Michael's Dispatches

Good Report from Afghanistan

21 June 2012

Reports come in daily from the military in Afghanistan.  Many have good news, but subsequent the MEDEVAC deceptions from the Army, I do not trust the current bunch and so do not bother publishing.  Yesterday, I asked Shem Klimiuk, an old Afghan hand from Australia (now in Kabul), if there is any truth to these reports.  Mr. Klimiuk responds using data from Indicium Consulting:

(Note: Today I asked Marine Lieutenant Colonel in Helmand Province if he believes Indicium to be accurate on this. "Yes.")

Despite signs that the Taliban’s influence is spreading throughout Afghanistan, international military efforts over the last 12 months have not been fruitless, as changes on the battlefield are becoming visible.  This can mainly be attributed to prolonged ISAF/ANSF operations against the Taliban’s (and other anti-government elements) logistic chains and, more importantly, their mid-level commanders.  These commanders, with their years of tactical experience, are crucial to the Taliban’s battlefield strategies, and their loss has significantly affected the Taliban's ability to continue the same level of intensity and effectiveness that characterized their campaigns from 2009-2011.

The number of coalition-led operations increased significantly in autumn of 2011, particularly in the Southern Region (Helmand & Kandahar Provinces) and the Southeastern Region (Khost, Paktya and Paktika Provinces).   The outcomes of these operations are best illustrated by the current situation in Helmand Province; due to aggressive coalition-led operations, TB/AGE [Taliban/Anti-Government Element] cells in the province have been unable to conduct large-scale operations since September 2011.

Although coalition operations have diminished somewhat in Helmand, TB/AGE cells have not been able to recover their operational momentum. Similar trends can be observed in the rest of the Southern Region and in the Southeastern Regions.  In contrast to the past trends, to gain any significant success, Taliban now rely heavily on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Suicide Attacks, and the occasional Complex "Spectacular" Attack, which are defined by their use of suicide attackers equipped with small arms and direct fire support weapons to breach and exploit high-profile government and military installations.

However, the TB’s ability to execute these Spectacular Attacks, especially in Kabul, has diminished since 2011, due to intensive coalition-led operations in the Southeast that targeted Haqqani Network (HN) cells who were responsible for much of the planning, organizing, training, and recruiting of the fighters used in the attacks.  TB will continue to use these high-profile Spectacular Attacks because of their propaganda value; although they are usually tactically unsuccessful, the attacks allow the TB to spread a false perception that their strength and organizational abilities are better than they really are.

The following is a basic 2011/2012 (up to June 17th) comparison of countrywide Taliban/Anti-Government Element Attacks and represents the total number of Taliban/Anti-Government Element (TB/AGE) incidents (includes all types of attacks, intimidation, abductions, extrajudicial killings, and assassinations):

TOTAL Taliban/Anti-Government Element (TB/AGE) incidents(Includes all types of attacks, intimidation, abductions, extrajudicial killings & assassinations):

2011: 10103 - 2012: 5198  A decrease of 41%

IEDs Total:  2011: 5133 - 2012: 2269  A decrease of 55%

Successful IEDs:  2011: 1789 - 2012: 889  A decrease of 50%

Failed IED Attempts:  2011:  3344 - 2012: 2269  A decrease of 32%

Direct Attacks:  2011:  3510 - 2012:  1787  A decrease of 41%

IEDs vs. Total No. of TB/AGE incidents:

2011:  IEDs made up 50% of all incidents

2012:  IEDs made up 43% of all incidents


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