Boy oh Boy, Jay Rockefeller is PISSED OFF. In a nasty letter to CIA Director Hayden Friday, the chairman Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wrote he was “surprised and troubled” by the director’s comments, which “are not consistent with assessments that have been provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee over the past year.” Its also not consistent with the Democratic Party position.The letter was a response to Hayden’s comments that al-Qaida had suffered “near strategic defeat” in both Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and “significant setbacks … globally” that were keeping it “off balance — even in their best safe haven along the Afghanistan- Pakistan border.” “I have seen nothing, including classified intelligence reporting, that would lead me to this conclusion,” wrote Rockefeller, citing congressional testimony by Hayden and others to the effect that al-Qaida had reconstituted its central leadership in that mountainous and lawless region.

Now the commander of British forces in Afghanistan has come out and said “precise, surgical” tactics had killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to operate. Do you think that Senator Rockefeller is going to flip out at the British?

Taliban bombed ‘to brink of defeat’
KABUL: Missions by coalition forces and air strikes by unmanned drones have “decapitated” the Taliban and brought the terror movement to the brink of defeat in Afghanistan, military leaders said yesterday. The commander of British forces in Afghanistan told London’s Daily Telegraph that new “precise, surgical” tactics had killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to operate. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith told the newspaper that in the past two years, an estimated 7000 Taliban had been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it was the “very effective targeted decapitation operations” that had removed “several echelons of commanders”, he said. This had left the insurgents on the brink of defeat, the head of Task Force Helmand told the paper yesterday. “The tide is clearly ebbing, not flowing for them. Their chain of command is disrupted and they are short of weapons and ammunition,” Brigadier Carleton-Smith said. Last year’s killing of Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban chief, most likely by Britain’s Special Boat Service, was “a seminal moment in dislocating” their operation in southern Afghanistan, he said. “We have seen increasing fissures of stress through the whole organisation that has led to internecine and fratricidal strife between competing groups,” Brigadier Carleton-Smith said. Taliban fighters are reportedly becoming increasingly unpopular in Helmand, where they rely on the local population for food and water, the report said. “I can therefore judge the Taliban insurgency a failure at the moment,” Brigadier Carleton-Smith said. “We have reached the tipping point.” The report came as a suspected missile strike destroyed buildings including a mosque in a Pakistani tribal area yesterday. At least two blasts ripped through the compound in Spilga, a village on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan. Missile strikes launched by US-led forces in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal regions have had great success in killing Taliban and al-Qa’ida-linked insurgents in recent years. Much of the Taliban operation is run by Mullah Omar, and to a lesser extent by al-Qa’ida from their headquarters at Quetta, in Pakistan. But Brigadier Carleton-Smith said the ability of what is known as the Quetta Shura leadership had been “hugely reduced” and its influence was “increasingly marginalised”. The number of Afghans involved in the insurgency had fallen, he said, with increasing numbers of Pakistanis, Chechens, Uzbeks and Arabs found dead on the battlefield. Meanwhile, Afghan forces under attack in northwestern Afghanistan yesterday called in NATO air strikes in heavy clashes that left dozens of Taliban fighters dead. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force confirmed it had carried out air strikes in the area and said its information was that at least 10 insurgents had been killed.