Counter-Terrorism: Night Terrors


November 30, 2009: In Afghanistan, the Taliban guard their main bases (where weapons, ammo, data and supplies are) very carefully. They keep guards posted at a distance down the local roads, to give warning if Afghan or foreign troops are headed their way. The gunman in the safe house usually have an escape plan. The Taliban know that the U.S. can use helicopters for these raids, but rarely do. That's because helicopters are in short supply, and only used for raids on high value targets. There are several dozen of these Taliban safe houses, and it's difficult to find them, much less confirm exactly who is using them (a leader worth a helicopter raid, or just the local crew.)

But there are many villages where a few Taliban live, and operate openly. These guys tend to use intimidation to keep the locals in line. No one will strike back, because they know that the Taliban can, and will, muster a larger force and retaliate. But U.S. forces have come up with an effective tactic against these local thugs.

Once it has been confirmed (usually by Afghan police, using local contacts) that one or more Taliban are living in a village or neighborhood, they get a warrant and then a convoy of U.S. and Afghan vehicles go to the place at night and, using SWAT gear and tactics (along with night vision goggles), quietly go in and arrest the one or more Taliban thugs who have been terrorizing the place. The Taliban don't retaliate, because the villagers did nothing (except be quietly relieved that the Taliban bully is gone). The Taliban are reluctant to send replacements to the village, because another such night raid is a strong possibility. Now it is the Taliban's turn to be terrorized.



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