Friday, January 27, 2006

US Commander: Insurgents Driven from Tal Afar in Northern Iraq

"Colonel McMaster says when his forces first arrived in northern Iraq last May, insurgents, including foreign fighters and Saddam loyalists, had choked the life out of the region by conducting systematic attacks throughout the area.

McMaster says many of the insurgents infiltrated the city of Tal Afar, which lies about 60 kilometers from porous Syrian border.

"What the enemy really needed to do is intimidate the population in the area, to give them safe-haven so people would be afraid to cooperate with our forces or Iraqi security forces trying to bring security to the area," he said. "They also hoped to incite sectarian violence, which they did by collapsing the police force, turning the police force, in effect, into a sectarian militia that further fed the cycle of sectarian violence."

A turning point came last September when, for the first time, U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces took the lead in a major military operation against insurgents in Tal Afar."


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