The Taliban strategy

The World

The Taliban wasn’t known for suicide attacks but in the past year it’s carried out at least 130 of them in Afghanistan. This man of the London think tank the Senless Council says the symbolism and intent of yesterday’s attack is clear, �We’re looking at classic asymmetric attack against a soft, high profile, Western target within the country. the move is partially to remove Western forces and influences from the country. therefore this is part of that pattern.� He has been tracking Taliban activity in Afghanistan. He says the movement still has the capability to cause a lot of damage, �There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of young men willing to blow themselves up, whether or not they come from over the border in Pakistan is open to question. But we know there is a definite trend within Afghanistan towards suicide attacks. Remember of course the culture of Afghanistan is completely against suicide attacks, so this is a real movement in the country and a big one.� It has the potential to be effective too. The Taliban hasn’t had much success against NATO’s sophisticated military machine. Now it is attacking Westerners in relatively unprotected places like the Serena Hotel. That infuriates this Brigadier General and the military spokesman for the NATO led international security assistance force in Afghanistan, �They do this in Kabul because they know exactly what they want to achieve, you know? To get the attention of the international media and to convey an impression that in Kabul the life is unbearable and insecure and in a very chaotic situation. But that message they want to convey internationally does not correspond at all to the situation on the ground.� He worries that people outside the country will get the impression Kabul is a war zone. It’s not, he says; it’s a vibrant city full of traffic and commerce where people enjoy relative security. Of course a few more attacks like this one could cause a drastic change. The Senless Council analyst says if the pattern continues, Kabul could become more like Baghdad, �If this can be viewed as a one off, then hopefully life in Kabul will get back to relative normality quickly. However if this pattern is repeated time after time, then I think what you will see is a shrinking of the area within the capitol than can be �safely inhabited by Western interests� there, such as the Green Zone in Western Baghdad.� The military spokesman rejects any comparison to Baghdad. He says the situation in Kabul is completely different and to paint it otherwise would be irresponsible.

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