Counter-Terrorism: Taliban Tagged as Vicious Losers

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January 24, 2007: The Taliban violence in Afghanistan last year did not make the Islamic radicals very popular among the very people they insist they are fighting for. This can be seen from the number of suicide bombers who are being arrested, usually as a result of tips from citizens. During a one week period in early January, eleven suicide bombers were captured around Kandahar, the southern city that is (or, rather, was) the "capital" of the Taliban movement. 

A more telling sign is the recent Taliban announcement that they will set up their own schools. First for boys, and then for girls. The Taliban destroyed or damaged over 200 schools last year. The only schools the Taliban will allow are those that emphasize religious studies, and especially instruction in the benefits of dying for Islam. Most parents prefer the more modern approach, where practical subjects dominate the curriculum. The Taliban is trying, in its own bumbling way, to compromise. Last years operations were largely all about terrorizing villagers to not cooperate with the government. That included threatening thousands of teachers, beating many, and killing twenty of them. The teachers were popular, and the Taliban actions were not. 

Another annoyance was the large number of the Taliban fighters who were from far away, mainly Pakistan. Al Qaeda also sent in some Arabs and Central Asians, and these guys were not very popular either. By the end of 2006, the Taliban tactics has terrorized many Afghans into compliance. But many others were actively resisting the Taliban, and providing information to NATO and Afghan troops. Over the Winter, the Taliban have continued to take a beating. This means the Taliban appear ready to enter this years Spring Offensive tagged as a bunch of vicious losers. The Taliban tactics have been more successful in generating fear, than recruits. Even across the border in Pakistan, it's getting difficult to get smart young fellows to sign up. Those guys with half a brain noted that most of those who went off to fight last year, either didn't come back, or came back wounded or ill. However, the Taliban fighters will be back, but the 2007 models will not be of the same quality as the 2006 ones.

 

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