As things wind down in the Iraq victory, it’s time to focus on the other current battlefield in the war against Islamofascism.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s southern rim, the Taliban’s spiritual birthplace and the country’s most violent region, has for the last two years been the domain of British, Canadian and Dutch soldiers.
That’s about to change.
In what amounts to an Afghan version of the surge in Iraq, the U.S. is preparing to pour at least 20,000 extra troops into the south, augmenting 12,500 NATO soldiers who have proved too few to cope with a Taliban insurgency that is fiercer than NATO leaders expected.
New construction at Kandahar Air Field foreshadows the upcoming infusion of American power. Runways and housing are being built, along with two new U.S. outposts in Taliban-held regions of Kandahar province.
And in the past month the south has been the focus of visiting U.S. and other dignitaries — Sen. John McCain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, U.S. congressional delegations and leaders from NATO headquarters in Europe.
For the first time since NATO took over the country in 2006, an experienced U.S. general, Brig. Gen. John Nicholson, is assigned to the south.
He says U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, NATO’s commander in Afghanistan, has made the objectives clear in calling the situation in the south a stalemate and asking for more troops, on top of the 32,000 Americans already in Afghanistan.
“By introducing more U.S. capability in here we have the potential to change the game,” Nicholson said.
The Army Corps of Engineers will spend up to $1.3 billion in new construction for troop placements in southern Afghanistan, said the corps commander in Afghanistan, Col. Thomas O’Donovan.
Violence in Afghanistan has spiked in the last two years, and Taliban militants now control wide swaths of countryside. Military officials say they have enough troops to win battles but not to hold territory, and they hope the influx of troops, plus the continued growth of the Afghan army, will change that.
U.S. officials hope to add at least three new brigades of ground forces in the southern region, along with assets from an aviation brigade, surveillance and intelligence forces, engineers, military police and Special Forces. In addition, a separate brigade of new troops is deploying to two provinces surrounding Kabul.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that Afghanistan could get up to 30,000 new U.S. troops in 2009, depending on the security situation in Iraq. Col. Greg Julian, a U.S. military spokesman, said Monday that one ground brigade should arrive by spring, a second by summer and a third by fall.
Thanks to Pakistan, the Taliban fucksticks have been able to scoot back and forth across its border, unimpeded.
It probably won’t happen until B. Hussein Obama is out of office in 2012, but mark my words, once we push the Islamic terrorists out of Afghanistan, we will have to take aggressive measures against their protected status in Pakistan.