MIssed Opportunities in Kandahar

November 9th, 2010

The following is excerpted  from Anand Gopal’s paper released by the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, “The Battle for Afghanistan: Militancy and Conflict in Kandahar.” The paper is available here.
The Victor’s Hubris and the Failure of Reconciliation
Just as Kandahar was falling, fissures appeared in the Taliban movement. As most of the [...]

Talking to the Taliban: Who’s Under Pressure Now?

October 22nd, 2010

On an evening this past spring, near midnight, a land cruiser pulled up to the house of a government official in Kandahar city. The vehicles carried a senior Taleban figure, sent by Mullah Omar, and some tribal elders. That night the group met secretly with a leading Afghan official and discussed [...]

The Paradox of Boots on the Ground

June 29th, 2010

On a balmy summer’s day in the village of Hiratian in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, locals found the body of eight-year-old Dilawar hanging from a tree of a small fruit farm. Taliban fighters had accused the boy of spying for the American forces and had kidnapped him, strung him up and left his body to sway [...]

Qayyum Zakir: The Taliban’s Rising Mastermind

April 30th, 2010

Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan —In the days leading up to the launch of a major US military offensive in the Afghan town of Marjah in February, Taliban commanders in the area received a surprise visit.
It was from a charismatic man of medium build, intense eyes, and a knack for fiery oratory. In a brief meeting, he [...]

Pakistan Arrests Senior Taliban Leaders

February 24th, 2010

KABUL–Pakistan has arrested nearly half of the Afghanistan Taliban’s leadership in recent days, Pakistani officials told the Monitor Wednesday, dealing what could be a crucial blow to the insurgent movement.

In total, seven of the insurgent group’s 15-member leadership council, thought to be based in Quetta, Pakistan, including the head of military operations, have been apprehended [...]

Taliban Says it Won’t Meddle in West if Troops Are Withdrawn

December 5th, 2009

KABUL–The Taliban said in a statement Saturday it would provide a “legal guarantee” that they would not intervene in foreign countries if international troops withdraw from Afghanistan, the closest the movement has come to publicly distancing itself from Al Qaeda.
The Taliban have “no agenda of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and is [...]

U.S. Tries New Tack Against Taliban

November 28th, 2009

KABUL — The U.S.-led coalition and the Afghan government are launching an initiative to persuade Taliban insurgents to lay down their weapons, offering jobs and protection to the militants who choose to abandon their fight.
While President Hamid Karzai’s government has been trying to woo these insurgents for years, the new program marks the first time [...]

Taliban Punish Voters In Wake Of Afghan Elections

August 27th, 2009

KABUL — The Taliban are attempting to exact revenge on Afghan voters and disrupt the ballot count — part of a campaign to exploit the political uncertainty after last week’s presidential election and try to undermine the results.
Since the Aug. 20 election, Taliban fighters have launched nearly a dozen attacks. They have severed the fingers [...]

Afghan Villagers Attack Taliban

July 20th, 2009

Villagers attacked the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, a rare instance of locals turning on insurgents after being promised aid money and security by the government.
Friday’s confrontation was welcome news for Afghan and U.S. authorities, in what is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest months for the U.S-led coalition since the start of the [...]

Taliban announce ‘countersurge’ in Afghanistan

April 30th, 2009

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The militants have vowed to launch a new offensive against the US and its allies, which are preparing to increase troop levels.
The Taliban have vowed to launch a new offensive this summer in Afghanistan against the government and the foreign soldiers stationed there. The [...]