'Last Gasp' of the Taliban?
Ten days ago, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claimed that the green-on-blue attacks, in which Afghan security personnel are killing Coalition forces, were evidence of the "last gasp" of the Taliban.
His remarks were ill-timed; just days before, the Taliban stormed Camp Bastion in Helmand province, destroying six of the eight aircraft in a USMC Harrier squadron, and killing the squadron commander and a sergeant. Several days later, the US and NATO suspended operations with Afghan forces due to the green-on-blue attacks. Meanwhile, data released by ISAF continues to show that the Taliban remains a resilient fighting force, not one whose "momentum is broken," as President Obama has characterized it. The comments by Panetta and Obama are reminiscent of former Vice President Dick Cheney's remark in 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency was "in the last throes," when it was anything but.
For more background information, see Long War Journal and Threat Matrix reports:
Analysis: The Taliban's 'momentum' has not been broken
ISAF data show insurgent attacks down, civilian casualties up
6 Harrier jets destroyed, 2 damaged in Taliban assault on Camp Bastion
US military suspends combat patrols with Afghan forces
Afghanistan - now what?