Sunday, October 7, 2007

Taliban offensive brewing?

Last week, this blog noted that recent Taliban activity in Ghazni province was unusual, since the insurgents massed in a group of some 200 fighters, easily taking a remote district. The following day, 300 Afghan and US-led forces retook the area from insurgents.

Asia Times' veteran reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad writes that this may be the beginnings of a pre-winter push by the Taliban, aimed at taking key territories before fighting winds down due to weather. The reasons Shahzad gives for the timing are interesting, involving the politics of Pakistan, where the Taliban's top leaders are based:

The Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad signed peace agreements in February 2005 and September 2006, under the terms of which the Pakistani Army cut back its troop levels in the tribal areas in return for militants stopping their attacks on the Pakistani Army and forces in Afghanistan.

In July the Taliban abandoned the treaties following the storming of the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad by government troops. ...

In the past 10 days, however, militants have launched at least nine carefully planned operations against security positions in [Pakistan]...

As a result, all security operations against the Taliban and their al-Qaeda colleagues in the tribal areas have stopped, and by all accounts the army is running scared. ... (link)

No comments: