Afghanistan: September 2, 2005

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Officially, the Taliban has announced that it will not attempt to disrupt the September 18th national elections. Nevertheless, expect the number, and perhaps intensity, of Taliban/Al-Qaeda attacks to increase over the next two weeks. Recently, there has been a steadily rising number of assassination attempts against candidates and election officials, several of whom have been killed or wounded. 

In anticipation of increased Taliban/Al-Qaeda activity, the Pakistani Army is boosting, or redeploying, its forces along the Afghan border, to help block cross-border movement of personnel or actual attacks being staged from Pakistani territory. 

The increase in Taliban violence comes from three sources. First, there is more money in play, to pay Taliban volunteers to fight. The money is apparently coming from al Qaeda sources in the Persian Gulf. Second, hard core Taliban tribal leaders are upset at the many pro-Taliban tribal chiefs who have made peace with the government. Third, Pakistani military operations along the border have driven several hundred al Qaeda members, who had fled to Pakistan in 2001, back into Afghanistan.

Afghan and Coalition forces are also beefing up security on the Afghan side of the border.

Indian and Chinese firms continue to bid for construction projects in Afghanistan, despite the risks from bandits (who are into kidnapping, robbery and extortion). The construction firms just add the security costs to their proposals. 

 

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