Friday, September 15, 2006

In search of the Taliban's missing link

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
(Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief)

"Despite spending many millions of dollars, US intelligence, five years after the ouster of the Taliban from Kabul, remains in the dark over the command structure of the Taliban.

The Taliban have a tight high command from where - and this is the mystery - precise orders, such as targets, are relayed to the fighters in the field. Cracking this code is key to putting a brake on the insurgency that gathers strength by the day.

Significantly, the Taliban are now drawing increasing support from the Afghan population. These additional numbers have allowed them for the first time to conduct their own large-scale search operations against NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) troops in the south. As a result, NATO this week requested additional troops, with no success.

What is worth noting is that what is happening in Afghanistan has happened before, against the British many years ago and against the Soviets more recently. This latest battle against a foreign invader is being fought as a classic Afghan war, although the sequence of events is somewhat different."

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