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21 June 2007 Blog Home : June 2007 : Permalink

Afghanistan - Taliban Admit "We're Losing"

Adnittedly the BBC doesn't present it that way, but I find it hard to read their report and see any other way of spinning it that doesn't sound stupid:

The Taleban in Afghanistan are changing their tactics to mount more attacks on the capital, Kabul, a spokesman for the militant group has told the BBC.

The spokesman, Zabiyullah Mujahed, said Taleban were recovering after Nato had infiltrated the group and killed some of its leaders.

But more people were volunteering to carry out suicide bombings, he said.

I tend to agree with the Afghan Defense Minister:

"At the moment you see the tides are turning in our favour, the Taleban have failed to materialise their so called spring offensive, they have failed to isolate Kabul or to cut highways or to expand their area of influence," he told the BBC.

Here's my take: the Taleban have, despite their safe havens across the border, been comprehensively smashed in their "spring offensive". Moreover even their most ardent supporters in the MSM have noticed that fact, although I can't help but notice John Simpson busily peddling their line as much as he can. Unfortunately the impression given between that article (summary: life has become more dangerous everywhere) and the latest one (summary: Taleban going to concentrate on suicide bombing in Kabul) makes it clear that the Taleban have lost their attempt at a reasonably traditional war and are moving towards the classic terrorist insurgency.

As that article notes at the bottom this may make some hitherto Taleban connected folks look for ways to do an "Anbar":

But the Taleban are not winning all the battles. I spoke to a senior Taleban figure who has just defected to the government in Kabul after falling out with the overall Taleban leader, Mullah Omar.

He maintained that many Taleban leaders like himself are hostile to al-Qaeda, and are looking for some third way between the government with its Nato allies and the foreign extremists led by bin Yazid.

Of course Mr Simpson can't end his piece with such an optimistic gloss so he concludes it :

But he agreed the Taleban were proving increasingly successful against the government, and confirmed that their strategy was to surround Kabul and eventually capture it.

While Nato forces are in the country, that will not happen. But so far neither Nato nor the government of President Karzai seems to know how to counter the resurgent Taleban.

Mr Simpson, the fact that we have Taleban figures coming over to the government side and a Taleban which has lost leaders and has switched tactics to pure terrorism indicates to me that the Taleban are in trouble. "Surrounding Kabul and capturing it" may be a long term goal but it clearly isn't going to be the short term one because suicide bombs are not ways to surround and capture a place. It seems pretty clear to me that Mr Simpson is finding the worst possible interpretation he can for what looks like comparatively good news.