The Uncertain "Metrics" of Afghanistan (and Iraq)
May 18, 2007
Afghanistan is scarcely a “forgotten war” but has never received the same level of attention as the fighting in Iraq, and -- when things seem to go well in Afghanistan -- it receives even less. By some standards, things are going well. NATO – or at least Canada, the UK, and US – are on the offensive, and not the Taliban. There so far has been little evidence of the kind of major offensive the Taliban launched in the spring of 2006, and casualties have been relatively limited.
The top command of the Taliban has also taken some serious – if largely symbolic – losses. Mullah Dadullah Lang, the Taliban's best-known military commander, was killed in fighting in Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan on May 14th. He was the third key Taliban leader to be taken down in the last six months: Mullah Osmani was killed in an air strike in late 2006, and Mullah Obaidulla, the number three official in the Taliban and its and defense minister, was taken down several months earlier in Pakistan.