The Taliban not only has the â€œmomentumâ€ after the most successful year in its campaign against the United States and the Kabul government. â€œThe Afghan insurgency can sustain itself indefinitely,â€ according to a briefing from Major General Michael Flynn, the top U.S. intelligence officer in the country. â€œThe Taliban retains [the] required partnerships to sustain support, fuel legitimacy and bolster capacity.â€
And if that isnâ€™t enough, Flynn also warns that â€œtime is running outâ€ for the American-led International Security Assistance Force. â€œRegional instability is rapidly increasing and getting worse,â€ the report says.
…But Flynnâ€™s December 23rd presentation on the â€œState of the Insurgency: Trends, Intentions and Objectivesâ€ may be the gloomiest public assessment of the war yet. The â€œloosely organizedâ€ Taliban is â€œgrowing more cohesiveâ€ and â€œincreasingly effective.â€ The insurgents now have their own â€œgovernorsâ€ installed in 33 of Afghanistanâ€™s 34 provinces. And the â€œstrength and ability of [that] shadow governance increasing,â€ according to the presentation. The Talibanâ€™s â€œorganizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding.â€
Improvised bomb â€œeventsâ€ have nearly tripled since 2007 â€” 7228 this year, compared to 2718 two years ago. The bombs have grown bigger â€” the majority are now 25 pounds or more. â€œ80 to 90 percentâ€ of them are made with homemade fertilizer, rather than military ordnance. That makes it much harder to track and block the distribution of the bomb-making material. Add to that steady supply of cash, thanks to the drug trade and the corrupt Kabul government, and a glut of weapons and ammunition,â€ and it becomes clear why, in Flynnâ€™s words, â€œthe insurgency is confidentâ€¦ looking toward post-ISAF Afghanistan.â€
2010-01-09 20:08:24 UTC