Afghanistan: Taliban Retreat, Drug Gangs Advance

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October 15, 2005: Increasingly, the Taliban are planting bombs, rather than trying to fight American or Afghan troops. Fighting has proved to be a losing proposition, while bombs allow the dwindling number of Taliban to cause damage without taking large casualties. The bombing campaign causes damage, mainly to the Taliban cause. There are not enough Taliban bombs going off to threaten government control, and the bombs do economic damage, and civilian casualties (that turn more people against the Taliban), The biggest danger to the government is not the Taliban, but the tribes that are involved in the drug business (growing poppies and transporting the refined drugs out of the country.) Drugs are where the money is. The Taliban offer only more death and destruction, while the drug business offers money and affluence most Afghans have not had access to for a long time. The most dangerous Taliban factions are those getting into the drug business, and building up a war chest for future attacks on the government.

October 14, 2005:In the southeast, a bomb went off in a mosque, killing an anti-Taliban cleric and wounding 14 worshippers. The Taliban, which considers itself on a mission from God, is particularly nasty with anti-Taliban clerics. But killing such men turns them into martyrs, and causes more widespread hatred for the Taliban cause (restoring Taliban rule to the country.)

October 13, 2005: American and Afghan troops continue to chase down Taliban groups in the south, killing or arresting them. This outs pressure on the pro-Taliban tribes to make peace with the government, which more and more of them are doing. But that leaves a hard core of Taliban diehards, or grow increasingly violent. Many of these men are subject to prosecution for past crimes (dating back to the days when the Taliban ran the government), and are leery of even negotiating with the government.

 

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