Something is obviously going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The key development appears to have been al Qaeda’s two attempts to assassinate President Musharraf–an act of stupidity that rivals the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Before the assassination attempts, Musharraf balanced his desire to stay on good terms with the U.S. against the risks of alienating the tribal leaders in Pakistan’s border provinces and the radical elements in his own intelligence service. Once the radicals were actively trying to kill him, however, Musharraf had no alternative but to throw his weight wholeheartedly behind the effort to exterminate the Islamofascists.
That’s my assumption, at any rate, about why the current “spring offensive” became possible. The latest news comes from England’s Telegraph:
Britain has sent 100 SAS soldiers to Afghanistan and the Americans have asked it to send hundreds more elite troops to support an intensified push to capture Osama bin Laden, defence sources said yesterday.
The SAS force was seen passing through Bagram air base, north of Kabul. An official at the base, the headquarters of allied special forces in Afghanistan, said it was on its way to the mountainous border with Pakistan to take part in Operation Mountain Storm against al-Qa’eda and Taliban militants.
Defence chiefs are considering the request to send paratroops or commandos to reinforce the American and British special forces hunting bin Laden, the head of al-Qa’eda, and his lieutenants, the defence sources said.
The SAS is Great Britain’s most elite force, the equal of any special forces group in the world. Britain’s posting of substantial numbers of SAS to Afghanistan is more evidence that something major is going on in the hunt for al Qaeda’s leaders.