Attrition: Taliban Tactics Backfire on Civilians

Archives

April 22, 2007: Although the Taliban lost nearly 3,000 of their fighters last year, the next most frequent casualty was Afghan civilians. In 2006, the Taliban killed 669 civilians. Most frequently, civilians died because of bomb attacks. There were 189 Taliban suicide and roadside bombings last year, and these killed 492 civilians. Another 177 civilians were killed more deliberately, in ambushes or executions. Some of these were people kidnapped, to force them to support the Taliban. Most of these were released, after promising to cooperate. But those who refused, were often murdered.

Over 200 civilians were killed during operations involving Afghan and foreign troops. These were people caught in the crossfire. Sometimes it was civilians in a compound, along with Taliban, when the place was bombed. The Taliban would also use civilians for human shields, a tactic that did not always work.

Although the Taliban are mainly interested in killing soldiers and police, they managed to kill five times as many civilians. This is largely because the Taliban have an easier time getting close to security forces when there are a lot of civilians around. The Taliban don't wear uniforms, and can blend in, until they open fire.

The Taliban thought that if they adopted terrorist tactics used in Iraq, they would have more success. But somehow the Taliban failed to realize that the terrorist tactics in Iraq don't work either. Far more civilians are killed, that uniformed personnel, and the Iraqi population has become more and more hostile to the Islamic terrorists. But the bombings and dead civilians do attract media attention, and to a terrorist, this is almost as good as killing soldiers or police.

 


Article Archive

Attrition: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close