Loving Language

by Joshua Foust on 2/8/2010 · 1 comment

The Christian Science Monitor:

Since being deployed here six months ago, the United States Army company (1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment) has been pushing due west of the provincial capital, Kandahar, into what foreign forces call the “heart of darkness.” Zhari district – a patchwork of irrigation ditches, grape fields, and tightly packed mud compounds – is not only ideal guerrilla territory but also an area of enormous symbolic importance. Four miles west of Charlie Company’s patrol route lies the village mosque where one-eyed cleric-turned-Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar preached in the 1990s.

Like other infantry battalions fanned out from Kandahar, home to 800,000 people, these soldiers are carrying out Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategy of blocking Taliban fighters from civilians whom they hide among and intimidate.


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Taliban fighters plan to disguise themselves as civilians during a looming NATO offensive in southern Afghanistan, a militant commander told NBC News.

“What, they will walk down empty streets?” the militant leader asked. “They (U.S. and coalition troops) will come in and announce that they have conquered the area. We will let them come in. They are welcome.

“They will ask, ‘Are there any Taliban in the area?’ We will say, ‘Yes, but they have left’,” the Taliban leader added.

“We will not fight them face-to-face,” he said. “We will shake their hands, as civilians. Then they will leave.”

Fox News!

Special forces have been infiltrating the town on “kinetic” missions — jargon for armed attacks.

“Special forces guys have been going in on assassination missions with the aim of decapitating the Taliban force,” a military source told the Sunday Times.

At U.S. Marine base Camp Leatherneck and the adjoining British base of Camp Bastion, troops and munitions have been airlifted in by night to avoid enemy rockets.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal said the element of surprise is not as important as letting Marjah’s estimated 80,000 residents know that an Afghan government is on its way to replace Taliban overlords and drug traffickers.

There really isn’t much more to say here, is there? At least we’re finally sort of paying attention to Kandahar.

Subscribe to receive updates from Registan

This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

For information on reproducing this article, see our Terms of Use

{ 1 comment }

M Shannon February 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm

The US must focus on Helmand to avoid losing it’s only major ally that is really signed on for the duration. The province only has importance in that the British Army has not been able to control any of it and risks a repeat of Basra and mounting public pressure in the UK to leave.

Previous post:

Next post: