I just watched Laura Logan’s 60 Minutes report on an amazing platoon of Special Forces that got ambushed by the Taliban 12 KM south of Kandahar. Its truly inspirational and well worth watching. What is scary is the part in the end where the Special Forces Major talks about how the Taliban have learned US infantry tactics, command and control. British historian Paul Rodgers writes of the curious source of the new Taliban strategy.
This context makes all the more interesting a report which cites the view of an (anonymous) Taliban media source that much of the military activity in Afghanistan in the coming months will resemble the tactics employed by the Vietminh guerrillas and their renowned military commander, General Vo Nguyen Giap, in the war against French control of “Indochina” (see Syed Saleem Shahzad, “The Taliban talk the talk“, Asia Times, 11 April 2008).
The reference is startling and ominous. In the early 1950s, the Vietminh – faced with an imbalance between their own forces and conventional French military power – concentrated on attacking isolated garrisons in the northern part of Vietnam well away from the main colonial centres of control: Hanoi, Haiphong and the densely populated Hong (Red) river delta. This strategy, combined with attacks on French supply-lines, gradually wore down the French military and political leadership’s resolve.
Logan’s 60 Minutes Report warns of a resurgent Taliban. The ultimate irony would be if Afghanistan, not Iraq was our new Vietnam.