Most Americans know the enemy we face in Afghanistan is brutal, cowardly, and hypocritical. That's not internet muscle-flexing or empty rhetoric, it's my strongly-held opinion, based on analyzing facts gathered by people on the ground and reading the Taliban's own words.
The latest Taliban atrocity was committed yesterday in Kandahar, where at least 35 people were killed in five terrorist attacks. According to CNN, six women and three children are among the 22 civilians killed in the bombings. At least 40 more innocent civilians, as well as 17 Afghan police officers, were wounded. According to the CNN article, Taliban 'spokesman' Qari Yousef Ahmadi claims the 'operation' was a message to Gen. Stanley McChrystal and planners of the coming U.S.-led assault on Taliban and al Qaeda elements in Kandahar.
The contradictions embedded deep inside the enemy's ideology are again apparent when confronted with their statements and actions. The Taliban and al Qaeda claim to be protectors of Muslim lands, yet intentionally murder and maim defenseless Afghans in public areas. Saturday's attacks were reportedly aimed at a bus station, prison, police station, and house. Of course, this is not the only case where the enemy has used civilians as pawns for their twisted goals: author and former Green Beret Michael Yon reports from the ground that a U.S. intelligence officer recently told him that "Taliban had stationed kids on the roofs of some of the compounds they were fighting from."
What 'message' did the Taliban send Gen. McChrystal and the men and women he commands on Saturday? The only one I can think of is "come stop us from murdering innocent people to advance our ideology." The human and financial toll of securing Kandahar will be high, especially for U.S. servicemembers and military families. The tragic nature of that fact is not something any of us take lightly.
After another reminder that the enemy remains committed to its murderous agenda, how can America walk away from a country that was the breeding ground for the terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania? While well-intentioned patriots can have honest disagreements with each other on that question, this blog believes America's cause is just. We must prevail. We also must play close attention to the volunteer warriors making extraordinary sacrifices every single day in a faraway land.