Around 2,500 troops are based in Camp Bastion, with hundreds flying the 30 minute journey to the frontline in Musa Qala. The base also hosts the regional hospital, and has received casualties from the battle over the last few days, although officials would not say how many.
A spokesman for the Nato-led force said that Afghan army troops entered the centre of Musa Qala today, on the fourth day of the operation to recapture it. but fighting was continuing. In Kabul, a Defence Ministry spokesman said that Afghan, British and US forces had "completely captured" the town.
A British military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Eaton, said that he could not confirm that the Taleban had left the town’s centre but said he would not be surprised if that were the case.
"This is what happens. We have had a number of operations in the past where once the Taleban realize they are overmatched, they tend to leave," he said. "I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case here. Ultimately our aim is to take Musa Qala, and if we take Musa Qala without a big fight, that’s fantastic."
From a news report that I heard about two days ago, one Afghani said that he had seen a convoy of Taliban leaving town by the hundreds. I thought, "Well why didn't we see them from the air and do something about it? Why did we just let them drive off into the sunset? This is no way to run a war.
Here's an article that never made out of the EB que.
Allies prepare to seize Taliban stronghold
By Tom Coghlan, Kabul Correspondent
Last Updated: 3:01am GMT 06/12/2007
A key Taliban-held town in southern Afghanistan is expected to fall to British troops and the national army within a matter of days.
Residents report that Nato aircraft have dropped leaflets warning of an imminent assault on Musa Qala in the north of Helmand province.
The town is of huge symbolic value to the Taliban. It has been in its hands for 10 months and is the only urban centre that the Islamist group has been able to take and hold.
Western sources have told The Daily Telegraph that it is planned that Afghan forces will lead the assault - the first time that the fledgling national army has undertaken an operation on such a scale.
After advancing from the base at Sangin, the British and Afghan troops are now said to be just two miles from the town. Local people have now begun to flee into the surrounding desert.
"Anything could happen, it is in God's hands," said a member of the tribal council of the town, who begged not to be named for fear of reprisals.
The air-dropped leaflets gave warning that the Taliban would be pursued from the area and urged the tribal leaders in Musa Qala to eject the insurgents themselves.
Contacted by satellite telephone, Taliban commanders stated that they had already mined routes to the town, which is about the size of Cambridge. They also claimed to have captured and destroyed a British tank.
"I have 300 Mujahideen with me," said Mullah Ahmad Muslim. "We have brought our best artillery. We have ZSU anti-aircraft guns in place to attack the helicopters."
But when asked whether the Taliban would stand and fight in Musa Qala, he did not rule out the possibility of a withdrawal into the Taliban-held mountains to the north. "The Mujahideen are ready to fight. It is hard to say whether we will make a tactical withdrawal. We will see."
One town resident said that Mullah Tor Jan, the overall Taliban commander in the town, had told local leaders that they would "save the town from destruction" by withdrawing once a "screen" of his fighters to the south of the town was breached by British forces.
However, on their website, the Taliban issued a blood-curdling rejoinder to the warnings of imminent attack. It read: "Foreign occupiers and their internal mercenaries are once again targeting Musa Qala.
"They are dropping leaflets from the air calling on the people to leave their homes as the area will be bombed and their homes will be rebuilt in a modern style.
"It is a known fact that wherever they have gone with all their power, their strength has melted, their equipment has been destroyed, their skulls have remained [on the battlefield], and they have left the battlefield defeated and broken. The Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are completely confident that the enemy will not be able to advance one step, and with every step their tanks will be set on fire."
One local tribal leader said: "Everyone knows that the town can be taken, but to keep power there is the key thing.
"It depends on the skill of the government to make the people trust them.
"If they are not skilful, then the people will turn to the Taliban."
It's been reported that Musa Qala was the only town in Afghanistan under Taliban control. This November 2006 Bill Roggio report sheds light on why:
Further south, in Helmand province, the secret deal between the British and pro-Taliban tribal leaders has reached the predictible conclusion. The Times Online reports Musa Qala has now fallen back into the hands of the Taliban. Nafaz Khan, the former chief of police of Musa Qala who fought along with the British of the Royal Irish Regiment, said the negotiations to turn Musa Qala over to 'local tribesmen' was just a ruse. "Those British soldiers were cursing with us when we were all told to leave... They said that they had fought and lost friends to keep the town. And now these tribal elders who are in charge of Musa Qala are the same who gave the Taliban support when they fought against us. The deal was just a clever trick to get the foreign soldiers to go.” Nafaz Khan's statements are backed up by Haji Dad Mohammed Khan.
We recently heard that some 60% of Afghanis want some kind of power sharing arrangement between the Karzai government and the Taliban. It seems that in large parts of the country outside of Kabul, there are no police and no courts, which means no way to resolve disputes . Supposedly, the Taliban come in and bring a judicial system and security. And we have Brits who do either do not want to fight or are out manned by a ragtag militia of rag heads...kinda like Bush and the Democrats.
The Marines were recently turned down when they offered to redeploy from Anbar to Afghanistan. Why? Maybe the Brits said "No way we want those cowboys over here!" It's disgusting. Why don't we just pack up now? Fold our tents and come home.
Well, I heard (from an Afghani government education spokesman) that Afghan has over six million children enrolled in school. A record number, two-thirds of whom attend in tents... Tents! The spokesman said that they need three times the amount they are currently being budgeted for education. Hey, that sounds familiar doesn't it. I wonder if he's an NEA man. That country will be a worse investment than a boat.
This ain't no way to build an empire.
And we have Brits who do either do not want to fight or are out manned by a ragtag militia of rag heads...kinda like Bush and the Democrats.ReplyDelete
If the Taliban are prevailing on the battlefield head-to-head against Tommy Atkins maybe they deserve more respectful appellation than "rag head".
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier. (Kipling)
By the way, I'm a Gook. My husband is a Kraut.
It is easy enought to see why 60% of Afghani want to integrate the Talibam into the government.ReplyDelete
The Taloban represent the Pashtun, there are 13 million Pashtun in Afghanistan, whuh has a population of 32 million.
Golly, those numbers and percentages almost match.
The Taliban represent the Pashtun, in AFghanistan and Pakistan, where there are 28 million Pashtun.
As Mr Scheuer noted, we are not killing enough of the enemy, to win a war.
Reconciliation has worked so well in Iraq, after the US changed Goals, it'd work in Afghanistan, a larger country than Iraq, too.
All we have to do, is admit the Taliban are the legitimate spokesmen for the Pashtun, as the Baathist tribal leaders of Iraq represent the Sunni population, there.
Winning hearts and minds by surrendering on the primary US goals, then calling it success.
"Why don't we just pack up now? Fold our tents and come home."ReplyDelete
Yeah, well, I'm sure they're asking themselves the same thing back in Mons.
The Brits just ahead of the curve.ReplyDelete
They pulled out of downtown Basra, violence there dropped 90%, I heard on the news, last night.
All we have to do, is admit the Taliban are the legitimate spokesmen for the Pashtun, as the Baathist tribal leaders of Iraq represent the Sunni population, there.ReplyDelete
Winning hearts and minds by surrendering on the primary US goals, then calling it success.
Tue Dec 11, 08:05:00 AM EST
Hey, Bill Lind over at d-n-i.net came pretty damn close to this suggestion more than two years ago.
(Right there with ya, T. The "rag tag...rag head" bit, for obvious reasons, just don't cut it no mo.)
Desert Rat: They pulled out of downtown Basra, violence there dropped 90%, I heard on the news, last night.ReplyDelete
After the battle of Yorktown in 1781 King George pulled his troops out of America and violence dropped 90% too!
Trish: (Right there with ya, T. The "rag tag...rag head" bit, for obvious reasons, just don't cut it no mo.)ReplyDelete
When this blog was created (soon after Wretchard shut off comments on the BC for a few days), I saw people like Habu talk about nuking 100 million Muslims and turning the ME into a sea of glass, and I wanted to try to fit in, even with all the testosterone flying around, so one time (when I was posting about World War Deuce) I used the word "Kraut" but EB Management came down on me like a ton of bricks. So yes ma'am I learned my lesson!
Heard on NPR that Karzai's on anti-depressants.ReplyDelete
Nothing that a little Xanax can't fix.
"I used the word "Kraut" but EB Management came down on me like a ton of bricks."ReplyDelete
C'mon. You're shitting me.
It certainly worked for JFK, trish.ReplyDelete
No reason Mr Karzai shouldn't get a bump, once in a while. It'd be depressing to be dependent upon NATO & US.
That NATO cannot field six heavy lift helicopters exemplifing his cause for depression.
The new UN Sec General, he may need a bump or two, too. He cannot find 24 helicopters in the "West" to end a genocide, in Darfur.
That'd be depressing, if one cared.
Never forget, forgotten.
But those black Africans, not Jewish, so no one minds if they are genocided.
The definition of genocide, and whether that word is applicable, that's where the debate resides over Darfur, not that a US defined genocide should be ended, the Jihadi defeated.
Desert Rat: The new UN Sec General, he may need a bump or two, too. He cannot find 24 helicopters in the "West" to end a genocide, in Darfur.ReplyDelete
It's about this time that the bureaucrats at the UN usually turn to the United States and say, "You remember all those immoderate remarks we made about you being a dangerous hyperpower throwing your military weight around for imperialist aims? We didn't really mean that!"
Desert Rat: The definition of genocide, and whether that word is applicable, that's where the debate resides over Darfur, not that a US defined genocide should be ended, the Jihadi defeated.ReplyDelete
The US should declare a simple policy of only intervening militarily in cases where there is a consensus in the international community that a massacre is "genocide". The US has already decided the Darfur situation is genocide, and we're ready to go in as soon as the rest of the world comes on board. God forbid America should pursue unilateral ism.
And what the US said, in regards Darfur being a genocide, we didn't mean that, either.ReplyDelete
What we've said about equality of the races and respect for life itself, forgotten.
The victims, being neither European or Jewish, forgotten.
Of no strategic importance.
"It'd be depressing to be dependent upon NATO & US."ReplyDelete
The mayor of Kabul has to issue a statement distancing himself and the government from every civilian (read that 19 ways) killed.
Things are hard all 'round.
The African Union sending 26,000 troops, but they have no air, neither logistical or fire support.ReplyDelete
While the jihadi do have Hinds.
Perhaps the UN should hire the Blackwater boys, they'll have helicopters available, after their Iraq debacale is resolved.
MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti) - The man backed by Vladimir Putin for next year's presidential election is a heavy-metal loving 42-year-old whose surname comes from the Russian word for 'bear'.ReplyDelete
. . .
The man who may well become leader of the largest nation on Earth said he had spent much of his youth compiling cassettes of popular Western groups, "Endlessly making copies of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple."
Led Zep, huh? Sounds like someone we can work with.
Bingo, Rat. You can lease the air. Plenty available.ReplyDelete
And you've gotta get people in to do the arm-twisting.
US troops. Absolutely not.
Michael Scheuer, on a c-span interview was asked about how the War in Iraq affected the war against Al-Qaeda. He stated that the war in Iraq was a disaster. That Saddam had kept the cork on the bottle and was our best ally against the Islamists.
He further criticizes Bush for not getting Bin Laden at Tora Bora. He also criticizes Clinton who missed bin Laden ten times. I have suggested that we had an historic opportunity to use two tactical nuclear weapons to snuff out Bin laden at Tora Bora.
Scheuer states that al-Qaeda has never been stronger or had more influence. He also states that AQ has never been more than 3000 strong. It has been argued here that the WOT was absurdly fought in an irrational and disproportionate fashion and in many ways has been counter-productive, if the mission is to wipe out AQ
I am not sure that sentiment is far from mine and some others who frequently post here.
Scheuer said that Bush is not serious about controlling our borders, a sentiment often expressed at the Elephant.
Scheuer says our real enemies are the Saudis. Agreed again and argued so on this blog.
Scheuer believes that the Pakis and the Anglo-shere are our only real allies in the WOT. He is very critical of the EU on rendition. I can think of no post at the Elephant the was critical of CIA treatment of prisoners.
The fact is. there is no Elephant point of view. It is open for argument, debate and discussion. That is the way it should be kept and we certainly welcome your opinion and point of view.
I cannot link the c-span video, but here is the information on the clip. I highly recommend that you watch and listen to this interview.
Michael Scheuer, Former Head of CIA's Bin Laden Unit (1996-99), describes Al-Qaeda's Worldwide Influence. Michael Scheuer talks about Al-Qaeda's worldwide influence. Topics include the scope, influence and potential danger from Al-Qaeda. During the past week, two bombings in Iraq's parliament building and in Algeria have been linked to groups claiming connection to Al-Qaeda. Mr. Scheuer was the head of the Central Intelligence Agency's Bin Laden unit from 1996-1999. He is currently a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation.
4/15/2007: WASHINGTON, DC: 28 min C-span
Tue Dec 11, 01:44:00 AM EST
"The fact is. there is no Elephant point of view."ReplyDelete
Ain't it the truth.
trish said..."The fact is. there is no Elephant point of view."ReplyDelete
Ain't it the truth.
From Chapterhouse: Dune--
Odrade turned her back on Bellonda and looked at the southern sky. Dust! We would sift more dust! Bellonda would be flanked by assistants. Odrade felt boredom just imagining it.
"No more analysis." Odrade spoke more sharply than she had intended.
"I do have a point of view." Bellonda sounded hurt.
Point of view? Are we no more than sensory windows on our universe, each with only a point of view?
The Elephant Bar Point of ViewReplyDelete
It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"
The Third approach'd the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,-
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
And even worse is that legend about the African trickster god, who walking among the fields, decided to have a little fun with the farmers. Son he wiggled his nose, and his mule became blue on one side, red on the other.ReplyDelete
After he had passed, one farmer said to the other, did you see that odd blue mule that man was leading?
Yes, I saw the mule, but it was red.
Red, no it was blue...
And they are arguing and fighting to this day.
Point of view? Are we no more than sensory windows on our universe, each with only a point of view?ReplyDelete
Tue Dec 11, 10:49:00 AM EST
Some days, T, I wonder just that.
Look at it this noble way...we are a Net of Gems, each a point of light, each reflecting all the others, in a vast cosmic Symphony of Light, each working all unconsciously to the eternal enlightenment of us all!ReplyDelete
MOYERS: So the experience of God is beyond description, but we feel compelled to try to describe it?ReplyDelete
CAMPBELL: That’s right. Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others, The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.
It’s a magnificent idea – an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended.
Whatever would the Unseen Elephant Bar do without you?
I am sorry if sensibilities were offended but those look like rags on their heads to me. Now if we were talking about Muslims in general, I would agree that "Raghead" would not be appropriate but we're talking about the real ragheads here. The Taliban...those wonderful men of Afghanistan and Waziristan. God Bless 'em every one!ReplyDelete
If not me for my Self, who? If only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?ReplyDelete
Metuselah: If not me for my Self, who? If only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?ReplyDelete
"There is nothing noble about being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self." --Hindustani Proverb
DR: Perhaps the UN should hire the Blackwater boys, they'll have helicopters available, after their Iraq debacale is resolved.ReplyDelete
Meanwhile, on the other side of Africa, two car bombs targeting United Nations offices and a government building killed dozens of people in the Algerian capital today. The diseased death cult continues to spread.
Kabbalah in Hebrew means to Receive. We are what we wish to be.
Metuselah: Kabbalah in Hebrew means to Receive. We are what we wish to be.ReplyDelete
That must be why Madonna embraced the Cabala, so she could have a spiritual basis for her perennial makeovers.
People see the truth they want to see. All that we are is energy pulses trying to escape God. Not to, would make us into universal furniture. :)