Afghanistan: Where the Present And The Future Are The Enemy

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October 2, 2006: Over the past week or so, the rate of hostile incidents, though still higher than in comparable periods in the past, has declined rather noticeably. This is attributed to the onset of Ramadan. No one expects the relative lull to continue. The rate of attacks has always risen in October, as the Taliban tries to get in a few good blows before the onset of bad weather. By mid-December the harsh weather will make military operations extremely difficult in much of the country. By then, the Taliban would like to be able to control the maximum amount of territory, so that it can spend the Winter recruiting and indoctrinating fighters and preparing for next spring.
Meanwhile, despite having extensive borders with the Central Asian republics and Iran, virtually all insurgent activity is either in the eastern or southern regions of Afghanistan, along the Pakistani frontier. Only about 5-6 percent of incidents occur in the other half of the country
October 1, 2006: Over the last nine months, some 2,400 people, mostly Taliban, have died in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban tried to establish control over rural areas with large groups of gunmen. Since many of these groups were fill of (or entirely) Pakistanis, they could not easily just fade into the local population. These Taliban groups stood and fought Afghan and Coalition forces, and lost. Typically, the Taliban lost 10-20 men for every Afghan or Coalition dead.
September 30, 2006: Taliban activity out of Pakistan (Taliban crossing into Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan) has tripled since Pakistan made a deal with the tribes along the border. The tribes were supposed to stop Taliban and al Qaeda activity, but this did not happen. Pakistan insists that the deal is working, but no one on the Afghan side believes this. What the ceasefire deal has done is reduce fighting between Pakistani troops and tribesmen. That is very important to the Pakistanis, while fighting across the border in Afghanistan is less of an issue.
September 29, 2006: Afghanistan is the poorest nation in Asia. For example, only six percent of Afghans have electricity. The rest live a 19th century life, with 19th century life expectancies, and many with medieval outlooks on politics and religion. The Taliban attacks progress because they know that, when Afghans enter the 20th or 21st centuries, economically and culturally, they no longer care for the Taliban. To the Taliban, the present and the future are the enemy, the past is where these Islamic conservatives prefer to dwell.
September 28, 2006: The Taliban and al Qaeda are carrying out one or two suicide bombings a week. Most use bombers on foot, or bicycle, as these are easier to get past, or around, security. Most of the victims have been Afghans.

 

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