Monday, December 04, 2006

Yeah, it can get worse

Syed Saleem Shahzad of Asia Times Online (recently a captive of the Taliban) on the Taliban:
For obvious reasons, Abdul Jalil was not prepared to go into too much detail about precise Taliban activities. But what can be gleaned is that hundreds of others in Kandahar like Abdul Jalil have been drawn back into the ranks of the Taliban.

The main reason for this is the change in mood in the Pashtun areas, from being ambivalent - if not even hostile - toward the Taliban, to fully supporting them.

Almost all the tribes of the Pashtun heartland of Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, the traditional rulers of modern Afghanistan since the 18th century, feel that they are now politically deprived and that the occupying forces do not trust them.

Repeated aerial bombings of civilians have also played right into the Taliban's hands and ordinary people, tired of being innocent targets over the years, now welcome the Taliban's foot soldiers.

Thus people like Abdul Jalil, who had been prepared to abandon the Taliban, are once again active in the movement.

Two of Abdul Jalil's house guests were Mehmood and Hamid, both in their late 20s, about the same age as their host, who appeared to be senior to them in matters related to the Taliban.


"Brother, the situation has changed now," said Mehmood. "We go out and ask for contributions for the resistance and come back with our pockets full of money and resources. Some traders have taken on the responsibility of recharging credit in satellite phones and they supply prepaid cards worth Rs3,000 [US$50] every month. Others purchase blankets and jackets, vegetables, meat and flour, and some contribute cash. We supply all this to different fronts."
London Daily Telegraph:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Senior Pakistani officials are urging NATO countries to accept the Taliban and negotiate a series of regional peace agreements similar to those that Pakistan has reached in tribal areas along its border with Afghanistan.

Prior to last week's NATO summit in Latvia, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri told foreign ministers from some NATO member nations that the Taliban was winning the war in Afghanistan and that NATO was bound to fail.

"Kasuri is basically asking NATO to surrender and to negotiate with the Taliban," said one Western official who met the minister recently.

British Lt. Gen. David Richards, NATO's force commander in Afghanistan, and Dutch Ambassador Daan Everts spent five days in Islamabad before the summit urging the Pakistani military to do more to rein in the Taliban, but left less than fully satisfied.

Lt. Gen. Ali Mohammed Jan Orakzai, governor of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, said in an interview with Reuters news agency late last month that U.S. and British military actions in Afghanistan were merely feeding a "snowballing" insurgency.
NATO announced the deaths of 70 - 80 Taliban fighters today, AP.


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