Operation Medusa nets another 186 Taliban; initial report of bombmaking cell in Kabul confirmed
The Taliban in the Panjwai district west of Kandahar City have suffered another round of massive casualties. The Royal Canadian Regiment, combined with Coalition air power, killed 186 Taliban fighters dug into fixed positions in the Pashmul region during two sperate engagements, bringing the nine day total of over 510 Taliban killed and 80 captured in 8 days of Operation Medusa. These are massive losses for a Taliban force estimated at around 10,000 fighters (12,000 by the Taliban’s own count). The Canadian Army has suffered 5 killed in combat of the course of the week.
Elements of the Royal Canadian Regiment are now digging into the Panjwai and Zhari districts, indicating they will remain in the region. This will benefit the military situation in the short term by allowing for more flexibility and a permanent security presence in region, as well as facilitate the reconstruction mission in the future, an important component in restoring stability in the region.
Despite the recent success of Operation Medusa, the New Democratic Part overwhelmingly voted to begin a withdrawal from Afghanistan. While the NDP is a minority party in Canada, the seeds of the erosion of public support for the mission in Afghanistan have been planted. This fits in the Taliban’s plans to fracture NATO. Canadian will has been specifically targeted. “We think that when we kill enough Canadians, they will quit war and return home,” said Taliban spokesman Qari Yuosaf Ahmedi, in late April of 2006.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has “This cell is alive and working and remains very much a threat,” said Colonel Tom Collins, the military spokesman in Kabul. This is a story we first broke on September 8 after the attack on a U.S. Army convoy near the U.S. Embassy in the capital. A suicide bomber struck in Gardez, the capital of Paktia. Abdul Hakim Taniwal , the provincial governor, and his nephew and a body guard were killed in the attack. Al-Qaeda is stepping up its presence in Afghanistan, with suicide attacks and roadside bombings now on the rise.
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