First off, sorry for the delay in postings, everyone. I recently bought a house with my wife up in the mountains of Colorado, and we’ve been moving in and getting settled. Let’s get down to business.
The Marine Corps, NATO, Afghan, and other US Forces stormed Marjah this last week. My cousin is amongst the Marines serving with battalion 3/6. Semper Fi, Ryan. After using the “Shredders”, the Assault Breacher Vehicles, to clear the lane to the city, they encountered little resistance. Just before they shipped out, I told my cousin I predicted that the Taliban would run. But what comes next?The U.S. led coalition forces have encountered sporadic resistance within the ghost town of Marjah, and haven’t found the “uncountable” IEDs that Taliban leaders have spoken of in their press releases. They have discovered a significant number of IED caches of ready to be deployed weapons, however. The Taliban had plenty of warning that coalition forces were going to storm Marjah, so why weren’t they more prepared?
I argue that this is exactly what the Taliban are known for. When I fought in Afghanistan five years ago, the Taliban would flee with ease every time a Marine unit came out in force. It was only when we were isolated and low in numbers that they would attack in strength. There have been numerous insurgent-like attacks, with Taliban fighters firing their weapons at coalition forces, then disappearing int the crowds, but no showdown like the world was expecting (wrongly, I might add).
So what’s next for the Taliban? This war will continue as it has, and the Taliban will continue to survive in the face of overwhelming firepower like they have been. What we have now is a disrupted command and control structure in southern Afghanistan, as well as severely disrupted supply lines. The Taliban will run and hide, for now. They fled Marjah, and in the next coming months, watch for a reorganization of Taliban forces, then increasing numbers of insurgent style attacks in the warmer months.
In other news, a joint C.I.A. and Pakistan operation nabbed the number 2 Taliban commander in Pakistan earlier this week. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was the most significant Afghan Taliban figure to be detained since the war started eight years ago. He is ranked second only to Mullah Omar, and was a close associate of Osama Bin Laden’s before the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
There’s a chance that this capture, along with the success in Marjah, could cripple Taliban command for an uncertain duration. It’s now time to exploit the victories achieved recently, and pursue and eliminate as many Taliban as possible before the turnover date established by President Obama.