Troops Massing on Afghanistan/Pakistan Border:
September 17, 2001 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Troops Massing on Afghanistan/Pakistan Border: 20,000+ Taliban troops and an unreported number of Pakistani reinforcements have been deployed in anticipation of a Pakistan-based U.S. strike.
posted by ryanshepard (11 comments total)
I remember the fear I felt when the Gulf War started and all the threats Saddam made (which he carried out, burning the oil wells, etc.). But they were exhausted, fearful, beaten troops that massed in Kuwait against us. I'm praying it will be the same now. I'm frightened and worried...but how can we not retaliate? And how much retaliation is enough? Hate to wring hands...sorry. Just don't know what will happen next.
posted by airgirl at 5:56 PM on September 17, 2001

Although diplomatically a definite no-no to do such a thing whilst there's a timescale ultimatum on the table, i think the '20,000 and 25,000 (taliban) troops just across the border from the Khyber Pass' look rather enticing round about now. A few strategically placed missiles and there'd be a lot less for future Allied groundtroops to have to worry about getting sniped by once Afghan forces have dispersed into the hills like vermin.
posted by Kino at 6:43 PM on September 17, 2001

Here's hoping that Batman is still in the area.
posted by Scotch at 6:51 PM on September 17, 2001

Given the regime, Wonder Woman's gonna kick ass!
posted by airgirl at 7:02 PM on September 17, 2001

> And how much retaliation is enough?

I'd say about 35,000 dead, 220,000 wounded and 1.5-2 million homeless oughtta do it.
posted by sylloge at 7:18 PM on September 17, 2001

Man, I hope that's sarcasm, sylloge...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2001

Of course. And I just came back because I realized sarcasm wasn't appropriate -- I just didn't like the question. Sorry.

It seems pretty certain now that US troops are going to go in to Afghanistan -- there isn't any other way to go in and "have a look around". Hopefully this can be done with the minimum amount of contact between the Taliban militia and the US troops. Being a (humanitarian) military policy maker at this point would be an incredibly hard job.

It seems very unlikely that (a) bin Laden et al. will just stay put and be found, (b) the Taliban let the US into the country to look for him, (c) the US will accept anything that causes them to lose face. It seems very unlikely that some kind of ground war can be avoided.

But I can't imagine that will do much w.r.t. stopping further attacks, catching the bad people, etc.; to actually make a dent into terrorist activities/find the people responsible for this attack will be a very long, slow and secretive process: not much footage for CNN and perhaps then not politcally popular. I just hope the war rhetoric doesn't trap the US military command into getting into a pointless war (what happens if Afghanistan is conquered? then what? -- if they can operate in Montreal and Atlanta and Jersey and Frankfurt what good does control of Afghanistan do?)

If I was in charge, I have no idea what I would do next ...
posted by sylloge at 7:47 PM on September 17, 2001

No offense, but if you were in charge I have no idea what I'd do next either.
posted by Kikkoman at 9:45 PM on September 17, 2001

If I was in charge and I was you, I'd move to Canada. Luckily, I already live (t)here.
posted by sylloge at 10:01 PM on September 17, 2001

This just shows that the Taliban is serious about resisting.

They're using very, very old tanks, and most of our artillery would do some serious damage before their troops even saw us. What is it? a couple of miles of range that we have? Someone fill me in on artillery knowledge.

Another thing many people forget: the US has awesome satellite power. We're probably scanning their entire country right now. Providing the US forces can collaborate every move they make will be know of. I AM assuming they are massing?
posted by aaronshaf at 10:04 PM on September 17, 2001

Just to put this in perspective I had a friend who was in charge of upgrading personell carriers for the army. He was telling me a story about the gulf war that was told by an Iraqi POW.

He was standing on top of the middle of three tanks with his binoculars gazing over the horizon. Suddenly the tank to his right exploded. About three seconds later, the tank to his left exploded. He jumped, and moments later the tank he was standing on exploded.

At no point in this time did he ever see the american tank that had just destroyed three iraqi tanks in a matter of seconds from about 4 miles away. And believe me, the Afghanistani armed forces are a lot less powerful than the iraqis were when they invaded kuwait. They would stand little chance against an american attack.
posted by statusquo at 10:50 PM on September 17, 2001

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