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October 28, 2007
Fierce Battle in Afghanistan
In what the coalition military authorities are calling a "major engagement," US and Afghan forces battled the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, killing almost 80 of the enemy in an effort to win back the area:
The latest fight began when Taliban fighters attacked a combined U.S. coalition and Afghan patrol with rockets and gunfire, prompting the combined force to call in attack aircraft, which resulted in "almost seven dozen Taliban fighters killed," the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement early Sunday. StrategyPage reported last week on why the violence has escalated:
The coalition said that four bombs were dropped on a trench line filled with Taliban fighters, resulting in most of the deaths.
Taliban militants overran Musa Qala in February, four months after British troops left the town following a contentious peace agreement that handed over security responsibilities to Afghan elders.
Musa Qala has been in control of Taliban fighters ever since. Situated in the north of Helmand, Musa Qala and the region around it have been the front line of the bloodiest fighting this year. It is also the heartland of Afghanistan's illicit opium poppy farms.
While religion is a major factor in the Afghan unrest, the biggest cause of violence is money, or the lack of it. The booming heroin trade is doing more to keep the violence going, than anything else. This is the poorest country in Asia, and one of the most heavily armed.... Returning control of the area to the Afghan government will only solve part of the problem. Until we can convince the tribes to stop growing poppy's for heroin, the Taliban will continue to exploit the crop as a resource to buy guns and bombs to keep the insurgency going.
Now it's the drug lords hauling around the fat stacks of hundreds. This cash enables the Taliban to hire gunmen (at several times what police and soldiers get paid). These lads try to protect poppy fields, and the labs where the poppies are refined into opium and heroin. The money also pays for the Taliban and al Qaeda suicide bomber teams. Technically, the Taliban are fighting for political power, but they cannot ignore what their paymasters want.