300 N. Washington St.
Suite B-100
Alexandria, VA 22314
info@globalsecurity.org

GlobalSecurity.org In the News




The New York Post November 13, 2001

DON'T CHALK UP A VICTORY JUST YET

By Niles Lathem

WASHINGTON - Despite the spectacular success of the Pentagon's "northern strategy" in the last 48 hours, the war in Afghanistan is far from over, military analysts warned last night. Although badly hammered by relentless U.S. airstrikes and humiliated by its losses in Mazar-e-Sharif and the front lines north of Kabul, experts say the Taliban remains an effective fighting force that appears to be regrouping in southern areas, where it enjoys widespread support.

The Taliban are preparing to wage the kind of guerrilla warfare it is most comfortable fighting. "Remember, for nine years in the 1980s, the Soviets had control of Afghanistan's cities but they were unable to defeat the Afghan rebels in the mountains," said John Pike, head of Globalsecurity.org a Washington think tank.

Peter Singer, a former Pentagon official, added, "The Northern Alliance is already outnumbered by the Taliban and has just dramatically increased the size of the territory it must hold. So it is stretched thin and still vulnerable to counterattacks. And, even if it were to take Kabul, it is doubtful the Northern Alliance can move any further to the south."

But the dramatic successes of the last 48 hours have paved the way for the Bush administration to step up military and political pressure on the Taliban.

Pentagon officials say plans are under way to use military bases in Tajikistan, as well as the recently captured Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Bagram, as staging areas for supply and commando operations, in addition to helicopter assaults and strikes from F-15 fighters and A-10 Warthog attack jets. Officials are hoping that the successes of the alliance will lead to the formation of a "Southern Alliance" critical to the success of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Until now, efforts by the CIA to convince fence-sitting ethnic Pashtun warlords to abandon their support of the Taliban have been less than successful. The hesitant start to the war, the capture and execution of Pashtun rebel leader Abdul Huq, and the deep reliance on the largely ethnic Uzbek and Tajik Northern Alliance have kept the Pashtun tribal leaders away from the U.S. side of the fence so far.

But in the past 48 hours, pro-Taliban warlords have relinquished control of key strategic cities, creating what U.S. officials hope will be a domino effect in the south in which Pashtun leaders see the inevitability of an American victory and move to cut the best deal they can, undermining the Taliban's military and political power. U.S. officials also hope that as the tide turns against the Taliban, there will be fewer places for Osama bin Laden to hide.


Copyright 2001 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.