Despite successful U.S. attacks in N W Afghanistan, Taliban in control

Sunday, October 24, 2010

MAQUR - Despite successful U.S. attacks on Taliban leaders in Afghanistan’s northwest, insurgency remains in control.

Though several top commanders have been killed recently, there still remains a large gap between killing commanders and dismantling an insurgency.

According to the Washington Post, nearly half of the province remains under insurgent control.

“Fighting in Afghanistan is like hitting coals with a stick, it just spreads to other places,” the paper quoted Delbar Jan Arman, a provincial governor, as saying.

The barrage launched against the Taliban by Special Operations forces here in recent weeks is part of a broader American effort that is clearly succeeding.

As other U.S. goals in Afghanistan have faltered - reforming the government, winning hearts and minds, NATO commander General David H. Petraeus and his new troops have so far succeeded at killing their enemies.

American officials have held up the example of the onslaught against the Taliban leadership as a clear sign of progress, a development sure to factor into President Obama’s December review of the Afghan campaign.

“We’re trying basically to squeeze the life out of the enemy,” General Petraeus said in an interview Friday.

Among those insurgents killed in the past month are al-Qaeda’s No. 3 commander in Afghanistan and 15 shadow governors.

General Petraeus said mid-level commanders - “the senior leaders aren’t in the country, they lead by cell phone” - have expressed frustration at being sacrificed while their bosses live safely across the border.

“This is quite relentless pressure. It forces them on the run, but again, if you don’t take away the safe haven, it doesn’t have a lasting effect,” General Petraeus said. (ANI)

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