In a story which has gone entirely ignored, Brigadier Andrew Mackay, commander of British forces in Helmand province in Afghanistan, has gone on the record to say that the Taliban are "worn down" - that after months of gruelling conflict our enemies are at last feeling the pinch. As the Times reports:
British troops in southern Afghanistan have “worn down” the Taleban and forced them to abandon many of their key strongholds in Helmand province, a senior commander said yesterday.Foreign fighters, such as those feculent traitors from the UK who were heard by the RAF among the Helmand Taliban earlier this month "speaking in clear Bradford and West Bromwich accents".
Brigadier Andrew Mackay, commander of 52 Brigade, said: “The Taleban are now suffering from a lack of manpower and that is why they are having to rely on foreign fighters."
"They are also now operating outside their normal areas because they lack support from the local populations.”In other words, they are losing.
So there is, at last, a sign of hope in Afghanistan. With persistence, there will be cause for celebration.
Why has this story not received more attention? What does the media establishment have to say about the conflict?
Sadly, it has become the pattern of modern journalism that coverage of good news from the front line barely makes it into print, whereas ill-informed speculation by people who seem determined that their side should lose is allowed to dominate the comment pages.
To give one example, the Times itself published a preposterous piece by tired by-the-numbers hack Sir Simon Jenkins three weeks ago. Under the inspiring title, "Fall back, men, Afghanistan is a nasty war we can never win", the dotty knight had the following drivel to spew:
The American secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, flies to Britain this week to meet a crisis entirely of London and Washington’s creation. They have no strategy for the continuing occupation of Afghanistan. They are hanging on for dear life and praying for something to turn up ...Of course, Sir Simon's ramblings were probably echoed all over the British media - his was merely the particular piece of poppycock I happened to catch at the time.
Every independent report on the Nato-led operation in Afghanistan cries the same message: watch out, disaster beckons ...
More soldiers will simply evince more insurgency ...
There is no sensible alternative to ending military operations ...
While hope for a victorious outcome in Afghanistan builds with every hard-fought battle won by Britain and America's exceptional armed forces, critics like Jenkins can only harp and cavil.
They would be better advised to keep up with the facts, listen to men like Mackay and support the valiant efforts of the civilised west to thwart the evil of backward Islamic theocracy in south Asia as elsewhere.
Perhaps the day may come when war reports are given the higher profile and blustery opinion takes a back seat. But that, alas, would seem to be a hope too far.