The Taliban’s Springtime Offensive Wilts in the Summer Heat

The Taliban and al Qaeda have stepped up their springtime offensive in Afghanistan in an attempt to thwart the upcoming elections this fall. So far the results have been abysmal. Operations in Afghanistan are netting Taliban bigwigs. Two commanders have been captured, and two more are said to be surrounded. Another has surrendered.

The Afghani Army and police forces are taking an active role in the hunt. US and Afghani forces have met the challenge and well over 150 Taliban fighters have been killed and 150 have fled the country in the past week. Twenty Taliban were killed during a raid a few days ago, and in another individual battle, 76 of the enemy were confirmed killed.

“Their camps were decimated. Bodies lay everywhere. Heavy machine guns and AK-47s were scattered alongside blankets, kettles and food,” said Gen. Salim Khan, commander of 400 Afghan policemen who took part in the fighting. “Some of the Taliban were also killed in caves where they were hiding and U.S. helicopters came and pounded them.”

The Taliban are making the same mistake as al Qaeda in Iraq – massing in formation and presuming to defeat American and Afghani forces in open combat. It appears the lessons of Abu Ghraib and Camp Gannon have not been properly disseminated to the Taliban via al Qaeda. At this rate, the Taliban will have little to offer by way of opposition come elections this fall.

It would be assumed entering the fourth year of combat with American forces, the Taliban would have figured out that direct confrontation with American forces would lead to disastrous results. They haven’t, and all the better to capture or kill them.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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