Afghanistan: Taliban Think Smaller and Make Nicer


March 13, 2007: Despite efforts to keep it quiet, information about NATO and American raids across the border into Pakistan are getting out. The raids have captured some Taliban leaders, who were staying in Pakistani villages close to the border. These actions are forcing the Taliban to move their forward bases (for controlling the movement of gunmen across the border into and out of Afghanistan) deeper into Pakistan, and that makes it more difficult to move men and supplies into Afghanistan. Compared to last year, the Taliban are having a harder time moving men and munitions across the border. The Taliban are also bringing more cash with them, as villagers are less eager to just give Taliban fighters food and hospitality (that is, not promptly calling the cops). So "gifts" of cash are more frequently used to buy some support in the villages. The Taliban are operating in smaller groups (under a hundred men), to make them less likely to be spotted from the air.

March 12, 2007: The U.S. is sending another 3,500 troops to Afghanistan, raising the total to 27,000. The U.S. believes that it can deal the weakened Taliban a fatal blow this year, if there are enough American and NATO troops there to do it.

March 11, 2007: The number of Taliban ambushes, and encounters with security forces, is increasing. There are about twenty casualties a day, half of them Taliban.

March 10, 2007: In the last few days, the Taliban have kidnapped three foreigners (an Italian and two Germans) and demanded that NATO forces leave within the week, or the hostages will be killed. The Taliban continue to attack border posts, trying to intimidate the border guards into pulling back, and making it easier for the Taliban to get through using the roads. One such clash today left eight border guards and five Taliban dead.

March 9, 2007: The Taliban attempted to kill a pro-government tribal chief, but only wounded him with a roadside bomb. The Taliban have been using these bombs more frequently, but with much less success, than other Islamic terrorists in Iraq. Bandits are also using roadside bombs, making it easier to rob people (after the bomb goes off).

March 8, 2007: Taliban and drug gang forces in Helmand province have joined forces to keep government police and troops out. Most of the heroin produced in the country comes from Helmand. Meanwhile, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most Islamic of the warlords that fought in the Afghan civil war of the early 1990s, and later joined the Taliban after Iraq was invaded, has offered to switch sides and ally himself with the government. Hekmatyar was never very cozy with the Taliban, considering them puppets of the Pakistani military intelligence. Hekmatyars forces mainly operate in eastern Afghanistan, from bases in

Pakistan. Hekmatyar makes this peace offer periodically, but cannot be trusted to follow through.

March 7, 2007: A senior Taliban leader was caught at a checkpoint near Kandahar, trying to avoid detection by dressing as a woman. Elsewhere in the area, NATO troops uncovered Taliban weapons caches, with the help of tips from locals. In eastern Afghanistan, a Taliban bomb maker was arrested.


Article Archive

Afghanistan: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close