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Thread: The Taliban collection (2006 onwards)

  1. #61
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    Wouldn't the religious and tribal aspects of the Taliban make using a communist model problematic? Any similar patterns from the current conflict and the Talibans actions vs the SU and after the SU withdrawal? I would trust those models more personally.
    Reed
    I don't know that you can write off the Giap/Ho model as being simply a communistic model. While the leadership was certainly communist, the framework proved pretty flexible. That and the model itself could be easily lifted and modified to follow any number of settings and/or ideologies. I tend to think it's a mistake to assume that any model is automatically restricted based on the ideology of either those who created it or the leanings of the most famous practitioner. Restrictions or limitations based on social organization (i.e., the Cuban model or aspects of the National Socialist strategy) make more sense to me.
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  2. #62
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Default Has there been a generational change?

    Earlier models of insurgency spend a great deal of time building and preserving a cell structure while establishing a shadow government, a (semi-)legitimate political front, and eventually creating 'no-go' areas within the region. There has to be some form of sanctuary (historically geographical, and often in a different sovereign region) from the beginning, and usually external financial and material support.

    AQ has written a new script. Their public statements assert that their plan is that
    "NO one should feel safe without submitting to Islam, and those who refuse to submit must pay a high price. The Islamist movement must aim to turn the world into a series of "wildernesses" where only those under jihadi rule enjoy security."
    , Sheik Abu-Bakar Naji, in "Governance in the Wilderness". Rather than methodicly building up their capabilities, they are trying to disrupt their opponents and move in to the security void. They are not bothering with much in the way of a legitimate political front in the system (like Sinn Fein), but establishing a new political system in vacuums (like the Taliban). Much of this is done exploiting 'wannabes', viral disemination of TTPs, and rather than doing things themselves, encouraging others to do things for them.

    What has stayed the same; the need for sanctuaries (although some aspects of traditional sanctuaries have migrated into the internet), and the need for financial and material support. Zakat (Islamic charitable donations mandated by the Koran) is a natural source of income, as they sell themselves as a "holy" cause, and historically, terrorists routinely use conventional crime as income source. I'm not saying AQ is in the opium business, but they would surely be tempted by it, and if their not in it, the 'good Muslims' in the trade have to make Zakat somewhere... Of course, there are many illicit and profitable trafficks in Central Asia, one of the more novel ones being the smuggling of birds of prey.

    I think the AQ model is well suited to a theologically based movement, which explains the departure from the traditional models which were ideologically and politically based.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Earlier models of insurgency spend a great deal of time building and preserving a cell structure while establishing a shadow government, a (semi-)legitimate political front, and eventually creating 'no-go' areas within the region. There has to be some form of sanctuary (historically geographical, and often in a different sovereign region) from the beginning, and usually external financial and material support.

    AQ has written a new script. Their public statements assert that their plan is that , Sheik Abu-Bakar Naji, in "Governance in the Wilderness". Rather than methodicly building up their capabilities, they are trying to disrupt their opponents and move in to the security void. They are not bothering with much in the way of a legitimate political front in the system (like Sinn Fein), but establishing a new political system in vacuums (like the Taliban). Much of this is done exploiting 'wannabes', viral disemination of TTPs, and rather than doing things themselves, encouraging others to do things for them.

    What has stayed the same; the need for sanctuaries (although some aspects of traditional sanctuaries have migrated into the internet), and the need for financial and material support. Zakat (Islamic charitable donations mandated by the Koran) is a natural source of income, as they sell themselves as a "holy" cause, and historically, terrorists routinely use conventional crime as income source. I'm not saying AQ is in the opium business, but they would surely be tempted by it, and if their not in it, the 'good Muslims' in the trade have to make Zakat somewhere... Of course, there are many illicit and profitable trafficks in Central Asia, one of the more novel ones being the smuggling of birds of prey.

    I think the AQ model is well suited to a theologically based movement, which explains the departure from the traditional models which were ideologically and politically based.
    Van,

    Great analysis, the kind I was looking for. As to your last - is AQI theology that different in its objective than say communist theology? Insurgents have often said military salvation comes from political conversion of the masses, what new aspect does Talibanistic Islam add to the mix over any other ideology?

    Niel
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  4. #64
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    is AQI theology that different in its objective than say communist theology? Insurgents have often said military salvation comes from political conversion of the masses, what new aspect does Talibanistic Islam add to the mix over any other ideology?
    Ya' know, the moment I mashed the 'post' button, I had a feeling this would come up.

    The short answer is that under communist (or any other political ideology), when you're dead, you're dead. Under a Christian or Jewish theological ideology, there's an after-life, but suicide is a ticket right to the bottom of the eternal cludgie.

    With the taliban's flavor of Islam, the desire to live is sinful if it doesn't expressly support Jihad. And if a young man dies in Jihad, his chances for finding romance improve dramaticly. Normally, I'm all about fighting an enemy who is ready to die for his cause, we have the same endstate in mind. These guys take it all the way around the bend.

  5. #65
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    Default Hmmm...

    Van,

    I can see your point as it pertains to the pointy end of the spear, but I'd argue we just be talkin' tactics with regard to the differences.
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  6. #66
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Hacksaw,
    The strategies are fundamentally different. In classic insurgency, you build up a structure in an environment controlled by an existing political structure; AQ's new model is to undermine an existing structure with a barely coordinated/semi-viral organization until it collapses, then move in. At first glance the AQ seems nihilistic, but the apparent nihilism is step 1... At this level, one major difference is that most historic insurgencies had a political campaign but that is optional for Islamic based insurgency, as they do not distinguish between matters of religion and matters of politics.

    Islamic aspirations to Caliphate are their 'supreme ultimate' under divine guidance, where communist ideologues were at best useful-idiot true believers. Given that the communist followers were under the impression that they were fighting for workers, equality, etc, there was common ground to undercut the ideology through negotiation. AQ does not allow that; convert and accept the caliphate, or die.

  7. #67
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Not to put too fine a point on it...

    Van,

    Are we talking of the Taliban in AFG, or are we talking AQ and some sort of "global insurgency"? You seem to float between the two.
    I know the two are related in some ways but they are not synonymous.

    To characterize the AQ ideology (movement if you want) writ large as a Global insurgency would seem to stretch the definition of insurgency beyond its useful purpose. AQ is most at odds with the muslim world most of all. It seeks a fundamental revival that it sees as only possible with the removal of western influence.

    Taliban is fighting the newly constituted government, it serves the purposes of AQ, but it can more properly be characterized as an insurgency. However, I don't see why we would deem people who blow themselves up as some new form of insurgency. Rather tactics, despicable in the sense that individuals are manipulated in such a way and certainly a difficult tactical challenge, but don't see how it fundamentally changes the way we think about COIN
    Hacksaw
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    However, I don't see why we would deem people who blow themselves up as some new form of insurgency. Rather tactics, despicable in the sense that individuals are manipulated in such a way and certainly a difficult tactical challenge, but don't see how it fundamentally changes the way we think about COIN
    I have to agree with Hacksaw here. An analog is the use of Kamikazee attqcks by the Japanese in WWII. Simply another way of attacking ships that required more air defense firepower to blow the plane completely out of the air before it could be flown into a ship.

    Now, American perceptions that the Japanese would fight and die to the last person in defending the home islands caused the US to select a different strategic approach to ending the war in the Pacific--use a stand off attack of massive destructive capability rather than storm ashore and fight toe to toe in a conventional way. If all Afghan insurgents/Taleban were also suicide bombers, Van's point about a strategic difference would get more purchase, IMO. However, doesn't appear to be any compelling evidence for seeing the adversary from that point of view.
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  9. #69
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    Default If you take away the fact that your dealling with

    human beings, whats the difference between IED's,VBIED's, SB's except the preparation and deployment process.

    Wouldn't you still want to focus on the Pre-prep and prep phases just the same. It may sound callous but is it not still a reality?
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  10. #70
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    Default Intrepid reporting

    Might fit elsewhere, but seems appropriate to add here - a report from The (London) Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...old-guard.html

    davidbfpo

  11. #71
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    That's a good story about Taliban motives. I don't know how much you can extend the characterization to all Taliban/ACM, but it's a good corrective to the common notion that the Taliban are motivated first by religion.

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    ICOS, 8 Dec 08: Struggle for Kabul: The Taliban Advance
    While the international community’s prospects in Afghanistan have never been bleaker, the Taliban has been experiencing a renaissance that has gained momentum since 2005. At the end of 2001, uprooted from its strongholds and with its critical mass shattered, it was viewed as a spent force. It was naively assumed by the US and its allies that the factors which propelled the Taliban to prominence in Afghanistan would become moribund in parallel to its expulsion from the country. The logic ran that as ordinary Afghans became aware of the superiority of a western democratic model and the benefits of that system flowed down to every corner of the country, then the Taliban’s rule would be consigned to the margins of Afghan history.

    However, as seven years of missed opportunity have rolled by, the Taliban has rooted itself across increasing swathes of Afghan territory. According to research undertaken by ICOS throughout 2008, the Taliban now has a permanent presence in 72% of the country. This figure is up from 54% in November 2007, as outlined in the ICOS report Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the Brink. Moreover, it is now seen as the de facto governing power in a number of southern towns and villages. The increase in their geographic spread illustrates that the Taliban’s political, military and economic strategies are now more successful than the West’s in Afghanistan. Confident in their expansion beyond the rural south, the Taliban is at the gates of the capital and infiltrating the city at will.

    Of the four doors leading out of Kabul, three are now compromised by Taliban activity. The roads to the west, towards the Afghan National Ring Road through Wardak to Kandahar have become unsafe for Afghan or international travel by the time travellers reach the entrance to Wardak province, which is about thirty minutes from the city limits. The road south to Logar is no longer safe for Afghan or international travel. The road east to Jalalabad is not safe for Afghan or international travel once travellers reach the Sarobi Junction which is about an hour outside of the city. Of the two roads leaving the city to the north only one – the road towards the Panjshir valley, Salang tunnel and Mazar – is considered safe for Afghan and international travel. The second road towards the north which leads to the Bagram Air Base is frequently used by foreign and military convoys and subject to insurgent attacks......
    Complete 40-page report at the link.

  13. #73
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    Default "Inside the Taliban," Mail & Guardian (ZAF) Online, 23 Dec 08

    Some highlights from this article....
    ..."Salar is the new Falluja," said Qomendan Hemmet emphatically. "The Americans and the Afghan army control the highway and 5m on each side. The rest is ours." Salar district in Wardak province lies 80km south of Kabul. The Kandahar-Kabul passing through it is a major supply line for United States and Nato troops. Like the Baghdad-Fallujah road, it is littered with holes from improvised explosive devices and carcasses of burnt-out Nato supply trucks and containers....
    Hemmet is a Taliban veteran who started fighting against the Northern Alliance forces in the mid-Nineties, when he was 17. He went into hiding after the capital fell, becoming the commander of the Salar district after the previous leader died three years ago. "Against the Northern Alliance we fought face to face. This war is more difficult, the enemy controls the skies and they have many weapons. Sometimes I am scared. But we yearn for fighting the kafirs [unbelievers]. It's a joyful thing."
    Mullah Muhamadi, one of Hemmet's men, arrives wearing a long leather jacket and big turban. "This is not just a guerrilla war, and it's not an organised war with fronts," he said. "It's both. "When we control a province we must provide service to the people. We want to show them we can rule, and we are ready for when we take over Kabul, that we have learned from our mistakes." Muhamadi said his group aimed to carry out about three attacks a week, but they did not always have enough ammunition. "Each area has a different strategy. Here it's attacking the main road, but everywhere in this province the countryside is in our control."
    He said the Taliban's main problems were bandits and land disputes, and that in solving them "we win the hearts of the people". "We went from the jihad to the government and now we are in the jihad again. We have learned from our mistakes. The leaders are the same but the fighters are new and they don't want to be like those who ruled and made mistakes."
    "I convince them that the Taliban are coming. We use all the facilities we have, our words and our pens to recruit for the movement, in the university, the bazaar and everywhere in the city." The irony is that he is using the freedom of speech provided by the Afghan government. "There is free speech now and we are not scared of the government. We work cautiously, we talk to the people as if we are talking about political and daily issues. The government is too weak to monitor us."

  14. #74
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Default Mujahid delink from Taliban

    http://pakobserver.net/200905/01/news/topstories04.asp

    Afghan insurgents delink from Taliban
    Akhtar Jamal

    Islamabad—Afghan insurgents known as “Talilban” are apparently disassociating themselves from more brutal Taliban militants in Pakistan and have even stopped calling themselves as Taliban.

    A close study of statements issued by Afghan Taliban showed that for some time they have ceased using the word Taliban and have began calling themselves as “Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

    According to area experts the move is apparently designed to de-link with brutal Taliban who are getting highly unpopular due to recent atrocious moves and horrifying killings of kidnapped prisoners.

    Afghan experts saye that Mullah Omar and his close acquaintances had more than once denounced any action inside Pakistan and had ordered concentration only against “occupation foreign forces.”
    More at the link. Very interesting development, and frankly, one I'd expected long before this. Very few places in A-stan are the Taliban well-loved.

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    Default New group ? -

    is it new wine with an old label ? Or, just the same wine and bottle ?

    The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was the name given to the nation of Afghanistan by the Taliban during their rule, from 1996 to 2001.

    Some links to blogs which seem connected - here, here & here.

  16. #76
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    Default IEA still in use in AFG

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was the name given to the nation of Afghanistan by the Taliban during their rule, from 1996 to 2001.
    And the term still used by Afghanistan's Taliban in its statements, like this one (.pdf, link to non-terrorist page)

  17. #77
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    I wouldn't doubt if the answer isn't "yes" to both questions. It could be various mujahideen separating themselves from Taliban, and it could also be Taliban attempting to relabel themselves. And possibly simultaneously.

    It could also be incompetent reporting, as well.

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    Default Not a good subject for armchair analysts ...

    e.g., JMM. But below are some Wiki links (which might be used as a start to a lot of Googling). Probably best to keep in mind that Taliban generically means students - so, the "Taliban" are not a monolith.

    Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM, English: Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law) - These are the folks in Swat and Buner creating recent news, led by Sufi Muhammad bin Alhazrat Hassan (commonly Maulana Sufi Muhammad), and his son in law Maulana Qazi Fazlullah. This group is an offshoot from Jamaat-e-Islami (Pakistani political party founded in 1941 by Syed Abul A'ala Maududi).

    All above not to be confused with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP; Students' Movement of Pakistan) is a mainstream Taliban militant umbrella group in Pakistan, with apparent closer ties to Mullah Omar and UBL. Baitullah Mehsud is the leader of the pack, which came together ca. 2007-2009.

    All of this gets more complicated, as per the following from the last link:

    [edit] Leadership dispute
    On March 27, 2009, Pakistan's Daily Times reported that Baitullah Mehsud's group was engaged in a dispute with a group lead by Qari Zainuddin Mehsud for control of South Waziristan.[38] The Daily Times described Qari Zainuddin as the "self-appointed successor of Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud." Both groups had distributed pamphlets leveling accusations against the other groups' leader. Qari Zainuddin stated that Baitullah's group was not practicing jihad because Islam forbids suicide attacks. Baitullah's pamphlet claimed that Qari Zainuddin was a government puppet and a traitor to Islam and to the Mehsud tribe.[38] Qari Zainuddin was reported to have the support of Maulvi Nazir, a senior Taliban leader, and to have allied with the Bhittani tribe.[38]
    Note 38 sources to this article.

    Anyway, the "Taliban" are not a monolith - with quite a bit of linking and de-linking in "its" history.

    Best I can do from my armchair on a Sunday afternoon.

  19. #79
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    "It could also be incompetent reporting, as well. " (120mm)

    -or just another opium war

  20. #80
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6256675.ece

    ONE of Afghanistan’s most wanted terrorists is to be offered a power-sharing deal by the government of President Hamid Karzai as the country’s warlords extend their grip on power.

    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is on America’s “most wanted” terrorist list, is to hold talks with the Kabul government within the next few weeks.

    Hekmatyar is the leader of Hezb-i-Islami, which has been fighting Nato troops alongside the Taliban. The hardline group is responsible for many attacks in the eastern and central regions, including the massacre of 10 French soldiers in Sarobi last year. It controls Kapisa province, just 50 miles north of Kabul.
    And now the deals can be made. Not too long ago, we were rolling Hezb-i-Islami into the Taliban. Now they used to fight alongside the Taliban. Next thing you know, they'll be allies and Afghani patriots.
    Last edited by 120mm; 05-10-2009 at 09:50 AM.

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