This blog aims to highlight issues and information that don't always make it into the mainstream media. Recognising that comment is cheap, wherever possible it will link you directly to documents and sources that are mentioned in the text.
I realised some time ago that it was impossible to write about Afghanistan without writing about Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. With that in mind, the reader will come across articles that, while not specifically about Afghanistan, in some way shed light on the conflict.
Interesting note from the Jamestown Terrorism Monitor on a new book by former al-Qaeda ideologue and founder, Dr Fadl, that predicts a Taliban victory in Afghanistan. Dr Fadl (real name Sayyid Imam Abdulaziz al-Sharif) was a leading member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, along with al-Qaeda No2 Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, but recanted his beliefs while serving a life sentence in prison in Egypt. He later criticised the 9/11 attacks as both immoral and counterproductive. Now he has published a book in Arabic called Future of the War between America and the Taliban in Afghanistan which gives 12 reasons why the Taliban will win: 1. A successful jihad must be accompanied by a religious reform movement. The religious motivation of the Taliban (as opposed to tribal loyalties or the pursuit of wealth) meets this criterion. 2. The Taliban cause is just, as it seeks to repel foreign occupation. 3. Cross-border tribal bonds with Pakistani Pashtun tribesmen are vital to the jihad’s success; “Loyalty of the Pashtu in Pakistan to the Pashtu in Afghanistan is stronger than their loyalty to their government in Islamabad.” 4. Jihad has popular support from the people of Afghanistan, who provide fighters with support, shelter and intelligence. 5. The nature of the terrain in Afghanistan and the inaccessibility of Taliban refugees make it eminently suitable for guerrilla warfare; “He who fights geography is a loser.” 6. The backwardness of Afghanistan favours the success of jihad. The Soviet experience proved that even a scorched earth policy has little effect on people who are tolerant, patient and have little to lose in the first place. There is little in the way of cultural establishments to be destroyed – Afghanistan’s monuments are its mountains and “even atomic bombs do not affect them.” 7. As the battlefield widens beyond the Taliban strongholds in the south, occupation forces must face increasing financial and personnel losses. 8. Both time and the capacity to endure losses are on the side of the Taliban, who “do not have a ceiling to their losses, especially with regard to lives…” 9. Suicide operations make up for the shortage of modern weapons. 10. After three decades of nearly continuous warfare, Taliban fighters and leaders have the necessary experience to prevail against the occupation. 11. History is also on the Taliban’s side. Despite being world powers, both the British Empire and the Soviet Union failed to conquer Afghanistan. 12. Pakistan’s support of the Taliban provides the necessary third-party refuge and supplies to any successful guerrilla struggle.