Contrary to the liberal hand wringing in DC, there are a lot of indications we will finally destroy al Qaeda and the Taliban hold in Northern Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan – basically the lawless areas neither country has ever had control of. Indications are the human aid we are applying to the region to educate the people, provide infrastructure and provide medical care is paying off. Slowly.
But on top of that the key radical leaders in the region are being picked off as their tiny plot of sanctuary is being swept by the Paks to the south and NATO/Afghans to the north. Today the US Drones supporting the Paks bagged a couple of key targets:
Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Peshawar, Pakistan — A missile fired by a U.S. drone killed a top Al Qaeda operations chief and two other militant commanders in the volatile North Waziristan region, Pakistani military and intelligence sources said Thursday.
The killing of Ilyas Kashmiri, who headed Al Qaeda’s paramilitary operations in his native Pakistan, is the latest in a series of successful strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.
In August, a drone strike in South Waziristan killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mahsud, the country’s most-wanted militant, who was accused of engineering suicide bombings of civilian and military targets. U.S. drone strikes have killed several other prominent Al Qaeda militants in recent years.
There have been reports on how badly al Qaeda is fairing under the barrage, for example these recollections of al Qaeda from volunteers from Europe:
The meeting was tense. The six recruits, from immigrant communities in France and Belgium, had decided to confront theirÂ al-Qaida handler. Before leaving their homes, they had watched al-Qaida videos on the internet and seen massed battalions of mujahideen training on assault courses, exciting ambushes and inspiring speeches byÂ Osama bin Laden.
Now they had spent months inÂ Pakistan’s rugged frontier zones and had done nothing more than basic small arms training, some physical exercise and religious instruction.
They had been deceived, they complained to the Syrian militant looking after them. The videos had lied.
Their handler was unapologetic. The flashy videos were a “trick” that served a dual purpose, he told them, “to intimidate enemies and to attract new recruits â€“ propaganda.”
This was a while back, before the forces of good had surrounded these animals and started cleaning them out of their hidey holes.
Al Qaeda is still dangerous, as the recent raids here in the US have shown. And one does need to applaud our young President for keeping the NSA-FISA changes in place which Bush enacted after 9-11, and which have kept us safe from another attack. I am sure those very resources had a huge part to play in sniffing out this latest plot of mass murder.
But the violence always escalates near the end. It happened in World War II, Iraq and many other places. The rising death toll means, sadly, engagement and progress. The radical Islamists are now seen more as an enemy of Islam than its future, even in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the movement was born. That is a testament to President Bush’s efforts. And as long as President Obama doesn’t lose his nerve or backbone, he too can share in the victory over al Qaeda and the Taliban.