Brit progress in Afghanistan…Taliban middle management jobs opening up on a daily basis…and thats a good thing.
[quote] Taliban ‘stalled by lack of commanders’
by Thomas Harding in Lashkah Gah
Last Updated: 2:20am BST 24/05/2007
The Taliban’s much-vaunted spring offensive has stalled apparently due to lack of organisation after dozens of middle-ranking commanders were killed by British troops in the past year, according to military sources.
The death last week of the key Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah at the hands of American special forces has harmed the Taliban’s morale to the point that local commanders are having to tell their troops to “remain professional” despite the loss.
After suffering more than 1,000 dead in battles with the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines in the last year, the Taliban retired to regroup and re-equip last winter.
A spring offensive was ordered by the Taliban leadership based in Quetta, Pakistan, and was meant to be launched in late March.
But a lack of mid-level commanders has meant that there has been little co-ordination to bring about the offensive.
“They are getting strategic guidance from Quetta but this is not translating on the ground,” a military source said.
“It’s a bit premature to discuss the Taliban as a spent force. I believe that they are struggling but still maintain a capability to carry out attacks on a daily basis. But I would suggest in the long term the Taliban may just peter out.”
Of the five main Taliban leaders who managed to escape in the 2001 fighting only two are at large, including Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader, who is living on the Pakistan border.
British commanders are still braced for a possible upsurge in attacks over the summer.
An “increase in enemy tempo” is expected and already the number of clashes has risen from five a day to 15, lasting from 10 minutes to 11 hours.
Within Helmand there is a small group of “irreconcilable” Taliban leading a force of about 1,000, which is reinforced by Chechen, Arab and Uzbek fighters. Some are part-time farmers supplementing their income by earning $25 a day by fighting.
After clearing and establishing a foothold in the area the British force has been able to begin rebuilding roads and other projects. They have also dispelled some Taliban propaganda that claimed the British would rape their women and steal their poppy crops.
• Afghanistan’s most famous woman MP has been thrown out of the country’s parliament for saying that her fellow parliamentarians are less competent than farmyard animals.
MPs voted by a large majority to suspend Malalai Joya, 29, until the end of the current parliament in 2010 after her remarks were broadcast in an interview on Afghan television.
During the interview broadcast on Tolo TV, Miss Joya said that her fellow legislators were: “worse than cows or donkeys”. Comparisons to donkeys are considered particularly hurtful in Afghan culture.