Target Centermass

4/17/2005

General Predicts Taliban’s Demise

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:18 pm

The U.S. commander in Afghanistan has predicted that the Taliban would cease to even resemble a cohesive military threat shortly. Surprisingly, the Taliban agrees.

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan predicted Saturday that the Taliban militia would collapse as a viable fighting force over the next several months as rank-and-file members accept a reconciliation offer from the Afghan government.

Lt. Gen. David W. Barno warned, however, that remaining Taliban extremists financed and trained by al Qaeda allies may attempt to compensate by staging a high-profile attack in Afghanistan within the next six to nine months.

“As these terrorists’ capabilities grow more and more limited, the hard-core fanatics will grow more and more desperate to try and do something to change the course of events in Afghanistan,” Barno said at a news conference in Kabul, the capital. “I expect they will be looking … to garner media publicity and to try and score some type of propaganda victory.”

Yes, matters are progressing, but they are not safe. Things are not secure by a long shot when the enemy knows that there are headlines yet to be grabbed. But now, on to the interesting part of the story.

Earlier Saturday, a senior Taliban official said in an audio tape released to the Reuters news agency that militia leaders were planning to shift from guerrilla warfare to terrorist-style attacks.

Maulvi Abdul Kabir, who is considered second in the Taliban hierarchy, said the group was training suicide bombers to target government officials, foreign forces and aid workers in major cities and to infiltrate various security forces.

“The change of tactics is an easy way for us to have a longer-term war of attrition and would also not cost many lives for us,” Kabir reportedly said on the tape.

Please allow me to translate for you:

Dear Reuters,

That great spring offensive we’ve been threatening? Forget about it.

We took a headcount recently and decided it was time to think outside the box. Outside the killzone, actually. First, we repeatedly got our asses handed to us on the battlefield by forces that were generally only assisted and supported by the Americans. After that series of failures swept us from our cruel, despotic rule, we bravely switched to guerrilla tactics. Okay, so our record was dismal in that, as well, and we were unable to dent the growing legitimacy of the new government or severely harm the Americans. Oh yeah, we were also getting shredded. That tends to harm morale, we admit.

Now, we have bravely decided to become the thugs and terrorists the world already knew us to be. In this, we may be able to kill more innocents while bravely saving some of our own asses.

Sincerely,
the Taliban

And just how good is the Taliban at terrorism? Well, of course they’re a threat, but they’ve still got some things to work on before their reign of terror can really take hold.

Several incidents have also been reported in Kabul in the past several days, including the discovery of a small amount of TNT on a trash truck attempting to enter the U.S. military headquarters compound Thursday.

Lt. Cindy Moore, a military spokeswoman, said the explosive material, which was stuffed in the well of a headlight and detected by a bomb-sniffing dog, was very degraded and not attached to a detonating device. Moore said she did not know the driver’s nationality or whether that person had been detained.

Foreign workers in the capital have been on edge since last Sunday, when armed assailants seized a U.S. citizen and forced him into the trunk of a car. According to U.S. Embassy officials in Kabul, the man used a lug wrench to unlock the trunk from the inside and jumped out of the vehicle while it was speeding away. Afghan investigators have arrested three suspects in the incident.

Oops! It’s good to see that in terrorism, as in so many other matters, the devil is in the details.

Now, back to that amnesty program.

Neither Barno nor Afghan officials would disclose how many Taliban members have accepted President Hamid Karzai’s reconciliation offer, which seeks to bring in members hiding in Afghanistan or in other countries. Under the arrangement, Taliban members must recognize the legitimacy of the elected government in exchange for assurances that they will not face arrest by foreign or Afghan forces.

Human rights groups and some Afghans say they fear the offer will enable many former Taliban members to escape justice for past wrongdoing.

Members of Karzai’s administration have stressed that the offer does not constitute a permanent amnesty program and does not extend to roughly 100 top Taliban leaders implicated in serious crimes. A commission charged with determining the exact details of the program has progressed slowly, but some Taliban members have already begun negotiating with U.S. military commanders and Afghan officials.

And here’s the money shot.

Barno said he believed that large numbers of the Taliban force, which once numbered in the thousands, would eventually accept the offer.

“More and more Taliban realize they don’t want to be in this fight that goes against the tide of history here in Afghanistan any longer,” he said.

It’s good to have news of progress for the good guys confirmed by both sides.

2 responses to “General Predicts Taliban’s Demise”

  1. The Taliban is Toast
    Excellent details with quotes from prominent officials and such are available over at Target Center Mass. However, I prefer the following summary:

    Dear Reuters,

    That great spring offensive we’ve been threatening? Forget about it.

  2. Raven says:

    As always Gunner, you bring it all together so it makes sense, and you put humor into it.

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