead, it stepped up classic terrorist attacks and assassinations, mainly via suicide bombers.
So the great Taliban offensive has failed and they are falling back on the old terror tactics of the past. The US and our allies have not collapsed and are going to be a presence in Afghanistan for the long haul. As much as I disagree with Obama and his policies, I will have to give him this -- he has held fast against the immense pressure from his own party to cut and run in Afghanistan, and his persistence is starting to pay off. Way to go, O.

Read Taheri's full article here.

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