The Thaiixed Bag
Bangkok hat struck hard at the insurgencyhe north in one of the most Successful counter-insurgency operation* ever waged by governmentan Thai Army task forcea series of raids in fate August against the principal insurgent stronghold area in northern Nan Province along the Thai-Lao bo'der. The well-coordinated and executed operation, which involved nighi movement with helicopter support, as well as assistance from intelligence teams on the Lao side o' the border, took the insurgents completely by surprise. Fourteen enemy cadre wero captured and several others killed without significant loss to government forces.
The operation should help boost Thaiin an area where the insurgents had eO|0yed consistent tacticalthey had begun to exploitwhere the government has beenoss tooherent strategy. The insurgency in the north continues to spread, however. Small enemy units have recently been spotted farther from the Lao border thanand rt willjood deal more than one success lo rectify the situation.
In the northeast, on the other hand, the insurgent movement is continuing to rebound from the setbacks il suffered. The Communists there haveevel of activity markedly higher this rainy season than last. Most of this increased activity has been or-ganijiational rather than military, with theseeking to strengthen their support base and extend their writ into new areas of theIn contrast to their focus this spring on Nakhon Phanom and Sakhon Nakhon provinces, insurgent activity now affects portions of at least eight northeastern provinces.
Bangkok's growing preoccupation withinay be contributing to rising insurgent fortunes in the northeast. In an effort to counter the potential threat to its border posed by recent Communist advances in northern and western Cambodia, the government hasseven ol tnehai Army companies normally committed to counterinsurgency tasks in the northeast to security missions along the Cambodian frontier. This evidentlyinding down of government pressure against the insurgents in the northeast.
The fundamental problem, however, is the top Thai leaders' continued discounting of the insurgent threat in the northeast. Based on the experience ofthe overextended insurgents were forced to retrench in the face of governmentthe continuingof insurgent leadership and appeal, the Thai are convinced that they can keep thehe northeastanageable proportions. For their part, the insurgents can profitably use an extended period free from serious harassment, which is likely if they choose to avoid the kind of flamboyant actions that force the government to take
Cambodia: Phnom Penh Launchesan Offensive
ost ambitious military operation, of the war attained initial successovernment amphibious relief convoy reached Kompong Thorn this week. Advance elementsecond Cambodian Army task force headed north from Skoun onarallel effort to reinforce and resupp'y the embattled defenders of Kompong Thorn city. This task force isby si* infantry battalions recentlyfrom retraining in South Vietnam. Five other battalions are moving westward from Kompong Cham to provide route security behind the advance elements. The government's advance has been slowed by destroyed bridges alongnd the numerous obstacles placed across it by Ihe enemy. The Communists havo so far offered only token resistance.
The major area of Communist militaryshifted during the last week fromf Phnom Penh to areas south of the capitalforces recapturedf Phnom Penh, when the enemy/withdrew after holding the town for five ciyA TheArmy, however, continues to report sizable enemy lroop concentrations nearby and in areas around the nearby towfls of Tram Khnar and Saang lo the east,hich came under repeated enemy harassing attacks.
Elsewhere, the Communists launched light harassing attacks nearseveral provincial capitals in Ihe south and southeast In the northwest, the enemy increased its harassment of government defensive positions at isolated Stem Reap city. Cambodiap'troops clashed with Communis! units north jure west of the city, and in one encounter
ambodian soldiers were killedwearing uniforms similar to those ofparatroop
Status of Communist Supply Routes
Recent aerial photography and reports from controlled sources.provide no evidence of major logistic activity^ enemy-control led provinces in northern and .northeastern Cambodia Several of the major /oules are impassable for trucksof destroyed oridges and deteriorated roads, with few signs of repair activity in evidence.he main road from northeasternmto South Vietnam, is in good condition
put tittle traffic or other logistics activity was observed by sources operating there in miO-
August. Little or no significant enemy activity was observed on therivers in the areo
during late August.
The Nonaligned Conference formally openedeptember, and as anticipated neither the Lor- Nol nor the Sihanouk delegation was seated. Accordingeliable clandestine source, more delegations supported Sihanouk than Lon Nol at the preparatory foreign ministers' conferenceeptember. The majority, however, favored seating neither, and believed thatshouldember of the conference without Official representation in attendance This ministerial compromise was apparently hy the full conference.NO