Egypt c.bank Governor Tarek Amer to chair World Bank, IMF annual meetings in October    Africa Health ExCon to showcase latest medical innovation through 350 exhibitors    EFG Hermes records net profit of EGP345m in Q1 2022    "Ladies of Egypt" e-campaign launches to help in teleworking system for Egyptian women    Egypt to inaugurate new Sphinx International Airport in mid-July    Turkey's finance minister to visit Egypt for first time in 9 years    Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO alliance    Saudi Arabia prolongs Yemen central bank's deposit    Egypt Knauf launches its first training centre in Egypt    Egypt uncovers official logo for COP27    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Egypt unveils 50 pound coin minted to mark Avenue of Sphinxes grand reopening    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    COVID-19 in Egypt: infections fall to 124 cases last week    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Final target, Kandahar
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 06 - 12 - 2001

Though the military campaign in Afghanistan seems to be drawing to a close, the final push to Kandahar is a war on its own, reports Anayat Durrani from Washington
After nearly two months of US military operations, America's war on terrorism in Afghanistan is nearing its final act. The southern city of Kandahar and its surrounding areas are under heavy siege from American and allied forces and the coalition has continued to step up pressure on remaining Taliban and Al-Qa'eda forces.
"The Special Operations Forces and their close coordination with the opposition groups, our air strikes -- they're all being applied to bring this pressure up to: One, get the leadership, and two, set conditions where others may deliver the leadership to us, or get them themselves," said Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, a Pentagon spokesman on Monday.
Since the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i Sharif fell on 9 November, Al-Qa'eda and Taliban troops have continued to lose ground. The capital city of Kabul and Kunduz have also fallen into opposition control. US and coalition forces are now concentrating on the cities of Kandahar and Jalalabad as the war in Afghanistan enters "dangerous" territory.
"We're entering a very dangerous aspect of this conflict. There is no question about it," said US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "It is a confused situation in the country. The amount of real estate they have to operate on has continually been reduced. The noose is tightening, but the remaining task is a particularly dirty and unpleasant one."
Rumsfeld said that the number of US forces on the ground in Afghanistan is around 1,500 to 2,000. US forces have been working with opposition leaders to capture senior Taliban and Al-Qa'eda leaders. Late on Sunday, allied forces bombed the Kandahar area, targeting the airport east of the city. Two bridges leading out of Kandahar were destroyed on Monday in an effort to cut off the Taliban. US Marines may join opposition forces for the final siege on Kandahar, the last major Taliban stronghold.
As the hunt for Al-Qa'eda head Osama Bin Laden escalates, American warplanes increased their bombings, targeting caves and tunnels in eastern Afghanistan on Monday where senior Al- Qa'eda leaders are believed to be hiding. Taliban leader Mullah Mohamed Omar and other Taliban commanders are believed to be still in Kandahar and Taliban officials have said they will fight to the death there. Defence Secretary Rumsfeld said that pro-Taliban forces in the Kandahar area include Afghans, but are mainly Arab, with some Pakistanis, Chinese and Chechens, who he said, "tended to be the most determined and the toughest fighters."
With the pressure building, the remainder of the operation in Afghanistan would appear to be coming to a close. Stufflebeem said, however, that American forces are prepared for the "long duration." "I'm not sure that any of us have a sense, or a feel, for how soon before we will know that we have the senior leadership of the Taliban controlled or suppressed or killed or in [our] possession, or the same for Al-Qa'eda. And so we're prepared to stay for as long as we have to do that, and don't have a sense of time on that," said Stufflebeem.
US military operations against Afghanistan began on 7 October, after the Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Since the war began, there has been at least one reported American combat death in Afghanistan. Taliban prisoners killed CIA agent Johnny Michael Spann on 25 November during a four-day riot near Mazar-i Sharif. There have also been reports of numerous Afghan civilian deaths.
In an interview with Pakistani television last Thursday, Rumsfeld said he believed the prime objectives of the international coalition against terrorism have been met. Rumsfeld said this has been achieved through global cooperation and the sharing of intelligence information, military cooperation, the freezing of Al-Qa'eda bank accounts, law enforcement and the arrests of suspected members of Al-Qa'eda cells.
Rumsfeld also commented that the US has no interest in keeping troops in Afghanistan. "Our interest is in working with other countries to stop terrorists from killing people. Our only interest in Afghanistan is to deal with Al-Qa'eda and to change the leadership in Afghanistan so that there is a stable, broad-based government. Then that's up to the Afghan people. It is not for us to decide."
Rumsfeld said that once the Taliban and Al- Qa'eda network in Afghanistan have been handled, the United States has only a humanitarian interest in the country. Since the war began, the Defence Department has airdropped over two million "Humanitarian Daily Rations" into Afghanistan. They continue to also drop leaflets, most recently in the Kandahar and Jalalabad area.
While the war in Afghanistan rages on, talks in Bonn, Germany, on forming a post-Taliban regime in Afghanistan have proven productive. Delegates of four factions of the opposition have agreed on the framework of the political structure of the interim government in Afghanistan. The UN plan proposes a 29-member interim executive council to govern Afghanistan that will consist of a chairman, five deputy chairmen and 23 council members. The top position in the interim administration is expected to go to the Rome faction, which represents former Afghan King Mohamed Zahir Shah.
The council would govern Afghanistan for six months, at which time an independent council of Afghan elders would then convene a tribal gathering, or loya jirga, to determine a future permanent government. The agreement also calls for a temporary group of multinational peace-keepers to be deployed in Kabul and possibly other areas of Afghanistan.
Recommend this page
See
WAR special pages
© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved
Send a letter to the Editor


Clic here to read the story from its source.