- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Payoff seen in Afghan surge
Taliban demoralized and changing sides, military says
Question of the Day
The U.S. military is starting to see signs that the troop surge in Afghanistan is working on a timetable similar to the Iraq reinforcement campaign in 2007, according to an outside adviser and military sources.
“There are already some early signs of a beginning of a momentum shift in our favor,” retired Army Gen. Jack Keane told The Washington Times.
Gen. Keane just returned from a two-week tour of the battlefield, where the focus is on ousting the Taliban from Kandahar, its birthplace, as well as from Helmand province and other southern and eastern areas.
Gen. Keane reported his findings to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Kabul, who saw the surge of 30,000 troops completed in August, placing about 100,000 American service members in country.
Gen. Keane told The Times he has witnessed in Afghanistan the same shift in fortunes: Taliban fighters are changing sides, villages are being cleansed of the enemy and protected, and intercepted communications show flagging Taliban morale.
“Overall, we can see now that the surge forces are starting to make a difference,” he said. “And you have to be encouraged by some of the progress that’s being made. All that said, we’re in a tough fight, and I believe we will continue to gain momentum.”
Gen. Keane offered two observations as evidence. First, most commanders with whom he spoke said they are encountering Taliban who want to stop fighting and reintegrate into Afghan society. “That’s a big deal,” he said.
Second, “There’s evidence of erosion of some of the will of the Taliban. We pick it up in interrogations, and we also pick it up listening to their radio traffic and telephone calls in terms of the morale problems they’re starting to have,” Gen. Keane said.
“The Taliban are not anxious to engage us, because we come after them once they start shooting at us,” the officer told The Times on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. “One of the translations I saw came out as ‘Marines are insane.’ So, maybe that means that little by little things are getting better.”
Gen. Keane said the drop in Taliban morale can be traced to soldiers and Marines going after hillside hamlets and safe havens. The Taliban has thrived in such areas, where they regroup, plan raids and store ammunition.
“What is happening is, the Taliban’s freedom of movement,” he said. “We are literally taking away from them things they are used to. We are denying them some of the safe havens that they have in the south. We are denying them the support zones they’ve been operating out of with impunity.
“Support zones are up in the mountains, where they use villagers to help hide their weapons caches. Safe havens are up there, too, usually away from everybody, and we are denying them the use of those. We are interdicting and disrupting their operating areas, which had a tendency to focus on the roads quite a bit, and we’re interdicting what they’re doing there.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- Latest Obama claim: I don't learn anything from the news
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq