Counter-Terrorism: Taliban Aim For The Top


March 30, 2011: In Pakistan, the Taliban are having increasing problems with Pushtun tribes that want nothing to do with the Taliban movement. Naturally, the Taliban call these tribes heretics and traitors. But that's not enough. These other tribes form militias (often supported with government supplied cash and weapons) to keep the Taliban out of tribal territory. Rather than go to war with these militias, the Taliban use the terror tactics they learned from al Qaeda, and send death squads and suicide bombers after the tribal leaders, especially the ones in charge of the militia.

Last year, this decapitation (kill the leaders) policy went into overdrive. While in the previous five years, only about nine tribal leaders a year were assassinated, in 2010, that rose to 42. Some of the tribes caved in, and quietly (without admitting it to the government) became neutral. But others declared war on the Taliban. Apparently the Taliban decided that decapitation was not the way to go, since the killing of tribal leaders is, so far this year, back to pre-2010 levels.




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