Test Case “Moshtarak”

NATO’s latest military offensive to “break” the Taliban finally kicked off earlier this week. The combined operation, the cleverly-chosen name of which means “together” in the local Dari language (a Persian dialect spoken in parts of Afghanistan), involves 4,000 US Marines, supported by 4,000 British troops, a large Afghan force and contingents of Canadians, French, Danes and Estonians.

Seems to me more like a “test case” for the new strategy for “winning” the Afghan war than anything else. How else to explain the fact the operation was widely publicized for weeks in advance, thereby allowing the Taliban to either safely flee the area well ahead of time or just temporarily go to ground, blending back in with the local populace (hence the “low numbers” of insurgent casualties and only sporadic resistance during the initial push).

Whether it will work remains to be seen. Of course, the true test of this new counter-insurgency approach will be in how effectively NATO delivers on its “nation-building” promises that comprise subsequent stages of the operation.

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5 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan War

5 responses to “Test Case “Moshtarak”

  1. CWTF

    Why don’t we just declare victory and leave….

  2. Ottlib

    CWTF,

    Do you remember in your elementary school math classes the teacher telling you that you must show your work. It was not just a matter of getting the answer it was how you did it.

    This is NATO showing its work.

    Red, it is interesting that this offensive was widely publicised.

    There is now something NATO and the Taliban agree on. They want NATO troops out of Afghanistan. However, they cannot just leave they have to at least appear that they “won”. Otherwise, all sorts of governments would need to explain why they had troops there for over a decade.

    The Taliban, being a very pragmatic lot, are more than willing to allow NATO that appearance if it will speed the final NATO withdrawal. However, the Taliban might get a little upset if too many of their members got killed while NATO performed its little pantomime. So, NATO publicises their plans and Bob’s your uncle.

    NATO has a new political ally. It is the Taliban.

  3. benalbanach

    Not only safely flee…but wire the place with IEDs.
    To the oxymoron “military intelligence ” we might add “Current Government”.

  4. jkg

    NATO has a new political ally. It is the Taliban

    It certainly does parallel the confluence of events, most notably, the fact that Karzai has begun again to try to enter peace talks with the Taliban, even though NATO “disapproves.”

    But we shouldn’t scratch the surface even further lest the ultra-jingoists have their world shaken and knee jerkingly label us as traitors.

  5. Over at “Hot Air” Cap’n Ed Morrisey was quite lathered the other day about the new offensive. In his piece he opined that the reason Canada will be pulling out next year is because we feel jilted by the Obama administration.

    What a strange fantasy world the wingnut chickenhawks live in…

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