Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shh! Don't Tell Them We're Losing

It seems that the periodic claims we are losing in Afghanistan are getting sharper these days. Perhaps despair over the growing view that we won't lose in Iraq is sending some looking for another war to lose.

Regardless, please don't let these unhappy Taliban read that we are losing in Afghanistan:

The Daily Telegraph has learned that the Afghan government hopes to seal the deal this week with Mullah Abdul Salaam and his Alizai tribe, which has been fighting alongside the Taliban in Helmand province.

Diplomats confirmed yesterday that Mullah Salaam was expected to change sides within days. He is a former Taliban corps commander and governor of Herat province under the government that fell in 2001.

Military sources said British forces in the province are "observing with interest" the potential deal in north Helmand, which echoes the efforts of US commanders in Iraq's western province to split Sunni tribal leaders from their al-Qa'eda allies.

The Afghan deal would see members of the Alizai tribe around the Taliban-held town of Musa Qala quit the insurgency and pledge support to the Afghan government. It would be the first time that the Kabul government and its Western allies have been able exploit tribal divisions that exist within the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

The will to lose is strong among some. But not, I trust, among the hardened tribal leaders of the Alizai tribe.