Friday, May 13, 2011

Today's Reading Assignment

In the hours following Osama bin Laden's death, there were dire predictions about the previously-announced Taliban spring offensive. With the Al Qaida leader eliminated by Navy SEALs, the "experts" warned, Taliban attacks would prove even more violent and deadly than in years past.

Flash forward almost two weeks, and the offensive really hasn't materialized, as the Washington Times explains:

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.


Paul G. said...

You're probably right...

13 May 2011 Last updated at 12:51 ET
Pakistan bombings: Taliban admits Shabqadar attacks

Twin bomb attacks on a paramilitary force academy in north-west Pakistan have killed 80 people, police say. At least 120 people were wounded in the blasts at the training centre for the Frontier Constabulary in Shabqadar, Charsadda district.

The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack to avenge the death of Osama Bin Laden earlier this month.

TOF said...

The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) conducted a Spring offensive beginning in the waning days of March, 1972. In spite of their initial successes, they were defeated as soundly as they had been in their 1968 Tet offensive. In 1972 they brought air cover with them in the form of SA-2 and SA-7 missiles. The SA-2 were hunted down and destroyed, along with the rest of the NVA; the SA-7s (what are now called MANPADs) just weren't very effective.

That defeat and the subsequent Linebacker I and Linebacker II operations got our POWs their freedom.

The best defense is a good offense. Signaling one's intentions rather than kicking butt merely invites defeat.