“Taleban on verge of collapse after surge success, allies insist” according to the Times.
I truly hope this is true. We saw this begin to happen in Iraq about six months after surge troops went into place and the reports sound similar in so far as the enemy’s infrastructure is falling apart under pressure and critically reports state that the locals are deserting the Taliban. Again, if this is so then this is a major breakthrough but a number of questions remain which render this apparent progress null and void.
1. Pakistan. It is well know that the Pakistani intelligence services and part of the Army are either sympathetic or “fifth-columnists” in regard to the Taliban and the Islamist insurgency. Pakistan is unable to control, let alone defeat the Pakistani Taliban, and for the NATO alliance the Pakistani government has shown itself to be unreliable and treacherous.
2. The Obama problem. The moron also known as POTUS has decreed that by November next year, US troops will start to withdraw from Afghanistan. The danger this presents takes on manifold possibilities.
a. The Taliban will be better able to infiltrate back into the south of Afghanistan into a population, which however sickened by Taliban atrocities, unless protected by security forces will be logistically supporting the Taliban (either willingly or through the nexus of terrorisation).
b. The Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police are not in the slightest bit able to stand up to the Taliban at present. They need constant “corset-stiffening” by NATO forces to hold ground and there are constant worries about infiltration into the ranks.
c. If the Republicans are not able to win enough seats to at least regain the House of Representatives in November, the Democrats may be emboldened to begin running the war down in terms of funding.
d. If the Republicans do win enough to take the House and (please!) the Senate, will Obama simply dig in and refuse to be budged from a position of retreat? I don’t know on this point but there is a danger of a Democrat refusal to allow anything to continue the Afghanistan campaign especially as the liberal-socialist wing of the Democratic Party has been campaigning actively against this war.
3. The Allies. How long will our allies be able to remain in the field in Afghanistan? The Canadians are leaving next year as are the Dutch (to both courageous nations, we owe a great deal), what of the British Army? How long will the will in the Army and in Cabinet remain to continue with the war? These are questions which cannot be answered with any certainty.
What lessons can we draw from this now? Well, the news of progress and a turning point are being backed up by reliable sources, notably Michael Yon (who covered Iraq) and from David Petraeus himself. If the reader also follows the Long War Journal, then there is a great deal of good micro-news (small events) which indicate a good trend.
For the British Army itself, I can only hope the institution has begun to correct its horrible assumptions made in Iraq and for most of the Afghanistan campaign but that requires a much larger leap of faith!