US AND PAKISTAN TROOPS WORKING TOGETHER IN BORDER REGION
From a recent Vanity Fair story by Sebastian Junger :
By all measures the situation in Afghanistan may be skidding dangerously off the rails. American military deaths in the past year—nearly a hundred—almost equal those for the three preceding years combined.
According to a recent internal report for the American Special Forces, opium production has gone from 74 metric tons a year under the Taliban to an astronomical 3,600 metric tons, an amount which is equal to 90 percent of the world's supply. The profit from Afghanistan's drug trade—roughly $2 billion a year—competes with the amount of international aid flowing into the country and helps fund the insurgency.
And assassinations and suicide bombings have suddenly taken hold in parts of Afghanistan, leading people to fear that the country is headed toward Iraq-style anarchy.
....the Taliban adopted a strategy of avoiding pitched battles and relying instead on a campaign of civil terror. The logic is brutal but sound: since the public wouldn't support the Taliban willingly, it would have to be terrorized into it.
If enough people were terrorized into quitting their jobs, the government would cease functioning. If the government ceased functioning, the economy would suffer, and it would be that much easier to hire unemployed young men to fight the Americans. And if you threw enough of those young men into battle, eventually the Americans would leave.
The whole story is worth a read and there's some interesting information about the activities of Pakistan military, and militants, in Afghanistan, and their ties with the Taleban and Al Qeada.
OPERATION MOUNTAIN LION SIGNALS MASSIVE US PUSH TOWARDS PAKISTAN BORDER
'Operation Mountain Lion', a massive US-thrust military operation has been unfolding over the past two weeks in East Afghanistan. More than 1200 Afghan troops are said to be leading the operations, but they are solidly backed by US soldiers and equipment.
At least six militants are claimed to have been killed, so far, with eight captured.
Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said the operation "would continue till the complete elimination of terrorists in the region." Azimi said at a press briefing, according to Xinhua.
'Mountain Lion' is pushing US troops ever closer to the border of Pakistan, with most of the fighting taking place in the rugged mountain regions where thousands of Taleban fighteres are believed to be hiding out.US AND PAKISTAN TROOPS TO CONDUCT "MILITARY EXERCISE"
Pakistan and U.S. troops will conduct a joint military exercise in the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border region, the U.S. military said Monday, amid concerns over militant infiltration and poor co-ordination between the two Asian neighbours.
The operation, to be called Inspired Gambit, will be an "air assault exercise" involving a small contingent of Afghan soldiers and an unspecified number of Pakistani troops, U.S. military spokesman Col. Laurent Fox said during a press conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
"We feel that it is important that the only way we will solve the terrorism and insurgency problem is to work closely together with each other," Fox said.TALEBAN FIGHTERS ARE PLANNING TO TARGET AND KILL BRITISH TROOPS NOW STARTING TOUR
A local Taleban commander in Helmand, one of the country's most volatile provinces, called the British "an old enemy of Afghanistan".
More than 3300 UK soldiers are now in Afghanistan, and UK Defence Secretary, John Reid, admitted the soldiers faced "massive risks".
Although the troops are in country to "help reconstruction efforts", Reid told the BBC they would, if necessary, adopt the recently announced US pre-emptive strike policy on insurgents and terrorists, which means UK forces will seek to hunt down and kill Taleban and Al Qeada fighters in order to rpevent the Taleban from regaining power.British forces to remain in Afghanistan for at least three more years.