February 10, 2009

Al Qaeda's Army of Darkness

Hatched by Dafydd

Bill Roggio has a chilling report up at the Long War Journal about the resurgence of the "Shadow Army," comprising elements from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and numerous other terrorist and paramilitary units. It has been allowed to fester not only in Pakistan but in Afghanistan as well; clearly we blundered in trusting NATO units to take on the fight in the latter country:

The Shadow Army is active primarily in Pakistan's tribal areas, the Northwest Frontier Province, and in eastern and southern Afghanistan, several US military and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

The paramilitary force is well trained and equipped, and has successfully defeated the Pakistani Army in multiple engagements. Inside Pakistan, the Shadow Army has been active in successful Taliban campaigns in North and South Waziristan, Bajaur, Peshawar, Khyber, and Swat.

In Afghanistan, the Shadow Army has conducted operations against Coalition and Afghan forces in Kunar, Nuristan, Nangahar, Kabul, Logar, Wardak, Khost, Paktika, Paktia, Zabul, Ghazni, and Kandahar provinces.

"The Shadow Army has been instrumental in the Taliban's consolidation of power in Pakistan's tribal areas and in the Northwest Frontier Province," a senior intelligence official said. "They are also behind the Taliban's successes in eastern and southern Afghanistan. They are helping to pinch Kabul."

We first encountered the Shadow Army, then called Brigade 055, during the 2001 invasion; we destroyed it then, but aQ and the Taliban have resurrected and rebuilt the army until it is at least as good as it was pre-invasion (probably better):

The effectiveness of the Shadow Army can be seen in a video taken by an Al Jazeera reporter during an operation in Loisam in the Bajaur tribal agency in the fall of 2008 [see video at the Long War Journal blogpost]. The Taliban forces drive off a battalion-sized assault from regular Pakistani Army troops that are supported by at least a platoon of tanks. The Pakistani tanks are seen racing away from the fighting, and the Pakistani infantry moving in behind them does the same after taking fire. The reporter describes the Pakistani tank commander as "quite shaken." The tank commander calls for airstrikes to take out the Taliban positions, but the infantry and tanks go into full retreat and return to base after the Taliban counterattacks.

Will our new president have the guts to send those "30,000 American troops" into Afghanistan to fight? Or will they simply mill about to make it appear as though Barack H. Obama is "doing something," but in reality will be about as effective as we were during the hunt for Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Somalia?

I know Obama once talked about invading Pakistan, but that was when it was still our ally. I'm not at all convinced that he would be willing to invade Pakistan if it were taken over by the al-Qaeda/Taliban axis and became our enemy again.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 10, 2009, at the time of 4:02 AM

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» Say, Let's Nuclearize the Taliban! from Big Lizards
Yesterday was a wonderful day in Pakistan... if you're a militant Islamist terrorist, that is. If you're a fan of civilization, however, it's a day of somber reflection for some -- and atonement for others. Yesterday, the craven, new government... [Read More]

Tracked on February 17, 2009 3:51 PM


The following hissed in response by: Geoman

There is always the nuclear option. By that I mean the actual use of nuclear weapons in the tribal areas pf Pakistan, and the unruly areas of Afghanistan.

Alternatively we can get the Chinese to send a million man army in. That might work.

Short of that, how is this ever going to change? My sense is that Alexander the Great had similar problem's with this same wasteland of human existence. No one's been able to rule it for long.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 10, 2009 10:08 AM

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