US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan; Taliban dismiss Operation Cobra’s Anger as unimportant; Gates: US has Lost Track of Usamah

A US soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the US continued a new operation, Cobra’s Anger, in Helmand Province, announcing the capture of weapons caches. It is one of 22 offensives currently being pursued. But, no US or Afghan National Army troops have been killed in the Helmand operation and only 7 insurgents. Cobra’s Anger sounds so far like a relatively minor affair, and one suspects that the Taliban or other guerrilla groups are just melting away before the advance, to fight another day. Another troubling aspect of it is that there are 1000 US Marines involved but only 150 Afghan soldiers. They are supposed to have 95,000, so they could only spare 150?

The USG Open Source Center translated the Taliban response to the launching of Cobra’s Anger:

‘ Coalition offensive in Afghan Helmand unimportant – Taleban spokesman
Afghan Islamic Press
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Coalition offensive in Afghan Helmand unimportant – Taleban spokesman

Text of report by private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency

The Taleban have called the Helmand offensive unimportant. A Taleban spokesman announced that the ongoing Helmand operation was of no importance to them. In a telephone conversation with the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) this morning, Qari Mohammd Yosuf Ahmadi, said: “The ongoing operation in Helmand, launched by foreign forces in Nawzad District yesterday, is not as major as the foreigners are saying. There is fighting going on there, but clashes erupted in the past, too. However, the operation did not have any negative effects on the Taleban positions. We are sure the operation will not produce any positive outcomes and, therefore, the ongoing operation in Nawzad is of no major importance.”

Asked if the Taleban will flee the area, Ahmadi said: “This depends on the situation, and currently we are resisting the foreigners’ operation in Nawzad District. We have no plan to retreat from Nawzad. We have made a firm decision to resist the foreigners.”

Ahmadi, who considers the ongoing operation similar to operations launched in the past, reiterated that they did not feel any major fighting in the area.
Meanwhile, a provincial council member in Nawzad District, Hajji Abdol Ahad, expressed profound concern over the ongoing operation in Helmand’s Nawzad District and said: “We were not consulted about launching the operation. It is not fair to launch such an operation in the cold weather of winter. People will be compelled to flee their homes due to the fighting. So where should they go? There are several women, children and elders among these people. It was not a suitable time for launching the operation. In fact we are very concerned about the offensive because it has created trouble for the residents.

Hajji Abdol Ahad added that the operation should have been launched in the autumn, or the foreigners should have waited (some more months). They should launch the operation after winter has passed.

On the one hand, there is very little information about the ongoing fighting in Nawzad District because foreigners and government officials do not provide precise information and the few people displaced to Helmand’s provincial capital, Lashkargah, have little information about the ongoing fighting.

A resident of Nawzad District, who arrived in Lashkargah on a motorcycle today, told AIP that the fighting was going on in Nawzad Districts’ northern parts and some of the residents in the northern part of the district have left their homes and gone to other areas.

He added: “Some people have moved to Nawzad’s southern parts. There is no fighting in the southern part. Actually, the fighting is in the north and we have no information about it. It is also possible that some other residents have moved to some other districts.”

The Taleban spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yosuf, claimed destroying foreign forces’ three vehicles and killing some of the soldiers during the first 24 hours of the operation. But the foreign forces denied the Taleban’s claim.

Helmand is one of the provinces under Taleban influence in Afghanistan where foreign forces occasionally launch anti-Taleban operations.

(Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans. The agency used to have good contacts with Taliban leadership; however, since the fall of the Taliban regime, it now describes itself as independent and self-financing)’

Aljazeera English reports on the US admission that its poppy eradication efforts in Afghanistan have been a failure.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that it has been years since the US had any good intel on the whereabouts of Usama bin Laden.

End/ (Not Continued)

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7 Responses

  1. Would someone please explain Obama's military experience. He is deepening the war in Iraq, escalating the war in Afghanistan, and threatening Iran. Is anyone else scared?

  2. The poppy news is depressing. Thanks, I won't shoot the messenger…I surely will not hear anything about poppies on the Sunday news shows today.

  3. If there is no good intel on OBL, then the last picture of a feeble OBL published during Bush's last year is fake. Funny how all the bin Ladens were let go.

  4. In Eduardo Galeano's book "Upside Down" there is a chapter entitled "Sewing: How to Make Enemies to Measure", which is about the self perpetuating economy of war. First you assemble your enemies, then you fight them, He says:

    "The countries that sell the world the most weapons are the same ones in charge of world peace."

    Gates' remarks about the hunt for Osama bin Laden reminded me of this comment of Galeano's, in a box entitled "A Star is Born":

    "In mid-1998, the White House put another villain up on the global marquee. He uses the stage name Osama bin Laden; he's an Islamic fundamentalist, sports a beard, wears a turban and caresses the rifle in his lap. Will this new star's career take off? Will he be a box-office hit? Will he manage to undermine the foundations of Western civilization or will he only play a supporting role? In horror movies, you never know."

    Galeano's book was published in 1998.

  5. otoh, “Mullah Muhammad Omar, the cleric to whom even Mr. bin Laden has pledged fealty, operates now from near the Pakistani city of Quetta, as he helps oversee the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. NewYorkTimes 05-DEC: The War in "Pashtunistan". see also from his Wiki: A captured Taliban spokesman, Muhammad Hanif, told Afghan authorities in January, 2007 that Omar was being protected by the [Pakistani] Inter-Services Intelligence in Quetta, Pakistan. This matches an allegation made by the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, in 2006, though it is denied by officials in Pakistan… Also in January 2007, it was reported that Omar made his 'first exchange with a journalist since going into hiding' in 2001… In November 2009, the Washington Times reported that "Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban [government], has been shifted with ISI help from Quetta to Karachi last month for fear of American drone attacks targeting him in Balochistan’s capital." Daily Times (Pakistan) : “The source for this startling revelation was two unnamed senior U.S. intelligence officials and a former senior CIA officer. The report has been denied by President Zardari and the foreign office, but this is just one more example of the conflicted relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan on the issue of combating militancy and terrorism. [interesting that the Pakistani writer here makes a distinction between ‘militancy’ and ‘terrorism’] Washington’s suspicions of the ISI harbouring Mullah Omar and his shura are rooted in the past policy of our [ie., Pakistan's] military establishment of supporting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan while tilting against al Qaeda. So, at least there is no dearth of reports on Mullah Muhammad Omar, who not only appears to be active = fully functional as "the ex head of state of Afghanistan and currently presumed to be director of anti-occupation forces in Afghanistan," but may also be capable of some mobility within "Pashtunistan."

  6. Separatists, Islamists and Islamabad Struggle for Control of Pakistani Balochistan

    To say that the USA-led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in October 2001 shook Pakistan to its core would be an understatement. Since then, the war in Afghanistan has spilled over into Pakistan on multiple levels. The escalating cycle of violence between Pakistani security forces and a patchwork of tribal militants, particularly the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and foreign fighters aligned with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) is a case in point. Many observers of Pakistani affairs have used the deteriorating situation in the tribal agencies along the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier as a bellwether of future trends in Pakistan. In this context, it is no surprise that events in Pakistan’s tribal areas seem to draw the most attention. Yet Pakistan’s Balochistan province is also beginning to draw interest as a center of Taliban and al-Qaeda activity.

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