Frontal Assault

Andrei Marks · August 9, 2007

From the 2007-08-09 print of The Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A28. An article in the International News–Asia-Pacific/Europe section. Two part article. The author is named Wang Fengfeng, and he wrote the reaction as well. The story comes from Xinhua.

Taliban Makes A Frontal Assault on US Military Base

-Together the American and Afghani army killed 20 members of the armed force

On the 7th an armed force of Afghani Taliban made a strong direct attack on a front line base occupied by American soldiers in the southern province of Oruzgan. Along with fighter plane air support, the American and Afghani forces used mortars, machine guns, and other types of superior firepower to repel the Taliban’s armed assault, killing over twenty of the attackers.

Front Line Bases Have Few Troops

The base that was attacked is called the “Python Heavy Firing-point”. Heavy firing points are usually positioned at forward positions along the battle lines, and have very few deployed personnel. There are some with as few as about ten people. But these bases are frequently supplied with large bore artillery, and use this heavy artillery fire capability to assault enemies, with very effective results. A spokesperson of the allied forces stationed in Afghanistan mentioned in a statement that, “On that day about 75 armed Taliban attacked the Python Heavy Firing-Point from three sides. The weaponry used in the assault included rifles, hand grenades, and 107 mm rocket projectiles.”

Because of the large size fo the armed Taliban force, the American defenders called for air support, and along with the Afghani government troops used superior firepower to repel the attackers. An announcement stated: “We have confirmed that more than 20 armed attackers were killed in this assault.” The combat resulted in two Afghani soldiers being injured, and two nearby Afghani girls were being harmed by Taliban artillery fire.

The Taliban Infrequently Makes Strong Frontal Assaults

Beacause of the large difference with the equipment and tactics of the American and NATO military, the Taliban infrequently makes frontal assaults on foreign forces. In the past they have mostly used mortars and suicide bombs to make surprise raids on foreign military bases. Remotely operated roadside bombs are another one of their favored methods of attack.

Aside from the assault on the “Python Heavy Firing-Point”, a leading officer of the Kandahar police force, Sayeed Afujia Saqipu, announced that on the same day Talibani armed forces also assaulted a police inspection station. The garrisoned police force and the attackers fought a gun battle that drew out for three hours, in which 15 Taliban were killed, along with 6 police officers. Since the beginning of this year, the Taliban has carried out many of these surprise attacks. According to data provided by local Western and Afghani officials, the Associated Press totals a death count of over 3600 people from these attacks alone in this year.

Once Cheney Also Broke a Cold Sweat

The attacks have been mainly concentrated in Southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s influence is relatively strong. Armed personnel have even for a time occupied a few cities and towns after having driven off government forces. During this period they have also made assaults in Kabul. For instance on June 17th, suicide bombers killed 35 people within Kabul, which was the largest death toll caused by a car bomb attack.

Aside from this, on the 27th of February of this year, “base personnel,” with the help of the Taliban, made a surpirse attack on Kabul’s Bagram Air Force base, which was being visited by American President Dick Cheney at the time. It resulted in 14 dead, and caused Dick Cheney to break into a cold sweat.

-View Point

The Taliban Has Been Pointed Towards a Dead End

Despite the frequent and insufferably arrogant activities of the Taliban, American and Afghani military and government officials don’t consider these occurrences to be indicative of a problem–the Taliban is already at the “end of its rope.”

After making an announcement about the Taliban’s attack on the “Python Heavy Firing-Point” the Allied Forces spokesperson Wanisha Baoman commented, “The attackers simply had no way of inflicting heavy casualties on the Python Heavy Firing-Point, and at the same time were met with serious losses themselves. This clearly indicates the weak ability of these armed forces.”

At the American President’s Camp David in Maryland, on the 6th Afghani president Karzai made a similar argument, that the Taliban is “an armed power that has already been defeated.” He said that although they can terrorize the populace, they aren’t powerful enough to be considered a threat to the government.

Translator’s notes:
-So, the Arabic name Sayeed Afujia Saqipu is one third what it should be, and two thirds in pinyin. I can’t find this guy on the internet, it’s unlikely he’d be there, and I’m not familiar enough with the Chinese translations of Arabic names to offer a reasonable guess. So I’ll stick with the pinyin, however silly it looks.
-And the allied forces spokesperson Wanisha Baoman, I don’t know either. Something Bauman perhaps?
-So I’m not sure if the “viewpoint” bit is serious, or if it’s really biting sarcasm. For some reason I just automatically assume the latter. But I can’t be sure, there is one phrase, “made a similar argument”, that I want to check with my tutor. My dictionary says it has a derogatory meaning, but it may not necessarily be so. I think that this article is sort of representative of the general Chinese consensus, if there is such a thing, about American influence in the Middle East.

America Being in Iraq = Bad.
Fighting the Taliban and Other Terrorists = Good.
America Being in Afghanistan doing the Above = Sort of good maybe.
Dick Cheney = Bad.

They’re also very respectful of American military power, in terms of equipment and ability. Sort of like they admire our toys but disapprove of the way we use them.

So I’ll hold off on making any conclusions about the inferences made in the viewpoint, I don’t have enough background in written Chinese subtlety yet.

Comments/corrections welcome.

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