Afghanistan: Dying For Cash and Traditions


November15, 2006: Police removed a Taliban bomb from a school in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban see schools as the institution most likely to break the traditional system of tribes and religious conservatism that has kept Afghanistan so poor and badly government for centuries. The Taliban want to preserve the old ways. Many Afghans do not, but this dispute divides tribes, and even families. And the customs are deadly. Corruption, for example, is not seen, by many Afghans, as stealing, but of taking care of your tribe and family. The ancient traditions do not recognize nations, only families and tribes. Thus it is considered OK to go steal from another tribe, or just another clan in the next valley over. They are "others" and thus enemies, or potential victims, and just another way to provide for your own. Changing traditions isn't easy, and in Afghanistan, it involves a lot of violence.

November 13, 2006: The Taliban suffered at least sixty dead in the last week, but were still carrying out about twenty attacks a day. Last March, it averaged about ten a day. Most of the Taliban operations are intended to terrorize villagers out in the countryside. The intimidated civilians then provide shelter and other support for the Taliban. This doesn't always last, either because the local Taliban group gets destroyed by Coalition and Afghan troops, or the villagers get armed help from their tribe, which sends the Taliban off to seek weaker targets. The sharp increase in Taliban activity this year, four times what it was last year, is largely driven by a big jump in the amount of cash available to the Taliban. Most of the several thousand Taliban wandering around southern Afghanistan, are being paid (at a higher rate than Afghan police and soldiers.)

In the southeast, a suspected senior al Qaeda leader, an Arab, was arrested. Police are trying to obtain positive identification.

November 11, 2006: Police captured an al Qaeda suicide bomber who said he was recruited in Pakistan, and offered $16,000 for his family, if he set off a suicide bomb in a Kabul mosque. The bomber was an Afghan refugee living in Pakistan. The captured man knew of another suicide bomber, recruited in the same way, who had set off a bomb on September 30th.

Another group of Taliban were caught in eastern Afghanistan, and at least 25 of them killed.


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