Topic: War on Terror
AFP reports: Operation Medusa is wrapping up.
"The two-week military offensive in southern Afghanistan has been successful in driving the Taliban from the region and sending the message that NATO and Afghan forces are prepared to wipe out the hardline movement's fighters, officials said yesterday. . ."
Canadian Brigadier-General David Fraser, commander of NATO forces in the southern region, says, "What we saw here was a success against the Taliban. But that's only one area in a very, very large battle space."
Lt. General David Richards was less circumspect about the victory in Kandahar. "This has been a significant success and clearly shows the capability that Afghan, NATO and coalition forces have when they operate together.
Despite this "significant success," though, a suicide bomber on a bike managed to kill himself, four Canadian troops and a group of children just outside of Kandahar. [AFP] Remember, this is the region Gen. Fraser just said was free of Taliban fighters.
Meanwhile, Mulla Dadullah Akhund, the crazy Taliban general, told ABC News in a rare interview that, the ISAF figure of 500 dead Taliban in Operation Medusa is bogus. He claims he lost 14 fighters and he's got "no shortage of fighters. In fact, we have so many of them that it is difficult to accommodate and arm and equip them. Some of them have been waiting for a year or more for their turn to be sent to the battlefield,o shortage of men ready to go, he says. [For more on Akhund see this blog July 10]
And it might be good to keep in mind that in order to kill all these Taliban ISAF had to destroy an estimated 18,000 homes. Christina Lamb of the Times Online quotes a British soldier who jokes that "we call it deconstruction not reconstruction." In addition, AFP reports that "fields and homes are littered with shrapnel. Buildings and wells have been destroyed. Roads have been ploughed through grape fields."
Assadullah Khalid, the Governor of Kandahar province says, "we are working in clearing the area of bombs and land mines in order to facilitate the complete and safe return of the displaced families. This, we hope, will be achieved before the holy month of Ramadan sets in."
Yeah, good luck with that. Way to encourage Aghans not to go over to the Talibs side.