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Kandahar raid: US defeat 

Finally, it's semi-official: retired general Wesley Clark, who directed the war in Kosovo, admitted on 11/8 that the US raid in Kandahar on 10/20 was a failure, confirming the casualties that senior US commanders had denied. On November 5, the New Yorker came out with an article by Seymour Hersh (who has extensive ties with CIA) containing explosive revelations that confirmed earlier stories and cited 12 casualties, 3 of which were serious. Within days after the US special forces raid on Kandahar on 10/20, a number of articles in the overseas press, from Israel, British, India, Russia, and of course from Afghanistan and Arab sources, suggested that the raid was considerably less than the complete success it has been portrayed to be in the US media. The British press had several articles saying the US special forces met unexpected resistance and had to beat a hasty retreat, while the alleged Israeli Intelligence portal, Debka, had a more in depth look with reports of casualities from friendly fire.  As Wesley Clark has pointed out, the best evidence of this failure is that, as of 11/9, no further raids of this type have been carried out.  Here are the articles, in reverse time order:

U.S. commando raid botched, reports say  11/8/01 St Petersburg Times: "On Wednesday, however, in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, the U.S. European Command commander who directed the war in Kosovo, helped bolster the news accounts of a mission gone awry. Clark said British military sources told him during a visit to London eight or nine days ago that the United States indeed sustained 12 injuries as reported in the New Yorker. The New Yorker said three people had suffered serious injuries; Clark said he heard two people had suffered serious injuries. The injuries were not life-threatening, he said."

ESCAPE AND EVASION by SEYMOUR M. HERSH  11/5/01 New Yorker: the story the Pentagon is busy denying - "Delta Force, which prides itself on stealth, had been counterattacked by the Taliban, and some of the Americans had had to fight their way to safety. Twelve Delta members were wounded, three of them seriously. Delta Force has long complained about a lack of creativity in the Army leadership, but the unexpectedness and the ferocity of the Taliban response "scared the crap out of everyone," a senior military officer told me, and triggered a review of commando tactics and procedures at the United States Central Command, or CENTCOM, at MacDill Air Force Base, in Florida, the headquarters for the war in Afghanistan. "This is no war for Special Operations," one officer said—at least, not as orchestrated by CENTCOM and its commander, General Tommy R. Franks, of the Army, on October 20th."

Taliban fought off US commando raid: Report  11/5/01 The Times of India: New Yorker story as it plays in India

El fracaso de la incursión terrestre en Kandahar obliga a EEUU a replantearse estas operaciones  11/5/01 El Mundo: New Yorker story as it plays in Spain

U.S. Campaign on Schedule, Generals Say - Commanders Deny Report That Taliban Inflicted Serious Injuries on Army Unit in Raid  11/5/01 Washington Post: "Myers and Franks denied a report in the New Yorker magazine that a raid last month on a Taliban stronghold by members of the top-secret Delta Force encountered stiff resistance and that 12 U.S. soldiers were injured. They said there were some injuries during the operation, but that none resulted from enemy fire." - OK, so they were from friendly fire!

12 U.S. DELTA MEMBERS WOUNDED ON RAID OF OMAR'S COMPLEX, THREE SERIOUSLY; PENTAGON RETHINKS 'SPECIAL FORCES OPERATIONS'  11/3/01 Drudge Report, previewing the New Yorker story:  "Twelve Delta members were wounded, three of them seriously. The intensity and ferocity of the Taliban response "scared the crap out of everyone," a senior military officer tells Hersh. The Delta team stormed Mullah Omar's complex, but found little of value, Hersh reports, and then, "as they came out of the house, the shit hit the fan," one senior officer says. "It was like an ambush. The Taliban were fighting with light arms and either [rocket-propelled grenades] or mortars." The team immediately began taking casualties and evacuated… The Pentagon could not give details of what really happened near Kandahar "because it doesn't want to appear that it doesn't know what it's doing." Another senior officer says, "I don't know where the adult supervision for these operations is. Franks -- the general in charge of the U.S. Central Command -- is clueless." Speaking of Delta Force the officer adds, "These guys have had a case of the ass since Mogadishu. They want to do it right and they train hard. Don't put them on something stupid. We'll get there, but it's going to get ugly."

Pentagon reluctant to fly home body bags?
  10/26/01 Frontier Post, Pakistan 

US special forces beat retreat as enemy 'fought back like maniacs'  10/26/01 The Telegraph, UK: Confirming reports that have already appeared out of Israel, Russia, and India. When the Taliban knows this perfectly well, the only audience being left in the dark is the US public…

First US ground attack 'could have ended in disaster'
  10/26/01 The Independent, UK 

America Faces a Long, Harsh Winter in Afghanistan
  10/22/01 Debka, alleged Israeli Intelligence portal:  Caveat: this is rumored to be a couple in their 50s who do not run a profesisonal operation. Not much respected in Israel, this source is suspect. "Despite official assurances that they went off without a hitch, several independent military sources reported the US troops took a number of casualties – some from friendly fire. Some of the raiders appear to have mistakenly opened fire on other Western ground and air forces in the area, accounting for the stubborn insistence by the Taliban that its forces caused the Americans a number of losses. The Taliban education minister, for example, said Afghan soldiers killed between 20 and 25 US troops. The Americans also were shaken by the fighting ability of the Taliban and the heavy fire their fighters directed at the assault force. DEBKAfile’s military sources say that, immediately after the Taliban high command spotted US forces landing, it set up an artillery barrage aimed on the landing zone, rushed tanks carrying infantry to the area and opened up with anti-aircraft fire, which proved ineffective. Two weeks of intensive bombers and missile strikes against military camps, command headquarters, airfields, helicopter landing pads, fuel and ammunition dumps and military convoys, failed to bring the Taliban war machine to collapse. Furthermore, morale remained high and the Taliban’s heavy weaponry remained intact. Intelligence information suggests that the Taliban were able to keep most of their fighting strength and heavy arms safe and hidden in mountain caves." Here we see the brilliance of the Debka disinformation operation: they offer information that is not available elsewhere and if you look at their site, you see it mixed in with absurdly racist musings on the Palestinians, who are treated like the US treated Geronimo and the Apaches, for about the same reasons...

First US ground mission a failure: Report  10/22/01 Times of India: "The first US ground mission inside the Taliban-held Afghanistan on Saturday was a failure, a Russian news agency reported here on Sunday quoting military sources. Interfax quoting defence ministry sources in Tajikistan said the US special force's ground attack did not yield any results, nor did it influence the general military-political situation in Afghanistan. More than 100 US special troops which landed from helicopters in Kandahar's western outskirts near Babashahi hill, found themselves in an area densely controlled by the Taliban and had to retreat without achieving the main goal of the operation to attack their secret airfield, the Interfax source said."

Afghan Taleban claim another downed aircraft found in south  10/22/01 Khilafah 

Al Yazira muestra los restos del helicóptero americano que los talibán dicen haber derribado  10/22/01 El Mundo: Taliban displays pieces of 2nd helicopter they say they shot down. Reminds you of stories of extra body bags beyond the official count in Grenada…

US finds military campaign a hard sell  10/22/01 Independent, UK: "Will the Taliban's morale be dented by pictures of New York firefighters raising the Stars and Stripes in the rubble of the World Trade Centre, which American special forces are reported to have distributed in Kandahar over the weekend?"

Here is a slice of conditions in Pakistan around that time, which promise a bleak future for US operations there:

US copters in Pakistan fired on  10/23/01 Boston Globe: "Two US military helicopters were strafed by small arms fire over Pakistan yesterday - an ominous sign for American forces who are counting on Pakistan to support the US campaign against terror in neighboring Afghanistan."

US ground operations being staged from Pak  10/23/01 Times of India: "In Pakistan - where opposition to Musharraf's support for the US war on Afghanistan has led to violent demonstrations - news of the country being used for attacks on the ground is likely further to inflame popular sentiment."

Anti-US rage boils in moderate Pakistan city  10/22/01 Boston Globe: "RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Tens of thousands of protesters yesterday jammed a central square to howl fury at the United States, hoist placards bearing the face of fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden, and demand the overthrow of this country's government in a surprising show of anti-American rage in a city considered moderate and representative of the Pakistan mainstream.

Pakistan on the brink of rebellion  10/22/01 Debka, Israel: "There is mounting concern for the personal safety of Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf and the fate of his government. The pressure and threats against Musharraf and his administration are coming not only from the Pakistani street but also from the Pakistani armed forces and military intelligence. US officers posted in Pakistan praise Musharraf and his top aides for his courteous treatment and excellent cooperation, but they cannot say the same for the Pakistani officer corps. Sources tell DEBKAfile that the fire that burned down the Pakistani general staff building in Rawalpindi on October 10 was not set by anti - American protesters, as first thought. Pakistani military intelligence officers set the blaze themselves, hoping to destroy evidence of intelligence cooperation - not only between Pakistan and the Taliban, but also between Pakistan and bin Laden himself."

The US insists on cowboy-like unilateral action, bypassing international bodies such as the UN, Interpol, and the International Court, which it has despised ever since it ruled against it in the matter of Nicaragua. The steady diet of westerns US leaders seem addicted to will likely result in the greatest series of defeats in US history. Americans are rapidly squandering the initial goodwill they had as a result of the initial 9-11 injury, good will which could have translated into a much more solid and long lasting international coalition against Al Qaeda. They have walked into bin Laden's carefully laid trap, willing and eager just like an overconfident bully. The question is, what will they do as a result? Devastate the entire Arab and Islamic world? Will that give them lasting security or just endless warfare? 

Link: Initial reporting on the 10/18 raid


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