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The War in Afghanistan…on different fronts…….

While the Marines have launched a strong military push and media push into Marja , Afghanista…..the CIA has launched another front in Pakistan and Afghansan……by snatching up the heads of the Taliban operations ……..

The Marines are pushing on after a quiet entrance and fierce fighting for the last couple of days….The CIA capture count is up to three and rising…….

The long-term objective will be to hold the ground retaken and try to keep pace with the replacement leadership that filling the vacuum caused by the snatched leaders…..

But the Taliban have been here before and this is their response…….

The full fury of a U.S. military air-ground task force is being unleashed on a small town in southern Afghanistan. Strike jets, helicopter gunships and armed robot drones directed by airborne and satellite sensors tracking enemy movements, and thousands of heavily armed infantrymen are advancing (with a heavy media presence) behind armored trucks and ground-penetrating radar sweeping for IEDs, while rapid-fire artillery rockets whoosh overhead.

Ever since U.S. combat troops descended on Afghanistan in October 2001, the Taliban fighters have been flaunting their ability to fade away when facing this kind of combat power. It seems childishly petulant even to repeat it: insurgents simply don’t fight big modern armies head-on. They disappear, only to pop up later at a time and place of their own choosing.

Now, just 48 hours after the battle for the southern Afghanistan market town of Marja was launched, military commanders are confirming that many of the Taliban fighters who had made Marja a base of operations had slipped away during the weeks that U.S. forces were loudly preparing the assault and freely broadcasting its location and purpose. A senior officer told me this morning that the Taliban leadership had “bugged out,” leaving behind 100 to 150 fighters with orders to fight and die in place. “And they are,” this officer reported. As in previous battles, the Taliban are fighting from compounds jammed with families, and there have been resultant civilian casualties. Given all this, it was odd to hear a British military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Gordon Messenger, assert that the goal of “surprising the Taliban” seemed to have been met. His evidence: “The Taliban have not been able to put up a coherent response. They appear confused and disorientated.”

The CIA front has been sucessful in two ways…..tracking down and making caputures…and working both governmenets to do so…..

The reported capture of Mullah Abdul Salam follows word of the recent arrest, also in Pakistan, of the Taliban’s No. 2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, whose influence was described as second only to the movement’s spiritual leader and supreme commander, Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Salam, the shadow governor of Kunduz province in Afghanistan’s north, was arrested earlier this month, according to the officially appointed governor of Kunduz, Mohammed Omar. He said he was informed of the capture by intelligence officials.

“This is a big blow for the Taliban here,” Omar said.

It was not immediately known whether Salam’s arrest was related to that of Baradar, but Taliban shadow governors, who are usually senior commanders, are thought to travel regularly to Pakistan for consultations with the movement’s leadership, known as the Quetta shura.

Omar said he was told that a deputy of Salam’s, Mullah Mohammed, was arrested along with him. Some previous reports have identified Mullah Mohammed as the shadow governor of neighboring Baghlan province.

Taliban shadow governments sprang up across Afghanistan after the movement was driven from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion. By late last year, according to a Western intelligence official, there were shadow governments in all but two of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

One would think that these actions are no coincidence coming from the CIA…… after the Taliban attack on the CIA info  center last month ……that resulted in seven of their members being taken out……

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , | 2 Comments

First in Marja, Aftghanistan…. with Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines……

The helicopters landed before dawn Saturday in a poppy field beside a row of mud-walled compounds. The Marines ran into the darkness and crouched through the rotor-whipped dust as their aircraft lifted away.

For the Marines of Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, the assault into the last large Taliban stronghold in Helmand Province was beginning. For almost all of them, this was to be their first taste of war. And an afternoon of small-arms combat was ahead.

But at first, these Marines, the vanguard for 6,000 NATO and Afghan troops streaming in to loosen the Taliban’s grip here permanently, met no resistance.

On the last miles of the ride in, the Marines were silent as the aircraft flew 200 feet above freshly sprouting fields. Irrigation canals glittered beneath the portholes, rolling past fast.

They did not know what to expect, beyond the fact that at least hundreds of insurgents were waiting for them, and that many would fight to keep their hold on this opium-poppy production center.

Company K is part of what many Marines call a surge battalion, one of the units assigned to Afghanistan after President Obama decided last year to increase the American troop level on the ground. It arrived in Afghanistan a month ago, and had waited for this moment. Its introduction to the war was a crash course.

As helicopter wheels touched soil, the aircraft filled with whoops, and the Marines stood and bolted for the tail ramp.

They moved briskly. Within minutes, the first Marines of Third Platoon were entering compounds to the landing zone’s north, checking for enemy fighters and booby traps. The rest of the platoon followed through the gate.

Sergeants and corporals urged a steady pace. “Go! Go! Go!” they said, spicing instructions with foul words. By 3 a.m., Company K had its toehold.

For more on their move to their other objectives and their first combat engagements…..

Welcome to real war Company K……….

February 13, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Marines and Afghan Army begin a major push against the Taliban at Marja……

Thousands of U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers traveling in helicopters and mine-resistant vehicles began punching into a key Taliban stronghold in southernAfghanistan early Saturday, as the largest military operation since 2001 to assert government control over this country got underway.

The first wave of Marines and Afghan soldiers swooped into the farming community of Marja about 2 a.m. Saturday local time (4:30 p.m. Eastern), their CH-53 Super Stallion transport helicopters landing amid clouds of dust on fallow fields. As the troops, weighed down with ammunition and supplies, lumbered out and set up defensive positions, AV-8B Harrier fighter jets and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters circled overhead in the moonless sky.

Two more waves of troops touched down over the following 90 minutes near other strategic locations in Marja. Like the earlier contingent, they did not meet with immediate resistance.

Map shows location of U.S. offensive against the Taliban in Marja, Nad Ali District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

At sunrise, hundreds more Marines and Afghan soldiers plan to enter the area by land, using mobile bridges to ford irrigation canals —built by U.S. engineers more than 50 years ago — that have served as defensive moats for the Taliban. Heavily armored mine-sweeping trucks and specially outfitted tanks will work to carve a path through a belt of makeshift bombs buried around the town.

The Marines entering Marja are with some of the first new military units to arrive in Afghanistan as a result of President Obama’s decision in December to authorize the deployment of 30,000 additional troops to combat a growing insurgency. The operation is intended to deprive the Taliban of a haven in Helmand province, which military intelligence officials say is home to numerous bombmaking facilities and drug-processing labs.

“We’re going to take Marja away from the Taliban,” said Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Doing so, he said, could result in “a fundamental change in Helmand and, by extension, the entire nation of Afghanistan.”

The question will be ….like in Iraq…can they hold the ground after taking it….and can they get the locals to feel secure enough to resist the Taliban…..

February 12, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Automobiles, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Updates | , , , | 2 Comments