Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda Moves East

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December 5, 2007: Al Qaeda appears to be moving its main effort to Afghanistan, after operations in Iraq, North Africa, Somalia and Europe (not to mention North America) have all largely failed. But continued Taliban activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan has provided al Qaeda with one area where they might be able to have a little success. But that will require a change in methods. In the rest of the world, al Qaeda has caused itself lots of problems by using terror tactics against Moslems (who refused to support the terrorists). This approach worked, for a while, but eventually the Moslem victims had enough and turned on al Qaeda. There have already been some clashes in Pakistan, between angry tribesmen, and al Qaeda groups that tried to use force to get what they wanted. To many of the Pushtun tribes along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier, the al Qaeda gunmen are seen as haughty foreigners, who look down on Pushtuns, and are quick to use force on anyone who gets in their way.

To take advantage of this, U.S. forces are talking to Afghan tribes about opposing al Qaeda, and letting the Americans help them do it. The news of what al Qaeda did in Iraq gets around, as does the eventual angry reaction of Iraqis. The U.S. is offering the potentially anti-al Qaeda tribes weapons, equipment and other aid. This might work, as the Afghan tribes are amenable to gifts, especially from someone they have shared interests with.

 


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