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Thread: The Taliban collection (2006 onwards)

  1. #81
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Incredible

    I'd take this report with a large dose of scepticism; is such publicity designed to disable any talks between the Karzai government and Hekmatyr?

    There was a recent UK Channel Four report that Kabul was a city under siege; see link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/ar...-bombings.html The TV report is on this, but may not work outside the UK: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/u...world/catch-up

    Peter Oborne's despatch reminded me that is Hekmatyr's forces who bombarded Kabul for months during the civil war i.e. before the Taliban's appearance. Hardly encouraging for those who live in Kabul.

    I am mindful that one provincial governor was or is Abu Sayyaf, whose name is linked to a terrorist group in the Phillipines (unable to quickly verify from Google search). He too fought against the Soviet supported regime and choose to be loyal to the Kabul government after US intervention.

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    Default Gulbuddin Hekmatyar backgrounder

    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his group, according to Peter Bergen, received huge amounts of US aid, and of Saudi aid also:

    Author Peter Bergen states that "by the most conservative estimates, $600 million" in American aid through Pakistan "went to the Hizb party, ... Hekmatyar's party had the dubious distinction of never winning a significant battle during the war, training a variety of militant Islamists from around the world, killing significant numbers of mujahideen from other parties, and taking a virulently anti-Western line. In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid, Hekmatyar also received the lion's share of aid from the Saudis.[21]"

    21. Bergen, Peter L., Holy war, Inc. : inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden, New York : Free Press, c2001., p.69

  3. #83
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default What Does Taliban Mean?

    Senator Jim Webb was on Face The Nation this weekend and made the comment that Taliban means Guvmint. So I looked it up.......dosen't mean that exactly but the answer is very revealing.

    Link 1.
    http://www.islam-watch.org/ImranHoss...an_factory.htm


    Link 2.
    http://www.islam-watch.org/ImranHoss...an_factory.htm

    Anybody know how correct this is or is not?

  4. #84
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That's a version of a lot of things...

    To answer your direct question, a literal translation of Talib or Taleb is "A Person in need (of something)" in Arabic. It is popularly used for 'student.' The normal plural would be 'tullab' in Arabic but the Pashto plural is to add the 'an (Which in Arabic makes it 'two students'). A large batch of Koranic students out of the Paksitani Madrassas became the best organized and the largest of many factions in Afghanistan after the USSR departed. Since they were mostly students and were quite religious, they called themselves the Students; the Taleb An in Pashto. They later became the de-facto government is Afghanistan.

    The world Talib is also used for 'seeker,' context dependent, in Arabic, Urdu and Pashto. It's also a popular name for boys in both India and East Africa. Abu Talib was the uncle of Mohammed and the Father of Ali, the founder of the Shi'i sect of Islam.

    Webb as he often does opened his mouth before engaging his brain...

    Those links posit some stuff that has been said and / or corroborated by others and refuted by still others. The owners acknowledge they're apostate Muslims. Some of their stuff is over the top but most is sorta reasonable. Viewers choice...

    P.S.

    David is right below -- I should have clarified that those were Afghan Students out of the Pakistani Schools and that it was an Afghan aggregation. It was supported to an extent and partly funded by Pakistan -- and Saudi interests...
    Last edited by Ken White; 09-28-2009 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Addendum

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    It depends on the context the term is used. When most westerners refer to the "Taliban" in the context of the Afghanistan opposition group, they are talking about the "Quetta Shura" which did control most of Afghanistan, was a de facto government (if not de jure) and seeks to regain its former status.

  6. #86
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    It depends on the context the term is used. When most westerners refer to the "Taliban" in the context of the Afghanistan opposition group, they are talking about the "Quetta Shura" which did control most of Afghanistan, was a de facto government (if not de jure) and seeks to regain its former status.
    Is this why they say there is a good Taliban and a bad Taliban so to speak?

  7. #87
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Good and bad Taliban

    Slap,

    Is this why they say there is a good Taliban and a bad Taliban so to speak?
    I suspect the concept of the good and bad Taliban has been around for awhile, but has gained momentum intellectually with authors like David Kilcullen and in-country by those double-dealing types who try to split off the good from the bad.

    It always amuses me that few outside Afghanistan and those immersed in the country know how many ex-Taliban or ex-Mujh defected before 2001 - notably Abu Sayyaf (sorry unable to readily find a source for this as Google returns the group named after him).

    I know of one in-country observer of the Taliban regime who thought their initial practical appeal - bringing law and order - was a smokescreen for their known "radical" views on religion. When they gained local and swiftly wider, not national power, many locals learnt the hard way what Taliban rule meant. That said the ruling elite were Afghans and not "volunteers" from Pakistan.

    davidbfpo

  8. #88
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    You're thinking of this distinguished Afghan lawmaker and noted Friend of bin Laden. Sayyaf was the one who invited bin Laden back to Afghanistan after he got booted from the Sudan.

    However Abdul Sayyaf was never a member of the Taliban, a good example of the narcissism of small differences.

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    Default Talib

    First, they do not speak Arabic in Afghanistan, and while, like English, there are Arabic terms in Pashtu and Dari, in Pashtu the focal point for the term Talib is student. As used by the Afghani, Talib means student, Taliban is plural for student and they are usually drawn from the Madrassas. Omar's group were in fact his students.....

    Western press, as is often the case to make things simple, attribute the term to all insurgents in Afghanistan. This is incorrect. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has his HIG, and the Haqqani's are rulers of the Haqqani Network. While there is interaction with the groups, each, as noted, is under its own Shura Council.

    Mullah Omar leads the Quetta Council, Mullah Bradder the Geri Jangle Council, and we have the Peshawar Council.

    Hekmatyar and the Haqqanis operate in the same general area, Omar in the South and Brader in the West.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Is this why they say there is a good Taliban and a bad Taliban so to speak?
    Maybe so. President Karzai, for example, used to be in Omar's Taliban, but quit when it became too radical. Probably not a good example

    Seriously though, I'm don't really know except to say, like others noted, that "Taliban" means "students" and, like anywhere, there is a spectrum of political and religious belief in Afghanistan.

  11. #91
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default

    Hebrew for "Student" is Talmid - not so far off, I would submit.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  12. #92
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default

    So basically it is students from madrassas that engage in revolutionary/insurgent warfare?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    So basically it is students from madrassas that engage in revolutionary/insurgent warfare?
    It depends. It depends on whatever rules you want to set up for yourself. You may wish to use the term for the taliban regime that existed in Afghanistan and supposedly now operates from Quetta. Or you could follow the example of the locals in the tribal areas of Pakistan and refer to the local Islamist groups (loosely affiliated with the afghan variety, but not necessarily under tight control of Mullah Omar) as taliban. Or you could use it as a semi-pejorative term for all wannabe jihadis all over the world. In India, you can even use the term "Hindu taliban" when you want to attack the Hindutva fascists (they have their own religious fanatics and can be very bloodthirsty, as seen in the massacres in Gujrat state). The Hindutva fascists will then call all their critics "taliban", meaning they accuse them of being islamist sympathizers or fellow travelers....and so on.
    What Imran Hossein says about mosques and islamic centers is exaggerated but not totally untrue. All muslims (even all "observant muslims") are certainly not terrorists or even terrorist sympathizers, but orthodox Islam (not just some "misunderstanding of Islam") developed in a time of Islamic supremacy and was closely associated with the rise and success of the early Arab-Islamic empire. The laws and theology that evolved were in line with the needs of that imperial religious state. They are harsh about dealing with apostates (by definition, traitors to the cause) and blasphemers and relegate other religions to subservient status or worse (pagans get it bad, Christians and Jews not so much). They are also big on holy war since you cannot have an imperial state without a motivated imperial army. By the standards of the age, I dont think that caliphate (and we are primarily talking of the peak of the Abbassid caliphate as most of the theology and all the legal codes date from that period) was particularly intolerant. In fact, a very good case can be made that they were remarkably tolerant by contemporary standards (remember, this is the time when European Christians were launching massive genocidal campaigns of forced conversion and purification in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, not to speak of local actions like the genocide of the cathars, which actually happened well after the Abbasids had said good bye). But no current European state idealizes those actions (or laws like the whipping you could get for not going to church on Sunday in Calvinist Geneva), but Islamist discourse ran into some kind of mysterious brick wall 800 years ago (mongols??) and hasnt moved much since then (not in Sunni lands, the shia are actually more flexible). So if you become an observant Muslim, you dont necessarily become a medieval islamic supremacist because even observant muslims dont usually read and closely follow those legal codes, but you do acquire a general idea that orthodox Islamic law (shariah law) is some sort of beautiful ideal (but one you have never actually consulted). Then one day some moron approaches you in the mosque to convince you that you need to start hating the infidels a bit more; you are not convinced, but he gets you the books and lo and behold, they do actually talk of hating infidels, waging holy war and beating recalcitrant wives. At this point, said observant muslim can either silence his inner fanatic and avoid his new found friend in the mosque (a choice that is far more common than Imran Hossein implies: human beings tend to know which side their bread is buttered, even observant muslims tend to know that) OR he or she can gradually become more and more fanatical and some small but non-trivial subset will start to dream of the lesser jihad....welcome to the shoe bomber.

  14. #94
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    It depends. It depends on whatever rules you want to set up for yourself. You may wish to use the term for the taliban regime that existed in Afghanistan and supposedly now operates from Quetta. Or you could follow the example of the locals in the tribal areas of Pakistan and refer to the local Islamist groups (loosely affiliated with the afghan variety, but not necessarily under tight control of Mullah Omar) as taliban. Or you could use it as a semi-pejorative term for all wannabe jihadis all over the world. In India, you can even use the term "Hindu taliban" when you want to attack the Hindutva fascists (they have their own religious fanatics and can be very bloodthirsty, as seen in the massacres in Gujrat state). The Hindutva fascists will then call all their critics "taliban", meaning they accuse them of being islamist sympathizers or fellow travelers....and so on.
    What Imran Hossein says about mosques and islamic centers is exaggerated but not totally untrue. All muslims (even all "observant muslims") are certainly not terrorists or even terrorist sympathizers, but orthodox Islam (not just some "misunderstanding of Islam") developed in a time of Islamic supremacy and was closely associated with the rise and success of the early Arab-Islamic empire. The laws and theology that evolved were in line with the needs of that imperial religious state. They are harsh about dealing with apostates (by definition, traitors to the cause) and blasphemers and relegate other religions to subservient status or worse (pagans get it bad, Christians and Jews not so much). They are also big on holy war since you cannot have an imperial state without a motivated imperial army. By the standards of the age, I dont think that caliphate (and we are primarily talking of the peak of the Abbassid caliphate as most of the theology and all the legal codes date from that period) was particularly intolerant. In fact, a very good case can be made that they were remarkably tolerant by contemporary standards (remember, this is the time when European Christians were launching massive genocidal campaigns of forced conversion and purification in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, not to speak of local actions like the genocide of the cathars, which actually happened well after the Abbasids had said good bye). But no current European state idealizes those actions (or laws like the whipping you could get for not going to church on Sunday in Calvinist Geneva), but Islamist discourse ran into some kind of mysterious brick wall 800 years ago (mongols??) and hasnt moved much since then (not in Sunni lands, the shia are actually more flexible). So if you become an observant Muslim, you dont necessarily become a medieval islamic supremacist because even observant muslims dont usually read and closely follow those legal codes, but you do acquire a general idea that orthodox Islamic law (shariah law) is some sort of beautiful ideal (but one you have never actually consulted). Then one day some moron approaches you in the mosque to convince you that you need to start hating the infidels a bit more; you are not convinced, but he gets you the books and lo and behold, they do actually talk of hating infidels, waging holy war and beating recalcitrant wives. At this point, said observant muslim can either silence his inner fanatic and avoid his new found friend in the mosque (a choice that is far more common than Imran Hossein implies: human beings tend to know which side their bread is buttered, even observant muslims tend to know that) OR he or she can gradually become more and more fanatical and some small but non-trivial subset will start to dream of the lesser jihad....welcome to the shoe bomber.
    Thank you for the explanation, it is very impressive.

  15. #95
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field

    On Monday 23 November Dr Antonio Giustozzi, Research Fellow at the Crisis States Research Centre at the London School of Economics, spoke on his edited book “Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field” (C Hurst & Co, 2009). Described as 'the authority on the Taliban'.

    Speech: http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-p...-afghan-field/ (27 mins) and Q&A (37mins). I had a snag as the volume was too low to listen easily.

    Dr Antonio Giustozzi is a research fellow at the Crisis States Research Centre at the London School of Economics and has already authored “Empires of Mud” (C. Hurst. & Co, 2009), “Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007” (C Hurst & Co, 2008), and “War, politics and society in Afghanistan, 1978-1992” (Georgetown University Press, 2000). He is currently researching various aspects of governance and politics in Afghanistan and has written several articles and papers on this subject, covering 'warlordism', the formation of the new Afghan National Army, the Afghan insurgency in the 1980s and state building. He previously served in the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (2003-4).
    davidbfpo

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    Default Taliban strategy to capture foreign troops and civilians

    All,

    I thought I would highlight this since it is open source and to ensure wide dissemination. The Quetta Shura Taliban, in one of their publications, advocates capture operations of coalition troops and foreign civilians. More at the link and here.

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    Entropy:

    The Taliban run such an effective PR and media operation.

    I was particularly intrigued by the glossy and photo-filled "In Fight" Magazine, which I, at first misread as "In Flight" magazine, conjuring up odd images of a snappy regional airline which they could use to move fighters and hostages around on---airline snacks? a menu?

    That article, however, indicates that from now on they want to keep the hostages local. I guess their won't be any airline snacks?

    Steve

    PS- Please burn this article after reading it. None of us contemplating a triptique for that lovely destination want our wives and kids to see it.

  18. #98
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Another book

    Revealing the inner workings of the Taliban from its earliest days, a new autobiography by a senior former member, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, throws extraordinary light on the people who are fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, co-editors of My Life with the Taliban, a memoir by the former ambassador to Pakistan.
    Link: http://frontlineclub.com/events/2010...e-taliban.html with a podcast of the launch meeting.

    Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Taliban-A.../dp/1849040265 (no reviews on site, there are others elsewhere). Just found Ahmed Rashid includes a sharp review, at Point 6, in a wider comment on the situation: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23630
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-10-2010 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Add links
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  19. #99
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Taliban Are Still Here to Stay

    I am sure SWC have discussed the Taliban in many ways, but possibly not under this heading.

    SWC member Melissa Payson co-authored an article 'The Taliban Are Still Here to Stay' here:http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-a...-here-to-stay/

    Melissa has worked both sides of the Durand Line and was last working in North Waziristan.

    Just a few quotes:
    The only real solution to both nations’ existential crises is to engage directly in politics that are local, tribal, and perpetual. With the clock ticking rapidly for NATO to deliver stability in South Asia, success will depend on a paradigm shift in the West’s ability to grasp and act upon this.
    Point 1:
    First, the local. Both NATO forces and the Afghan government are meant to follow the current Marja battles with a governance strategy of winning over Taliban commanders and fighters and engaging villages in economic reconstruction projects.
    Point 2:
    Engaging directly with the tribal population must be the second pillar in any partnership...Any effective strategy must acknowledge and integrate the permanent staying power and territorial legitimacy of the Pashtuns....
    Finally:
    Finally, we have to come to terms with the perpetual nature of negotiations with local and tribal populations. A longer time horizon can save us from repeating the mistakes of the past, such as focusing solely on military solutions and attempting to buy off capital elites. To avoid Afghanistan becoming another Vietnam, these will have to continue long after Obama has brought the troops home.
    Amidst the "spin" over Marjah, the ambiguities of the "round up" of the Quetta Shura and far more - now the SWC can comment.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-28-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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  20. #100
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    I really have a hard time with alarmist statements like "existential threats." Like all forms of name calling, it is designed to cause people to shut down their rational thinking processes and react emotionally instead.

    As to the "Taliban being here to stay." That may well be true, but at the same time no call for undue alarm. Afterall, are not "Protestant Christians" here to stay as well? In the 1500s statements like that may have been a great rallying cry for a Holy Roman Empire which employed a Catholic Christian ideology to control its populace. But most would probably agree that Protestants were a necessary evil, and have evolved considerably over the years. They are here to stay, but they are not an "existential threat." to anybody.

    I think most analysts have their noses to close to these problems, both in time and space, to see them clearly. We need to do a better job of stepping back and gaining clearer, more rational perspectives.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 03-01-2010 at 08:31 AM.
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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