Confusing tactics

THE Taliban is moving fighters into Kandahar, planting bombs and plotting attacks as NATO and Afghan forces prepare for a summer showdown with insurgents, according to a Taliban commander with close ties to senior insurgent leaders. THE supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with Western politicians.
Two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan.
Is this a case of HQ not talking to the troops or is it just sloppy reporting?


  • They could be ramping up the pressure to try to negotiate from a stronger position.

    Equally, they could simply be lying about not wanting to run the country.

  • This has more to do with the MSM’s misunderstanding of what they call “the Taliban” than anything else. It’s hardly a monolithic organisation. Both the western media and the average Westerner has no concept of their belief set or values.
    Reminds me uncannily of the misunderstandings about the Vietnamese that were common during the war in Vietnam.

    • I’m sure you can enlighten us Robert, so do so. I t will no doubt cause some ripples and reaction by readers.

  • Who’s in charge of the Taliban?
    Or rather, can anyone control these people where tribal allegiances are the dominant factor?

  • Cav is right. What matters is tribe and family. The notion that there is some highly structured entity called the “Taliban” is a nonsense. I’m not saying there is no threat to our security, but the idea that it is some centrally organised international conspiracy is bizarre and unhelpful.
    That’s a concept the western media has invented.
    The Afghans have a set of values based on their own relatively primitive brand of Islam. Speaking in generalisations, about all these local tribal groups consistently line up on is their attitude to foreigners – universally hostile.
    The rural Vietnamese had an allegiance to family and village based on Confucianism and Animism. The Northerners and Southerners put their historical enmities aside for the duration of the war and cooperated in their opposition to foreigners. The American intervention reinforced Vietnamese nationalism.
    The trinity of family, village and what we westerners call “religion” is what these two vastly different cultures have in common. The fact that there are a couple of generations who have never known anything but conflict adds to the similarity to Vietnam.

    Fortunately, at long last the US military seems to have learned something about counter insurgency warfare, but it took an Australian (David Kilcullen) to get the point across.
    To quote from a review of Kilcullen’s “The Accidental Guerilla” – “He explains that today’s conflicts are a complex hybrid of contrasting trends that America has tended to conflate, blurring the distinction between local and global struggles, and thereby enormously complicating our challenges. The West has continually misidentified insurgents with limited aims and legitimate grievances—‘accidental guerrillas’—as members of a unified worldwide terror network.”
    It’s a pity he wasn’t around 40 years ago.
    You invited me…..

    • The Northerners and Southerners put their historical enmities aside for the duration of the war and cooperated in their opposition to foreigners.

      Then why did the Communists need to invade Sth Vietnam?

      Oh, and there were some Catholics around. Some report over a million catholics fled North Vietnam to escape communism, as you do, and mixed with a large mob already down south.

      Back to the Taliban, yes they are tribal with war lords running the show but they have also shown their ability to work together for the common goal of keeping Afghanistan in the 12 century. They have a leader, Mullah Omar, and although reports say he has troubles with his ‘unruly commander’ there is a structure. Just like the Hydra (multi headed snake) it ain’t easy getting all the heads but it can be done and don’t for a moment think that the US/Nato don’t understand this.

      It is common sport amongst the Left to denigrate the Yanks and that’s fine – The Left get everything else wrong so no sweat – they are just like static on the radio sets. Militarily the Yanks adjust to different circumstances, tactics and strategies but politically they wax and wane.

      If Obama keeps his eye on the ball there will be an outcome.

    • Robert you often refer to Wikipedia, have you typed in Taliban and actually read any of the history etc, or doesn’t what you read fit in with your attempts to stir the pot?

  • Kev
    “Then why did the Communists need to invade Sth Vietnam?”
    The idea of North and South Vietnam was a western construct. It developed because in 1955 the Geneva Accord had promised elections to determine the government for a unified Vietnam. France and the Viet Minh had signed the document, but the United States and Ngô Đình Diệm’s hadn’t, so they refused to abide by the agreement. The pragmatic reason for this was the likelihood that Ho Chi Minh would have won any truly democratic election.
    If you visit one of the many monuments to the fallen in South Vietnam (which resemble in every aspect except scale, the same memorials in every township in Australia), and read the names, you’ll find that the majority are local people from local families.
    The big memorial in Vung Tau is a typical example, and there is another very large shrine in Ba Ria.
    “It is common sport amongst the Left to denigrate the Yanks and that’s fine.”
    It’s not the Yanks being denigrated – but the way they fought the insurgency. The same criticism applies to the Russians in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989 and the French in Vietnam between 1947 and 1954. It has little to do with left-right politics and a lot to do with war fighting doctrine.
    This is the significance of the change in tactics that came with the Surge in Iraq and the recent build-up in Afghanistan. The fact that Australian counter-insurgency doctrine was a significant influence in this change is instructive. I’d argue that the comparative security of Phuoc Tuy in 1971 when the ATF left, and the high esteem in which Australians are still held to this day in today’s Ba Ria – Vung Tau province is a consequence of this.
    Having said that, even if a military “victory” is the outcome in Afghanistan, there is no guarantee that a western style democracy will prevail. Iraq could very easily go the way of Iran, if a Shia based government gains power. Iraq (and North Korea) amongst other recalcitrants sent delegates to the recent Nuclear Disarmament conference staged by the Iranians. –
    The next ten years will tell the tale.
    In any case, old arguments about old wars matter little at this time of the year. The “why” of Vietnam is less important than the “what”, and the memory of those who fought and died there.