June 27, 2011
The Taliban Hearts al-Qaeda
Joe Biden finally won an argument. President Obama’s decision to draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan seems to move American policy toward Biden’s long-held view that the U.S. military should narrow its approach to a selective, counter-terrorism-focused mission. In this view, targeted raids, like the one that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, are enough to secure America. It’s a politically convenient theory. Too bad it’s wrong.Read the rest.
...Al Qaeda’s reach in Af-ghanistan can be seen in the press releases issued by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), NATO’s command in Afghanistan. Press releases from March 2007 forward show the presence of al Qaeda and affiliated groups, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), in 94 different districts and in 25 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Since mid-April of this year alone, ISAF and Afghan forces have killed or captured dozens of al Qaeda commanders and fighters. On May 3, the day after bin Laden was killed, Afghan troops killed or wounded more than 25 Arabs, Chechens, and Pakistanis in the Barg-e-Matal district of Nuristan. The 25 were sent across the border to retaliate for bin Laden’s demise. According to the Obama administration’s estimates, this would mean that half of al Qaeda’s presence inside Afghanistan was wiped out on that one day. A week later, on May 10, a dozen more al Qaeda fighters were killed or captured by ISAF and Afghan forces. At this pace, there should not be any al Qaeda operatives left in Afghanistan.