Counter-Terrorism: For A Few Dollars More

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May 26, 2010: Afghan police broke up a Taliban effort to organize a mass attack, with nearly 300 rockets, on Kabul. This was to take place on May 29th, during a peace conference involving hundreds of tribal representatives, government officials and elected politicians. The police arrested the men who had been paid to move 293 122mm rockets (with a range of 20 or 30 kilometers) to the outskirts of the city. Another group of men were to be paid $240,000 to carry out the attack. Suspicious civilians apparently provided tips that led to this crew getting busted.

The Taliban, like their Sunni Arab counterparts in Iraq, pay for most of the terrorist violence. While some of the Taliban are true believers, who will fight for free, everyone has to eat and obtain other necessities (like ammunition and weapons.) Some Taliban have families to support, and all have families they belong to. The families don't appreciate seeing their kids getting killed while working for any group. Without compensation, that is. It's the law of the hills, and if you can't meet your payroll, you have no army. That's why the Taliban began their comeback when their fundraisers found the drug gangs, and made a deal. The Taliban provide security services for the drug lords, and get lots of cash (and some drugs) in return.

Thus the Kabul attack was going to cost about $400,000, and gain the Taliban a lot of publicity. But such attacks mainly kill civilians, making most Afghans willing to inform on them. This, to the Taliban, is simply a cost of doing business. Such informers are killed whenever found out, and the Taliban increasingly send their death squads after police commanders who have been successful, especially if they use informers. The Taliban also use their cash to buy information, or cooperation. Such commercialized loyalty is more acceptable in Afghanistan, and often works. But most Afghans see the Taliban as a bunch of dangerous zealots, who are, in the long run, dangerous to everyone.

 

 


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