Tuesday, December 28, 2010

News on the Haqqani's and the border

The drone strikes and special operations raids against the Haqqani Network might be paying off. A large majority of the drone strikes this year and the last several months in particular have been occurring in North Wazirstan around the Miranshah/Mir Ali area that is controlled by the Haqqanis. While these attacks have netted some high value targets it has played havoc on their foot soldiers who are being hit in their vehicles and homes. The New York times has an article about the slow down of the Haqqanis and how they have not launched a major attack in Kabul in over seven months. I wrote this for "The Captain's Journal" a month or so ago:

The Haqqanis are one of if not the most dangerous groups fighting against the Afghan government and NATO this maybe a focused attempt to degrade them in their home territory to try to get them to the negotiating table. The Haqqanis launched several attacks against U.S. bases in Afghanistan during the time period of this study and got the worst of it on every occasion. The group even failed to overrun a small Afghan outpost right on the border due to U.S. firepower. During the time of this study the U.S. launched two hot pursuit attacks inside of the FATA killing over 50 Haqqani fighters. These attacks were strongly condemned by Pakistan who cut off NATO supply routes for several days. The Haqqanis are regarded as “good” Taliban by the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI). Overtly hitting one of the ISI’s favored groups is what may have prompted the stoppage of NATO supplies more than the violation of Pakistani airspace.

It seems my analysis might have been right on the money on this one. The Haqqanis might only be able to take so much pressure since they come from a small tribe. Even with the help of foreign fighters a unit can only take so much abuse before its operations become degraded.

Insurgent group cooperation has been happening on a tactical level for some time even if the leadership does not get along. This also happens in the Jihad culture as Shiite Hezbollah has added Sunni groups and vice versa since the rise of Islamic terror after the Iranian revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The New York Times again scores how this seems to be happening more and more along the Af/Pak border and in Afghanistan itself.

To quote a British officer NATO and Afghan troops have been killing Taliban groups in an industrial way over the last few months. The Marines and the 101st Airborne have been in a nasty fight for the last several months with both units suffering many casualties. The information I have has the Marines losing 10 so far this month while killing a confirmed 100 Taliban and I am sure the 101st is doing similar good works. The Taliban however will move to where there is less pressure and if the Afghan government cannot provide services to the cleared areas the fighting will have been for naught.

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