Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things are heating up for the Taliban

As US Forces move into the south of Afghanistan, Brigadier General Jonathan Vance says, the Taliban-led insurgency is in "disarray." At a recent press conference at Khandar Airfield, Vance, commander of Canada's joint task force Kandahar had this to say.

"Yes, there are times when we take killed or wounded in action, but it pales in comparison to the killed and wounded that the insurgency has taken when facing us. Part of the reason for their disarray is that much of their leadership has been eradicated,"

Since February 2008, the security situation in Kandahar has improved according to polls and informal sources.

This comes amidst a growing number attacks against ISAF troops. Effective roadside bomb attacks on coalition forces - those that kill or injure - have more than tripled over the past two years and have set monthly records for the past four months, according to the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization.

Last month, 23 coalition troops were killed - among them two Canadians - while a third Canadian died this month of injuries sustained in a June explosion. More British soldiers have now died in Afghanistan than have in Iraq.

Several other Canadian soldiers were wounded in June, although the Canadian military refuses to provide statistics.

Brig-Gen Vance said the higher casualty figures reflect the fact that coalition forces are taking the battle into Taliban strongholds in unprecedented numbers.

"They are going to places where the insurgency hasn't been attacked in force before and in the process of doing that, your soldiers get hurt and killed - at a rate far lower, I might add, than the Taliban."

"IEDs are dangerous," Vance said. "I'm not downplaying the fact that the insurgency has used them to effect against us. I hate IEDs. But it's not going to stop us."

One of Brig-Gen Vance's bodyguards was killed a few weeks ago by an IED while the general was visiting his troops in the field which he often does.

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