Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Defending Our Gains

Emboldened by our initial plans to too hastily abandon Afghan security forces to fight on their own, the Taliban are actually continuing their attacks with a first-ever winter offensive:

For the first time the Taliban have apparently launched a cold weather offensive. So far this year there have been about twice as many (from 40 to 80 through mid-November) terror attacks in Kabul compared to previous years. Normally the fighting season encompasses the eight warm months. ...

The Taliban have told their followers and the public that they believe the departure of most foreign troops means all the Taliban have to do is attack the Afghan security forces heavily. This, according to the Taliban, will soon cause the security forces to collapse and enable the Taliban to take over.

Which may explain the president's reversal of his decision to begin the Big Abandon in 2015. While I celebrated the decision, was it made not for strategic reasons but from fear that our old plan didn't buy a decent interval before defeat to avoid having the blame fall on President Obama?

If the Afghan government holds against this Taliban "final offensive," it may be the Taliban who experience a collapse of morale.

Not that such a development should be cause to declare mission accomplished. Remember that we thought we'd won in Iraq at the end of 2011, yet the remnants of our jihadi enemies there revived when we let up.

And don't forget that the Taliban themselves made that error, which we exploited in 2001 after 9/11 by helping the nearly destroyed Northern Alliance drive the Taliban from Kabul and power.

No victory is permanent. That's why our troops still stand in Japan, South Korea, Germany, and Italy. And that's why our troops are needed in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Afghanistan, and Iraq.