December 14, 2007

The Quiet Victory Of Musa Qala

The NATO/Afghan coalition won an important victory this week in Musa Qala, held by the Taliban for almost ten months. Not only did they eject the Taliban from their one strategic position in Helmand, they also shut down an important source of funds for their continued fight against the democratic government in Kabul. Although the victory got plenty of play in the blogosphere, Investors Business Daily notices that it barely received a mention from the mainstream media:

Far from just an important Taliban command post, Musa Qala was also a training base for both Afghan and foreign Islamist militants. Azimi has said hundreds of foreign terrorists had gathered there. That makes this week's victory a big win in the global war on terror.

On top of that, though, is the fact that the town was home to as many as 70 heroin labs, profits from which were used to fund Taliban terrorism. Afghanistan makes over 90% of the world's opium, more than half of which is grown in Helmand province. So chalk up a victory in the war on drugs, too. ...

But have we seen any "V-A Day" headlines, or anything approaching that? As Matt Sanchez reported for World Net Daily this week, "Members of the Taliban boasted of holding ground and occupying territory. They even invited the international press to come visit the town (Musa Qala) under Taliban control."

Part of the lack of interest may spring from the fact that the battle should have been unnecessary. Musa Qala fell into Taliban hands thanks to a strange decision to allow tribal leaders with uncertain loyalties provide security in the city. It took very little time for the Taliban to ally with the tribes to grab control of this strategic center, and its success in doing so forced a change of military command for the NATO contingent and a much more aggressive strategy.

Nevertheless, IBD rightly points out that this victory does have significance for the overall effort against the Taliban. They have lost fundraising ability, strategic lines of communication, and a much-needed safe haven for their operations against NATO. In an earlier era, this would have made headlines in the papers and led the nightly news.

Not now. The only efforts making headlines since 2003 have been those that paint the West in a poor light -- like the loss of Musa Qala, for instance. American media outlets had no problem reporting on Musa Qala when the Taliban claimed that the NATO coalition attacks killed civilians by the hundreds, an allegation that 60 Minutes and Scott Pelley obligingly aired for the Taliban. Afghanistan only makes headlines when the Taliban wants to score a propaganda victory these days, not when NATO scores a military victory.

It's too bad that our media can't quite bring themselves to at least report on advances made by the forces of freedom over the forces of oppression. We don't even ask that they cheer them -- but to get the word out so that success can cheer the rest of us.


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