- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
This is going to be a big one. Hit those fuckers with every thing we have.
Good luck and stay safe Brothers!
Good luck and stay safe Brothers!
Taliban fighters take villages near Kandahar after jailbreak
NATO and Afghan troops redeploying amid fears of attacks on city
Last Updated: Monday, June 16, 2008 | 10:19 PM ET Comments164Recommend54
Wrecked vehicles sit outside Kandahar's Sarposa prison, which Taliban militants attacked Friday. (CBC)
Hundreds of Taliban fighters took over several villages near Kandahar Monday, prompting fears of an attack on the city and the redeployment of NATO and Afghan forces to meet the threat.
Mohammad Farooq, the government leader in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, said around 500 Taliban fighters moved into his district just past nightfall and were holding at least three villages.
Arghandab lies about 15 kilometres north of Kandahar — the Taliban's former stronghold — and a tribal leader from the region warned that the militants could use the cover from Arghandab's grape and pomegranate orchards to attack the city itself.
"It's quite close to Kandahar," Haji Ikramullah Khan told the Associated Press. "During the Russian war, the Russians didn't even occupy Arghandab because when they fought here [in the 1980s] they suffered big casualties."
Most of Canada's 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan are based at Kandahar Airfield.
The Taliban push into Arghandab comes three days after a sophisticated attack by insurgents on Kandahar's Sarposa prison that freed hundreds of insurgent fighters.
NATO sends troops
NATO spokesman Mark Laity said alliance and Afghan military officials were redeploying troops to the region to "meet any potential threats."
"It's fair to say that the jailbreak has put a lot of people into circulation who weren't there before, and so obviously you're going to respond to that potential threat," he said.
CBC's Paul Hunter, who is covering Canadian operations at the airfield, said fears are growing of a Taliban push into Kandahar city from the captured villages, as the insurgents attempted during a large battle with NATO troops last October.
"At the time, Canadian and U.S. forces said they had won a decisive victory," Hunter said. "It was a crazy battle lasting three or four days. Then it was about 300 Taliban. Now there are 500 and here we go again."
Wali Karzai, president of the Kandahar provincial council and brother of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, raised similar concerns in an interview Monday with the Canadian Press.
"There are also strong rumours that they will attack Kandahar city at certain strategic points. My house, the governor's house [and] the police station," Wali Karzai said.
"Whenever they get close to Kandahar city, there could be problems. Every one in Kabul is very much concerned," said Karzai.
Tribesmen back Karzai
Also on Monday, hundreds of Afghan tribesmen, elders and clerics gathered in the east of the country in support of President Hamid Karzai's threat to send troops after Taliban militants inside Pakistan, officials said.
Pakistan has reacted strongly to the Afghan president's words, with Afghanistan's envoy in Islamabad summoned to the Pakistani foreign ministry on Monday to provide an explanation of Karzai's statement.
Ghami Mohammad Yar, spokesman for the governor of Paktika province, which borders Pakistan, said several hundred tribesmen had come to the governor's compound to express support for Karzai.
"We are ready to sacrifice, as before, for the protection of our homeland borders," Yar said. Mohammad Akram Akhpelwak, Paktika's governor, said gatherings of support were being held in three other areas of Paktika.
Speaking Sunday in Kabul, Karzai threatened to send Afghan troops to fight notorious Taliban leaders inside Pakistan in an angry warning that he will no longer tolerate cross-border attacks.
The threat — the first time Karzai has said he would send forces into Pakistan — was apparently in response to the Sarposa prison break.
Bush offers U.S. help
Karzai has long pleaded with Pakistan and the international community to do more to establish order in the lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border, which have become safe havens for Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Sadiq, said Monday his office would issue a formal response to Karzai.
"Naturally, we think that he did not use his best judgment by making this statement," he said.
U.S. president George W. Bush offered his country's help to calm tensions along the Afghan-Pakistan border but he also expressed support for Karzai's focus on shutting down tribal safe havens on the frontier.
"That's the policy of Afghanistan, it needs to be the policy of Pakistan," Bush said Monday after talks with British prime minister, Gordon Brown in London.
American troops could help ease the "testy situation," Bush said.
CBC's Hunter says most Afghans support their president's attempt to highlight widespread local beliefs that Taliban militants base themselves in Pakistan and launch cross-border raids, but they aren't be sure that their country can back up Karzai's threats with action.
Roland Paris, an Afghan analyst with the University of Ottawa says the latest developments underline NATO, Afghan and U.S. calls for more control over Pakistani border territory and more action against militants based there.
"It's a porous border, and it's always been a porous border," Paris told CBC News. "And that makes it all the more important to address some of these problems that are inside Pakistan itself, most notably the fact that the Taliban and related forces are primarily based inside Pakistan."
NATO leaders feel Pakistan hasn't been doing enough to address this, Paris says.
Pakistan's new government has recently signed ceasefire agreements with border-based militants to control Taliban violence on its own territory.