I write this from my beautiful green garden in Kabul, which has changed so much as to be almost unrecognizable. We now have aubergine, mint, coriander, roses, grapes and mulberries growing, along with a lot of other stuff that I’m sure is edible but don’t know the names of.
As always, there’s lots happening in Afghanistan, just not really in Kabul (again, as always). There’s a big fight looming in Kandahar’s Arghandab district between Canadian troops (+ Afghan National Army) and Taliban forces. I gather a lot of bombing going on in the meanwhile. Afghan Defence Minister already has reported fatalities among Afghan troops – 300 extra soldiers were sent down on Monday specifically for this engagement.
A suicide-bomber killed 3 in the western Farah province, a roadside bomb killed 4 Afghan police and injured 2 others in Khost province to the south-east, while the Times of India reported that Pakistani Taliban had seized 3 US military helicopters while they were being shipped in a dismantled state from Peshawar to Jalalabad. Apparently one of them has already been sold and been shipped to Afghanistan.
This article, however, begins with the problem that I think is going to cause the biggest headache for Canadians/ANA trying to ‘retake’ Arghandab from the Taliban.
“Afghan and Canadian forces attempted to cross a river and take out a contingent of Taliban fighters who were entrenched Wednesday just outside Afghanistan’s second-largest city. The Taliban were hidden in thick forest across the river while the Afghan army and a small group of Canadians mentoring them strayed out into the open as they crossed the river. Helicopters dropped smokescreens to provide cover for the coalition forces — who came under insurgent fire.”
I was at that exact spot in February this year and my good friend and experienced ex-mujahid (himself a resident of Arghandab) explained how the geography/vegetation (and layout of said vegetation) of the district was one of the main reasons for the Soviets’ failure to take Arghandab – and believe me, they tried.
I’ll be down there in a couple of days to take a look for myself.