Afghanistan: May 12, 2004


American and Afghan troops, using more, and better, information from local civilians, have been arresting, on average, several Taliban suspects a day. There are still groups of Taliban out in the hills, and waiting in ambush along the roads (especially the newly rebuilt ones.) 

There are now some 20,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and two years of work on setting up an intelligence network among the tribes and backcountry villages has provided enough information to make it practical to go in with hundreds of patrols each week to try and flush the remaining armed Taliban groups out. The many more numerous unarmed (or at least not actively fighting) Taliban appear willing to give democracy a chance. But the pro-Taliban tribesmen with guns are the big problems, and now they have a fight on their hands. The Americans know where many of these guys are because local Afghans are now talking, and turning in their trigger happy neighbors. 


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