Failed Taliban Offensive; Tet Redux: Media Overlooks Coalition Victories

Article excerpt


When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, it's easy for the insurgents to make headlines, even when their attacks meet with total failure. On May 8, the Taliban launched a major attack on Afghan government targets in the insurgent's spiritual capital of Kandahar. Press reports called it a vengeance attack for the killing of Osama bin Laden a week earlier. Time magazine forebodingly compared it to the 1968 Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. The general tone of the coverage was thick with knowing dread.

The outcome of the attacks was far from the doom presaged in the press. All of the Taliban involved in the Kandahar attack were either captured or killed, a military source with detailed knowledge of the offensive told The Washington Times. Needless to say, not the greatest start to their vaunted spring offensive. In late April, the insurgents announced the offensive would begin on May 1, but the heroin poppy season was not over and the leadership may have been preoccupied with what our source euphemistically called revenue-enhancing activities. The most significant event on May 1 was when the Pakistan-based Haqqani terrorist network sent a 12-year-old boy wearing a suicide vest into a marketplace in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven civilians and wounding 34, including women and children.

The promised large-scale offensive didn't materialize on the date promised, and throughout the week, that sector was relatively quiet. This was no accident. According to the International Security Assistance Force, the ground for the Taliban defeat had been well prepared. …