Leadership: Taliban Seek To Regain The Magic

Archives

June 27, 2008: In Afghanistan, the Taliban are trying out a lot of new tactics, trying to find something that works. The recent prison break in Kandahar worked, but partly because the government had been sloppy, and had ignored NATO warnings, over a year ago, about security vulnerabilities in that jail. Two suicide bombers and a few dozen gunmen got nearly a thousand prisoners out of the jail. There's also suspicion that there was some inside help. That, alas, is quite common in Afghanistan.

But elsewhere, the new Taliban ideas have been failures. Shortly after the jail break incident, nearly 500 Taliban rode into a dozen villages south of Kandahar, took control of ten villages, and basically challenged the government to do something about it. The government, and some NATO troops quickly did so, and the Taliban troops were promptly driven out, with about half of them being killed, wounded or captured.

The Taliban have brought over 10,000 gunmen into the country from Pakistan. They have learned to bring most of these guys in as civilians, because the millions of dollars the Taliban are earning by "taxing" the drug gangs, enables them to buy weapons in Afghanistan for their Pakistani recruits. Most of these kids, and a lot of them are teenagers, recruited from religious schools, are pretty green. They have been studying the Koran for the last year or so, not how to move around the hills and fire a weapon. But these youngsters do have religion, and that makes it easy to use them as enforcers for the lifestyle rules the Taliban wants to impose. That means all women are covered up when outdoors, do not work outside the home, and don't go to school. For the men, no barbers, no music, no videos, no booze, no sex before marriage, not much fun at all. Many of these kids only use their guns to bully Afghan civilians. When faced with Afghan or NATO troops, the Pakistanis tend to quickly die, or flee, or both.

Even with all this effort, the overall casualty rate so far this year has been less than half what it was last year. The Taliban are active this year, but so more it's mostly smoke, and not a lot of fire. It's the NATO and government forces that are on the offensive this year, and the Taliban is desperate to change this embarrassing state of affairs.

 

 


Article Archive

Leadership: 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