Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Coming Winter Campaign In Afghanistan

An Afghan soldier pulls security for a US lead patrol to Kamdesh, a village in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan. Winter 2006 -- National Geographic Magazine 2008

The Coming Winter Combat Between Taliban and U.S. Forces -- Captain's Journal

It was Maj. Gen. Jeffery J. Schloesser who initially pointed out that the Taliban would be active this winter despite the common perceptions of a stand down in operations due to the weather.

American troops in Afghanistan will step up offensive operations this winter because insurgents are increasingly staying in the country to prepare for spring attacks, a U.S. commander told The Associated Press.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery J. Schloesser said a 40 percent surge in violence in April and May was fueled in part by militants preparing stores of weapons during the winter, which generally is a slow period for fighting, particularly in snowy Afghan mountainous areas.

“If we don’t do anything over the winter the enemy will more and more try to seek safe haven in Afghanistan rather than going back to Pakistan,” Schloesser said …

He said the U.S. military realized more militants spent last winter in Afghanistan after speaking with elders and villagers who had been pushed out of their homes. The spike in violence in the spring occurred because insurgents were already in position to unleash attacks, though U.S. officials didn’t know it at the time, he said.

“They didn’t have to come over the passes, they were already here,” Schloesser said during an interview while flying in a Black Hawk helicopter Monday to a small U.S. outpost in Nuristan, a province that borders Pakistan.

Now he is reiterating this position, but adding a new twist concerning the capabilities of U.S. forces and the intent to interdict Taliban operations.

Read more ....

My Comment: As usual, the Captain's Journal has an observant eye on what is going to happen in Afghanistan a few months from now.

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