Afghanistan: Taliban versus Taliban

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November 3, 2005: On November 8th the newly elected provincial councils will be meeting for the first time across Afghanistan. Security will probably be very tight, as the Taliban may well attempt to disrupt the legislative sessions. Oddly, such an attempt may actually be beneficial to the long-term stability of Afghanistan. A significant percentage of the newly elected delegates - perhaps a third - are conservative clerics, kinsmen of warlords, and even a few amnestied Taliban, and attacks on them could readily be construed as attacks on tradition and religion.

November 2, 2005: In southern Afghanistan (Helmland province), five policemen were killed in a Taliban ambush. This area is also much used by drug smuggling gangs. Meanwhile, it was revealed that the much higher casualty rate among the Taliban this year is largely the result of a new American tactic. First, a platoon (20-30) of American troops are landed near a village or compound thought to be occupied by Taliban gunmen. The American troops make a show of patrolling the area, in the hope that the larger force of Taliban will reveal themselves as they try to attack the smaller American force. Or perhaps the Taliban will try to leave the area. Either way, it's a trap, as the area is being watched by UAVs, and helicopter gunships and bombers are ready to pounce. There is also a company or more of American infantry waiting to board helicopters, and arrive within an hour if the Taliban make a move. If the Taliban do attempt to fight, or flee, they are immediately attacked, and usually suffer heavy casualties.

November 1, 2005: Overnight, the Taliban chief of Helmland province (on the Pakistani border) was killed, along with a subordinate. Twelve other Taliban were captured. Meanwhile, in the capital, police arrested three terrorist suspects, believed to be planning a suicide bombing attack. Islamic terrorists have very little support among the Afghan population, and the police get plenty of tips about suspicious behavior. Since most of the suicide bomber crews are foreigners, they stand out, and are easy to hunt down.
 

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