Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Documents reveal military lies

In a shocking development, recently released documents show that Taliban fighters were capable of massing in large formations even a few months after the battle that set them "on their back foot" in September 2006. Despite the Canadian military's repeated claims that Operation Medusa forced the Taliban to resort to hit-and-run, small formation attacks, militants were seen to amass in groups of several hundred. The Canadian Press has the story:

Taliban fielding battalion-sized forces, military records reveal

OTTAWA, Aug 20 (CP) - Taliban militants reportedly amassed a 600-strong fighting force and dragged out bigger weapons only 10 months after being routed by NATO forces in a landmark 2006 battle west of Kandahar, newly released documents have revealed.

The heavily-censored records, released to The Canadian Press under access to information laws, provide a candid glimpse of the insurgency...

[T]he documents – withheld for months by the Canadian Defence Department – suggest Taliban commanders have long been gaining critical battle experience in Kandahar, using Afghan security forces as target practice.

As many as 100 insurgents were involved in Tuesday's attack on a French and U.S. reconnaissance patrol in the Sarobi district.

But Canadian army daily situation reports show Afghan forces and the Canadians mentoring them were encountering Taliban organized into formations ranging from 200 to 600 fighters in June 2007...

In what can now be best described as rehearsals for taking on NATO troops, Taliban forces would plaster outposts and checkpoints with AK-47 and rocket propelled grenade fire. They even rolled up four-man armour-crunching 82 mm recoilless rifles and blasted away.

They were careful to avoid punishing NATO air strikes and direct fights with the Canadian battle group, whenever possible...

[Retired Canadian general Lewis MacKenzie] said the speed in which the Taliban were able to regroup and field what amounts to a battalion-sized force after losing an estimated 800 fighters just months before during Operation Medusa is breathtaking...

What is also remarkable is how the Taliban was able to hold itself together and thrive despite a focused NATO campaign to kill senior and mid-level militant commanders, such as the blood thirsty Mullah Dadullah, who died in May 2007... (link)
While the media is unlikely to learn a lesson from the Canadian Forces' PSYOPS efforts, one hopes that concerned citizens will take note that they themselves are prime targets of NATO disinformation.

While the story so far is indeed an eye-opener, the Canadian Forces' acts of deceit could go even further. As I noted in an article some time ago, NATO estimates of the number of Taliban killed in the 2006 Operation Medusa in Kandahar province ranged as high as 1500. However, reporters on the ground found no evidence of a large number of casualties. Perhaps the reason for the Taliban's quick rebound is that not many were actually killed in Medusa.

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