NATO commanders believe that the Taliban are planning a more
aggressive operation in the Spring, using groups of up to a hundred men to
attack small towns, especially local government headquarters. These towns often
have only a dozen or so policemen, and some armed locals. Coming in at night,
the Taliban can take over, get some propaganda videos, and have a chance of
getting away before government or NATO reinforcements show up. The Taliban are
fighting a media war, as they have no chance of winning a military victory at
this point. The Taliban believe that, in the long run (years, a decade or more)
they will win. After all, God is on their side. But in the meantime, the
Taliban use terror to eliminate those who oppose them, or scare their Afghan
opponents into silence. Thus when the Taliban temporarily take over a town,
they can round up their local opponents, threaten them and, in some cases,
murder a few. Schools and government buildings are burnt down. All this sends a
message, even if the Taliban then must flee from approaching army or NATO forces.
The Taliban will also make greater use of civilians as human shields, as
dead civilians make great anti-NATO propaganda. While only a few dozen Afghan
civilians were killed in this way, the local and foreign media was all over it.
Much more so than the hundreds of Afghan civilians the Taliban killed or
4, 2007: Mullah Omar, the long time head of the Taliban, says he has not seen
Osama bin Laden since 2002. Omar still has a lot of support from Pushtun
Islamic conservatives on both sides of the border.
3, 2007: In 2006, Islamic terrorists launched 116 suicide attacks in
Afghanistan. This left 395 people dead (29 percent suicide bombers, 52 percent
civilians, 14 percent security personnel and five percent NATO troops). Last
year there were only 18 suicide attacks.
30, 2006: The Taliban issued a press release stating that they would
renew their offensive operations in the Spring.
29, 2006: In the south, where Winter is less harsh, there are still small
groups of Taliban running around. One group was caught and ten were