The outcome of the attacks was far from the doom presaged in the press. “All of the Taliban involved in the Kandahar attack were either captured or killed,” a military source with detailed knowledge of the offensive told The Washington Times. “Needless to say, not the greatest start to their vaunted spring offensive.” In late April, the insurgents announced the offensive would begin on May 1, but the heroin poppy season was not over and the leadership may have been preoccupied with what our source euphemistically called “revenue-enhancing activities.” The most significant event on May 1 was when the Pakistan-based Haqqani terrorist network sent a 12-year-old boy wearing a suicide vest into a marketplace in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven civilians and wounding 34, including women and children.
The promised large-scale offensive didn’t materialize on the date promised, and throughout the week, that sector was relatively quiet. This was no accident. According to the International Security Assistance Force, the ground for the Taliban defeat had been well prepared. “It’s not like we were sitting around waiting for the Taliban to do something,” our source said. “Throughout the winter we were extremely aggressive. We pressed the fight.” During the first week in May, the number of Taliban complex attacks was lower than during the same period in 2010. “The Taliban don’t have the same sanctuaries or weapons caches they used to have,” our source said. “And a lot of their higher level leaders are gone.”
Earlier this month, Time magazine likened early attacks in the Taliban spring campaign to the 1968 Tet Offensive. So far, that comparison appears ridiculous. But the "strategists" at Time may be ultimately vindicated. Tet was actually a stunning military defeat for the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong allies; likewise, the new offensive in Afghanistan may prove to be an equally serious setback for the Taliban and their Al Qaida allies.