Afghanistan: Not Going So Well After All

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The Washington Post’s Greg Miller has a front-page response today to Carlotta Gall’s recent optimistic report in the New York Times about our military offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar:

An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of the war in Afghanistan.

….The blunt intelligence assessments are consistent across the main spy agencies responsible for analyzing the conflict, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, and come at a critical juncture. Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

….Among the troubling findings is that Taliban commanders who are captured or killed are often replaced in a matter of days. Insurgent groups that have ceded territory in Kandahar and elsewhere seem content to melt away temporarily, leaving behind operatives to carry out assassinations or to intimidate villagers while waiting for an opportunity to return.

Hmmm. It sounds like the intelligence guys and the military guys are going to have a wee bit of disagreement when they get together for the review of Afghanistan planned for December. They have met the enemy, and it is them.

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