Taliban growing tired?

Twice in the last week I’ve run across optimistic articles on the war in Afghanistan. One talked of the mid-level leadership refusing to return from Pakistan to Afghanistan to fight. There is a rift between the midlevel commanders who are leading the fight in Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership hiding out in Pakistan.

Midlevel Taliban Admit to a Rift With Top Leaders

…Recent defeats and general weariness after nine years of war are creating fissures between the Taliban’s top leadership based in Pakistan and midlevel field commanders, who have borne the brunt of the fighting and are reluctant to return to some battle zones, Taliban members said in interviews…

…Some of the dissension in Taliban ranks stems from raids by American forces, which have been specifically aimed at eliminating Taliban field commanders. The raids have taken a toll on the quality of the Taliban’s fighting forces and exacerbated differences between the fighters on the ground and their leaders giving orders from their sanctuary in Pakistan.

One close supporter of the Taliban in Helmand Province said that the insurgents had lost 500 fighters there last year, including virtually all the known commanders. Those who survived remonstrated with the leadership in Pakistan over why they had to sacrifice so many men…

Of course this sounds like good news. In fact we have been killing lots of Taliban Commanders.

The other article talks of the frustration within the Taliban’s harshness and cruelty and how a small number of fighters are not returning to the fight.

How the Taliban Lost Its Swagger

…At a dark, unheated village Madrassa near Peshawar, Pakistan, Mullah Yahya spends his days studying the Quran and begging God’s forgiveness for the horrors in which he once took part. Until a few months ago, he belonged to a Taliban unit operating in and around the Afghan town of Marja, led by a commander whose ruthlessness had earned him the nickname “Saddam.”…

…They freely admit that defections, desertions, and battlefield losses are undermining their military effectiveness. Worse, the defectors have given valuable intelligence to the Americans. “They gave names of anyone who was supporting the Taliban,” the former minister says. “They are one reason for our heavy casualties.” Morale has been hit hard, too, he adds: “One of our biggest sources of pride and confidence was that there had been no real defections before.” When Obama first announced plans to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan this coming summer, the Taliban hailed it as a signal of surrender. They sound a lot more tentative now, even when speaking of the U.S. plan to turn over all security duties to Afghan government forces within four years. “As we get closer to 2014, we feel nervous and under pressure,” says a Taliban intelligence officer from Helmand…

Yes this is good. But I would caution we haven’t seen a real downward trend in fighting yet. Even the traditional winter has seen lots more fighting. With US troops continuing to push into once dominated Taliban areas we won’t see that trend for a while.

So what does it mean? Well I think this spring and summer campaign can be a game changer. There is no doubt the Taliban are getting tired. They have lost a lot of momentum but they also know they don’t have to win. They must only maintain. This is what Afghans are good at. They can suffer like no other and still keep going.

Granted, I’m more for a total war mentality than the COIN, which might be a surprise to some as a former SF Warrant, but I think at times a 100% all in strategy must be taken. So at the rate we are fighting this war I have my doubts. It can be won, but will it? We’ll see.

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Weekend was busy

I spent most of my weekend avoiding the news and will have to catch up this week.  It’s sometimes nice to not hear the noise. 

Qaddafi on the run: While still trying to stand firm and claiming he will die as a Martyr. 

"I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents … I will die as a martyr at the end," he said. "I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired … when I do, everything will burn."

The dying as a Martyr part should probably be hastened. 

Walker taking hard line in WI: I can only hope that Gov. Walker doesn’t back down to union demands.  In what is proving to be clarity check in how Unions and Democrats do business Walker will only lose if he weakens now. 

American Highjackers killed off coast of OMAN: This is sad but points out two major problems.  One is how the world is dealing with these Pirates.  This problem is not new folks.  It was big issue in our history.  We decided on action then. 

The other point is that I have to question why people are still sailing in these waters with this being a pretty obvious problem.  I don’t think it’s like the hikers in Iraq/Iran, but I’d still stay away from the area as a tourist.

Gas Prices climbing higher: If I believed in conspiracies….. Actually because of numerous options we failed to take this will hit us all.  It’s not about green fuel, which doesn’t actually exist in any economically useable form yet, but rather our foreign policy and our domestic politics that have left us vulnerable. 

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What about the children

Teachers in Wisconsin are upset.  Seems the Governor wants to adjust the rules on collective bargaining for Teachers.  In response many teachers called in sick.  But I say, what about the children?  Don’t those teachers care about their students?  How can they just walk out like that?  Winking smile

Plus here is a link to the results of a teachers protest.  From Ann Althouse. 

teachers

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Smart Diplomacy

bowingThe Tyrants Lunge

…Foreign Policy: Amid President Obama’s vow to enact "smart diplomacy" and to raise U.S. stature overseas, it’s never been more dangerous to be an American abroad. From Tehran to Havana, tyrants are taking U.S. hostages…

…It may be because Obama’s "smart diplomacy" amounts to shunning friends, appeasing tyrants, deferring to international law and imagining America as no more special than any other nation. Fact is, Americans are being singled out because rogue regimes are confident that they have nothing to fear from us any longer…

Investors.com goes on to point out various assault on US citizens around the globe.  The fact is, we have lost more influence than we can really afford to.  But that’s Hope and Change for ya.  You know the promise the through smart diplomacy the world would respect us and look once again to the US as a beacon.  Yeah, not so much..

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