The Taliban are having more success with paper bullets, than with real
ones. On the ground, over a hundred Taliban fighters have been killed in the
last week, as NATO troops continue their own Spring Offensive, which appears to
have cancelled the long threatened Taliban Spring Offensive. NATO troops are forcing the Taliban to fight,
by going into drug producing areas of Helmand province. This area is Heroin
Central, where a disproportionate amount of drugs are produced. The Taliban
have to try and defend this, because their share of the drug profits pays many
of their gunmen. No pay, and a lot fewer guys will carry a rifle for the cause.
Meanwhile, the Taliban are doing better in the
Information War. They have thoroughly intimidated the French, with both
candidates in the current French presidential contest promising to pull out of
Afghanistan if elected. To help that along, the Taliban released one of the two
French aid workers they had recently kidnapped. The Taliban also have an
information war campaign going against Canada, hoping to strengthen Canadian
anti-war groups sufficiently to get Canadian troops withdrawn. This would be a
major win, because the Canadian troops have been particularly effective against
Unable to score any success against foreign or
Afghan troops, the Taliban go for easy, if empty and expensive, triumphs. The
most typical ones involve attacking a small district capital in a remote area.
These are usually defended by only a few police, and easily overrun. The
Taliban publicists then quickly proclaim "district capital captured,"
knowing that the mass media will pick that up and make it sound like the
Taliban were taking over. The reality is that Afghan security forces and NATO
air power quickly shows up, and usually catch a number of fleeing Taliban. As a result, these propaganda
victories are expensive in terms of Taliban lives, and the Taliban foot
soldiers have come to look at these "conquests" as suicide missions.
The Taliban also tried to convince the world that
their leader, Mullah Omar, and al Qaeda head, Osama bin Laden were still in
charge and supervising operations. Bin Laden has not been heard from since
January, 2006. Back then, his sickly voice was heard exhorting followers to
kill more energetically. But for the last few months, there have been
persistent rumors that bin Laden himself has died of disease.