- In less than a week, Taliban fighters have been swept
from most of northern Afghanistan, including the key cities of
Herat, Kunduz, Taloqan, Bamiyan, Jalalabad and the capital Kabul. How did
a force that only two months ago controlled most of Afghanistan get swept
from the battlefield so quickly, and is the battle over? Evidence suggests
it has only just begun.
- Northern Alliance troops moved into Kabul on Nov. 13,
less than a week after launching an offensive that has swept the Taliban
from most of northern Afghanistan.
- The Northern Alliance now controls the key cities of
Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kunduz and Taloqan, all located astride vital supply
routes into neighboring countries. Popular uprisings have reportedly ousted
the Taliban from Bamiyan and Jalalabad, and there are even reports of
Pushtun forces marching on Kandahar. On the surface it appears a lightning
offensive by the Northern Alliance -- supported by U.S. aerial bombardment
-- has shattered the Taliban army in a matter of days. But has the Taliban
been defeated? An examination of the Taliban withdrawal suggests the group
has intentionally surrendered territory in the interest of adopting tactics
more amenable to its strengths.
- If the United States and its allies misread the Taliban
withdrawal as a rout, they could quickly find themselves locked in a nasty
guerrilla war in Afghanistan. Worse, that war is likely to spread beyond
Afghanistan's borders, as the core of Taliban and al Qaeda forces in that
country seek to secure their supply lines and capitalize on their strengths
and their opponents' weaknesses.
Site Served by TheHostPros