Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mini Battlefield Digest: Afghanistan, week 40

It was not a good week in Afghanistan.

Violence is at an all time high. The first female suicide bomber struck this week. Massive suicide bomb attacks in Kabul in the past week.

The head of NATO suggested that the "hold" portion could not be handled by Afghani military hands, yet. This implies whack-a-mole, as the Coalition Forces alone appear unable to hold all ground cleared. Ceding ground (or worse, ceding the same ground) has profound implications, not just for the overall strategy, but for the whole idea of who is going to fight the struggle within Islam and how. Spain will not send more troops.

The Taliban won't negotiate peace, but are following their own odd rules of engagement, which include "mistakenly kidnapping" and doing other battlefield negotiations, possibly including the infamous taking of prisoners to swap for detainees.

The goals of "build" remain elusive on some reports (comprehensive reporting, is, as ever, not available to mere citizens). Some places report switching opium for marajuana. Women struggle under the Taliban campaign of intimidation. In an area with abjectly low literacy rates, the President is indicating that schooling is the answer to mere religious instruction, although the timeline for such developments is very long, as measured by ISAF deployments.

Battlefield News, Afghanistan

Political Developments

  • Spain will not send troops to Afghanistan, while Norway declined putting its troops in combat situations. The UK will deploy a company of Royal Marines Commandos.-Thursday, September 27, 2007
  • President Hamid Karzai offered to negotiate with Mullah Omar and said he would give the Taliban a government ministry; the Taliban rejected the offer. The Taliban released its Constitution of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. -Sunday, September 30, 2007
COIN: Actions, Reactions, Counteractions, etc.
  • Reuters: Hard-fought gains by NATO troops this year could be lost in coming months if Afghan forces fail to hold ground seized from the Taliban, the NATO commander in Afghanistan said in an interview broadcast on Thursday-Friday, September 28, 2007
  • AP: Insurgency-related deaths in Afghanistan were 55% higher in the first nine months of 2007 compared with last year, as violence since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion surpassed all previous highs, according to an Associated Press analysis.-Thursday, October 4, 2007
  • NPR: Building Islamic schools in Afghanistan has become a top priority for Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government as it struggles with the Taliban insurgency.-Wednesday, October 3, 2007
  • LATimes: President Hamid Karzai, expressing horror at a suicide bombing here in the capital that killed at least 30 people, offered Saturday to meet with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to stop the carnage. [has offered Ministry posts]-Sunday, September 30, 2007
  • AP: The Taliban will "never" negotiate with Afghan authorities until U.S. and NATO forces leave the country, a spokesman for the group said Sunday, again rebuffing an overture for peace talks from President Hamid Karzai. -Sunday, September 30, 2007
  • Reuters: As Afghanistan struggles to cut its raging opium production, aid workers try to find alternative crops, but for some former poppy farmers the choice was easy -- they planted marijuana instead.-Thursday, September 27, 2007
  • CP: Sofia Nawabi studies hard and dreams of running her own business one day. Not so long ago, the 21-year-old Afghan woman couldn't even show her face outside her home, as she does today. To go to school, let alone run a business...-Monday, October 1, 2007
VIOLENCE: Tactical Developments
  • AP: Violence in Afghanistan has spiked to its highest level since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, with an Associated Press count of insurgency-related deaths this year surpassing the 5,000 mark and a U.N. report finding that attacks have risen by 20%.-Tuesday, October 2, 2007
  • AP: A burqa-clad woman blew herself up and killed at least 15 people Monday at a crowded police checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan, police said. It was believed to be the first time a female suicide bomber has struck inside the country.-Monday, October 1, 2007
  • The Taliban said it mistakenly kidnapped four Red Cross workers, and would release them shortly. A battalion of The Royal Gurkha Rifles has deployed to Helmand.-Friday, September 28, 2007
  • The Afghan government negotiated for the release of four captured Red Cross workers; they have been freed from captivity.-Saturday, September 29, 2007
  • CanWest: Afghans shouting "Death to Canada" and other slogans blocked a main road in the hotly disputed Zhari District of Kandahar during a protest Wednesday against the rule of President Hamid Karzai and a house-to-house search operation...-Wednesday, September 26, 2007
  • The US is offering rewards of $200,000 for mid-level Taliban and al Qaeda leaders, and posting the notices in Afghan villages.-Tuesday, October 2, 2007
  • AP: A suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform set off a huge explosion Saturday while trying to board a military bus in the capital, killing 30 people, most of them soldiers, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.-Saturday, September 29, 2007
  • The French deployed a squadron of Mirage 2000D air-to-ground fighters at Kandahar Airfield.
  • AKI: By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Pakistani Taliban allegedly seized 24 personnel on Monday in a daring raid on the Rocha Frontier Constabulary Fort in the Pakakhail area of Bannu, independent sources told Adnkronos International. -Monday, October 1, 2007



Afghan Provinces:

ISAF (NATO) Commands by Region

ISAF Deployments

Combat strength in Afghanistan: 34,743
American contingent: 15,154

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