Monday, June 16, 2008

Taliban takes Afghan villages, NATO plans counter-offensive

Hundreds of Taliban fighters seized several Afghan villages in southern Afghanistan today, prompting NATO and the Afghan forces to redeploy to counter the rebel forces. The villages that were taken over are in Arghandab district of Kandahar, the former stronghold of the fundamentalist Taliban forces.
Arghandab lies just north of Kandahar city -- the Taliban's former stronghold -- and a tribal leader from the region warned that the militants could use the cover from Arghandab's grape and pomegranate orchards to mount an attack on Kandahar itself.

''All of Arghandab is made of orchards. The militants can easily hide and easily fight,'' said Haji Ikramullah Khan. ''It's quite close to Kandahar. During the Russian war, the Russians didn't even occupy Arghandab, because when they fought here they suffered big casualties.''

The push into Arghandab comes three days after a sophisticated Taliban attack on Kandahar's prison that freed hundreds of insurgent fighters being held there.

NATO spokesman Mark Laity said NATO and Afghan military officials were redeploying troops to the region to ''meet any potential threats.''

''It's fair to say that the jailbreak has put a lot of people (militants) into circulation who weren't there before, and so obviously you're going to respond to that potential threat,'' he said.

Two powerful anti-Taliban leaders from Arghandab have died in the last year, weakening the region's defenses. Mullah Naqib, the district's former leader, died of a heart attack last year. Taliban fighters moved into Arghandab en masse last October, two weeks after his death, but left within days after hundreds of security forces were deployed there.

A second leader, police commander Abdul Hakim Jan, died in a massive suicide bombing in Kandahar in February that killed more than 100 people.
The Taliban offensive took place three days after a massive jailbreak that freed hundreds of prisoners, about half of them actual hardened militants.

Both the jailbreak and the Taliban offensive occurred in the wake of insurgent violence spiking upward by 50% in April and May.

Thank goodness we went to Iraq for aWol's vanity war so our forces are bogged down there and we can't mount an adequate response to this!

I swear to god, if the drooling dimwit had set out to do the damage he's managed, he couldn't have done a better job.


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