Monday, June 16, 2008

Kandahar, Afghanistan On The Verge Of Falling Into Taliban Hands

The New York Times is reporting that "hundreds of Taliban fighters" have swarmed into a strategic region of South Eastern Afghanistan which threatens the city of Kandahar.
The move by the Taliban on Argandab, a district that is critical to the security of the city of Kandahar and therefore to the entire south of Afghanistan, comes amid an increased sense of crisis in Afghanistan. Kandahar is still reeling from a brazen attack by the Taliban on the Kandahar prison,, in which they released some 1,200 prisoners, 400 of whom were members of the Taliban, including some district commanders.

Kandahar is where the Taliban was born so it is no surprise that they would want to take it back. The problem, of course, is that if the Taliban do re-take Kandahar and the surrounding area they will have taken over control of more of the country than the government controls. From there they will be able to coordinate, then launch devastating attacks against the government in Kabul.

They have been planning this for months, and there doesn't seem to be much President Karzai's government and the NATO forces can do to stop them:
Families were fleeing from their homes in the district of Argandab to take refuge in the city, they said. Some of the families said they had been told by the Taliban to leave, an indication the Taliban intended to make a stand and fight.

Argandab is a rich, thickly populated river valley of orchards and vineyards running northwest from Kandahar into a range of barren mountains that have been a refuge for mujahedeen fighters and Taliban insurgents. Control of Argandab is considered critical to control of the city of Kandahar and has been the source of forces that have seized control of the city in the past.

The Taliban have been pushing into Argandab for months and have made several attacks on police posts and tribal leaders from the area over the last year. The loss of Mullah Naqibullah, the longtime leader of the Alokozai tribe that populates Argandab, and another senior commander, Abdul Hakim Jan, who was killed in a huge suicide bombing in February, has critically depleted the tribe, which always fiercely opposed the Taliban.

If Afghanistan falls back into the hands of these brutal butchers it will be our fault. The fact that any portion of that country is still in the control or these animals is a tragedy.

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