Afghanistan: April 19, 2004


Every Spring, for the last three years, the Taliban has launched attacks in southern Afghanistan. These operations have been particularly ineffective this year. Indeed, the Taliban violence has gotten weaker and weaker over the last two years. The reasons for this are many. Afghan government and provincial security forces have increased, and gotten more training, in the last two years. Negotiations, by the central government and American Special Forces (who are expert at this sort of thing) has developed relationships with pro-Taliban tribes in southern Afghanistan. While many of these tribes are still pro (or at least tolerant of) Taliban, it is now possible to negotiate with these groups (and not have to just charge in with guns blazing.) The ability to talk to pro-Taliban tribes means you can collect information on who is actually carrying a gun for the Taliban and who is harboring "foreigners" or dealing with Taliban groups across the border in Pakistan. Equipped with this knowledge, contacts and more abundant Afghan fighters, it has been possible to exercise more control over the border area and more quickly intercept and destroy groups of Taliban gunmen who are up to no good. 


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