Afghanistan: Women And Children First

The Taliban "Summer Offensive" this year is mostly about terror, lots more terror. That means a lot more threats, kidnappings and assassinations. Taliban death squads are targeting government and tribal officials who oppose them. For the first six months of this year, civilian deaths were up 15 percent, although 80 percent of civilian deaths were caused by the Taliban. This gives the Taliban a very bad reputation among Afghans. But due to the number of officials owned by the drug gangs and the Taliban, every civilian death caused by foreign troops (less than 15 percent are) gets a lot more publicity than deaths (usually deliberate, while its usually accidental for foreign troops) caused by the Taliban.  The best way to terrorize the civilians is to threaten even wives and kids. Women and children first, as it were, is the road to victory.

Attacking foreign troops is still a goal, but the Taliban have done the math and discovered that it's a lot cheaper to terrorize civilians. This makes it more difficult for the foreign troops to get information (about Taliban operations) from civilians. Going after police and army commanders can cripple the intelligence networks of the security forces. By hurting the enemy intelligence network, the Taliban are more likely to avoid attack. In the last year, the increased number of raids and patrols by NATO forces has done a lot of damage to the Taliban and drug gangs.

Suicide attacks have not increased this year, but the targets are different. Thus failed attacks against foreign troops have been replaced by successful ones against government officials. These efforts are made easier by corruption, as Afghan security personnel can be bribed. This is why the most senior Afghan officials employ foreigners for their personal security. 

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/afghan/articles/20110720.aspx

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