The Taliban Is Hitting, but Not Winning

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a news conference in Pristina May 21, 2010.

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, New York Times: The point is that in 2010, preventing each and every attack is not the point. Yes, there is an Afghan and NATO offensive in 2010 — but ours is a political offensive, and it is aimed right at the heart of the Taliban.

The aim of this political offensive is, in essence, to change the political conditions in the key strategic areas of Afghanistan, so that the most extreme elements of the insurgency — those that will not under any circumstances give up terrorism and intimidation — are marginalized. Our aim is to ensure that they will not have the political support that they would need to pose a strategic challenge to the Afghan government — after which they will wither on the vine. …

There will be no D-Day in Kandahar. Our effort there is a combined Afghan and international civil-military campaign to change the political situation, to gradually enhance security, to strengthen governance and to expand the government’s authority in key areas of insurgent influence.

It is slower than a military assault. It is not visible in the same way as an attack on an air base or a suicide attack in downtown Kabul. And it will take time. …

But slowly and surely, the Afghan government will continue to get stronger and more legitimate in the eyes of its people. More and more Afghans will turn away from the Taliban. And Afghanistan will become a place where terrorism can find no home, no safe haven, no launching pad and no inspiration.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen is secretary general of NATO.  (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%205%2025%2010%20SecGenl%20Anders%20Fogh%20Rasmussen.jpg