. . . the Taliban hope to inflict a series of mini-“Dien Bien Phu” defeats to erode public support. While the Taliban cannot yet launch the kind of large-scale assault the Viet Minh did against the French in 1954, they can exploit Afghanistan’s unforgiving environment. In fact, they already have tried to take advantage of the mountainous terrain to seize isolated outposts before help could arrive.
The Taliban are keenly aware that if they can cause enough casualties or, ideally, take American or NATO prisoners as they swarm over the often sparsely manned positions, they will achieve a tremendous victory on the battlefield of public opinion.
What is frustrating them? Modern U.S. and coalition airpower. Relentless aerial surveillance and highly precise bombing turn Taliban efforts to overrun the detachments into crushing defeats. And the Taliban have virtually no weapons to stop our planes.
Instead, they are trying to use sophisticated propaganda techniques to create a political crisis that will shoot down the use of airpower as effectively as any anti-aircraft gun.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense is over there apologizing.