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Desperation strikes the Taliban

Posted by on August 31st, 2010

From our partners at

By Dave Anderson:

We were told that the Iraqi insurgencies were desperate from 2003 to today despite most of those groups achieving one of their primary objectives,  forcing the United States out of Iraq, or at least out of their region and their hair.  High levels of US casualties were a sign of desperation.  Low levels of US casualties were a sign of desperation.  Successful IED attacks were a sign of desperation, unsuccessful IED attacks were a sign of desperation.  Effective assassination campaigns as well as a four year choke-hold on Iraqi oil exports through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline were definitely signs of desperation.  Boycotting elections and participating in elections were both signs of desperation.  They were desperate at all times despite denying the United States its maximal goal set.   

Now it looks like the Taliban is officially getting 'desperate:'

The number of US wounded in Afghanistan is reaching the same levels as the number of wounded needed to retake Fallujah in the Fall of 2004. 

As the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan continues, Landstuhl is
experiencing an increase in wounded patients to levels unseen since the
2004 battles in the Iraqi city of Fallouja.

The complexity and severity of wounds are also increasing, said Army
Col. John M. Cho, a chest surgeon who is the hospital's commander. On a
medical rating scale, the number of patients above a level considered
extremely critical has increased 190% in the last two months, he said.

November 2004 saw intense house to house fighting between heavy infantry against dug-in opponents who had months to prepare positions for the anticipated assault.  Afg has not had any large division size assaults against prepared positions that will grind up infantry and spit out dead and wounded.  So if Afghanistan's wounded levels are comparable to the wounded levels seen during the Fallujah assault, the frequency and intensity of combat is most likely as high or higher than it had been at any point in Iraq when those insurgents were desperately fighting the US to a strategic draw. 

And the Taliban has expanded its presence into non-Pashtun dominated areas over the past couple of years:

Petraeus acknowledged the spread of Taliban influence, especially to
parts of the formerly peaceful north, but said the campaign to counter
the insurgency was nearing its final stages.

"I don't think anyone disagrees that the footprint of the Taliban has
spread," he said, adding the insurgents had "reconnected in various safe
havens and sanctuaries outside and inside the country," a reference to

Fighting has expanded from the Pashtun south and east to the entire ring road including areas where NATO/ISAF forces had long considered to be relatively secure.  This is putting pressure on governments whose forces have low domestic backing for the Afghan deployment in a bind as the north was the easy deployment zone.  Now German, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish forces are in routine combat and are taking politically very difficult casualties.  Those nations are likely to draw down their forces, like the Dutch did, because the political costs are not worth the minimal security benefits.  Peak foreign forces is either this week or last week, and foreign forces will draw down significantly even if the US does not. 

So the only conclusion that one can rationally draw from this evidence is that the Taliban is desperate:

Petraeus said the intensified fighting was a reflection of the
militants' desperation as the alliance poured in more resources in an
effort to speed an end to the war which began in 2001 when a US-led
invasion toppled the Taliban regime.

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to “Desperation strikes the Taliban”

  1. Rasmuncher says:

    I liken the Taliban as being of the same intensity some in the West have towards Muslims in their country. We all have our ratbags.

    What we don't have is someone else coming in and trying to remove them.

  2. Thomassoldat says:

    The Danes are stationed in the south and have been since 2006 (Helmand Province). Casualties are not news to the Danes….Neither is the strong level of support for the troos and their mission…pretty unique when comparing to other countries.

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