May 23, 2006
80 Taliban Exit World
In 87 Taliban Killed In Setback For U.S, Dafydd pointed out how AP often portrays our victories as defeats in disguise. Perhaps they've been reading Big Lizards -- here is the headline from today’s article, “Up to 80 Taliban Dead in U.S.- Led Strike.”
Are they sure “80 Taliban,” not "80 people” or “80 innocent civilians including women, children, and girly-man journalists?”
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) - A U.S.-led nighttime airstrike against Taliban rebels in southern Afghanistan killed up to 80 suspected militants, the coalition said Monday. The local governor said 16 civilians were killed and 16 wounded....
In a statement, the coalition said it had confirmed 20 Taliban killed in the attack on the village in Kandahar province late Sunday and early Monday, while there were "an unconfirmed 60 additional Taliban casualties."
Yep, they are Taliban all right. So aside from the usual confusion between deaths and casualties, that means in the last few days, Afghan soldiers and Coalition forces have killed about 170 bad guys. Not bad.
In an update to the story a little later, Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry upped the ante:
"The Taliban has suffered extraordinary losses in the last three or four weeks - several hundred Taliban killed in the field," he said. "We're the ones that are moving. They're the ones who are trying to hold."
"Several hundred" killed likely means four times as many wounded, many of whom won't make it (due to poor medical care for terrorists hiding in caves). So we have likely taken at least a thousand terrorists out of action in the last month alone.
Of course this being AP, they're not quite willing to admit these events are successes; from the earlier story:
The airstrikes brought the death toll of militants, Afghan forces, coalition soldiers and civilians to as many as 285 since Wednesday, according to coalition and Afghan figures. The storm of violence that erupted last week in the south was among the deadliest combat in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.
I really wish they would stop combining the deaths and casualties of the enemy, us, and random civilians; it muddies the reality.
The Taliban, like all terrorists, love to strike from within civilian areas, using locals as human shields and thinking that Americans will be so squeamish that we won't respond for fear of killing an innocent bystander. Very often, the shields themselves willingly help and protect the terrorists.
Small wonder that up to twenty "civilians" were also killed... though I'm not sure how you define a civilian in a war where the enemy wears no uniform and has no rank or insignia.
Even with the patented AP whirl, however, it's obvious that the recent attempts by the Taliban at creating a "Tet offensive" in Afghanistan were miserable failures. And that is very good news.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, May 23, 2006, at the time of 4:59 AM
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The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray
Just have a little patience. Evidently, the Taliban's request for onsite media coverage has not been ok'ed yet. But it soon will be.
Then you will be seeing pictures of dead and maimed "civilians", including women and children.
Just be patient.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
(sort of) Official AP Policy: The difference between a "civilian" and a "Taliban combatant" is to be decided ex post facto and according to the convenience of the writer or the requirements of the story line.
The following hissed in response by: chsw
May all their virgins look like Yasser Arafat.
The following hissed in response by: Big D
No one is talking about Taliban prisoners...strange.... You'd think the Afghan National Army might have collected a few unless...how shall I say this...they have less patience with the happy holy jihadis than we have?
The following hissed in response by: rich
Mark Steyn is one of my favorite writers and immensely talented and thus I regret I disagree.
Christian Mexicans are culturally a world closer to Americans than Moslem Turks are to Christian Germans or Hindu Indians are to Christian melanesians.
Thus Steyn's comparison is not directly on point.
This will probably be the only time Steyn is off in this century, but he should be given some slack because he was not making his point with humor.
The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman
Palestinian suicide bombers are also counted as civilian casualties.
The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman at May 23, 2006 9:00 PM
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