Here We Go Again
From the International Herald Tribune......
Taliban fighters take over several
Hundreds of Taliban fighters invaded villages just outside Afghanistan's second-largest city Monday, forcing NATO and Afghan troops to rush in while frightened residents fled.
The Taliban assault on the outskirts of Kandahar is the latest display of prowess by the militants despite a record number of U.S. and NATO troops in the country.
The push into the Arghandab district — a lush region filled with grape and pomegranate groves that the Soviet army could never conquer — comes three days after a Taliban attack on Kandahar's prison that freed 400 insurgent fighters.
Those fighters, NATO conceded Monday, appear to be massing on the doorstep of the Taliban's former power base. The city of Kandahar lies only 10 miles to the southeast.
The sophisticated and successful jailbreak, followed by the movement into Arghandab, is the latest evidence of the Taliban's growing strength. The U.S. and NATO have pleaded for more troops in the last year and now have 65,000 in the country. But the militants are still finding successes the international alliance can't counter.
A large river bisects Arghandab's fertile lands. The east side, closest to Kandahar, is controlled by NATO and Afghan troops, Farooq said. The area to the river's west is now controlled by the Taliban.
"The Taliban told us to leave. They are planting mines everywhere," said Shafiq Khan, who was moving his wife, seven children and brother out of Arghandab in a small truck late Monday. Khan reported that helicopters were patrolling the skies. "The people are scared," he said bycell phone.
Arghandab lies just northwest of Kandahar, and a tribal leader from the region warned that the militants could use the cover from Arghandab's orchards to mount an attack on the city.
"All of Arghandab is made of orchards. The militants can easily hide and easily fight," said Haji Ikramullah Khan. "It's quite close to Kandahar. During the Russian war, the Russians didn't even occupy Arghandab, because when they fought here they suffered big casualties."
Sarah Chayes, who runs a non-governmental organization in Kandahar that makes and sells soap and body oils, said on her Web site that Arghandab "is currently acting as the dike protecting Kandahar from a surge of Taliban presence."
Some learn from others' mistakes.....................
"And Arghandab, as Mullah Naqib proved during the anti-Soviet jihad, is a formidable place for a resistance movement to be based. Once well ensconced there, the Taliban would be nearly impossible to dislodge."
And then, some don't. Submit To Propeller