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The Taliban's New Image

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  • The Taliban's New Image

    Last year, before the Afghan elections, the Taliban issued a new manual of conduct aimed at improving its image among Afghan civilians. Given the fact that the Taliban is not exactly a highly disciplined force under tight central control, adherence to the new guidelines has been spotty, but it does appear to more than an empty document. Behaviors are changing, and people are beginning to notice.

    Here are some early analyses from last year.

    Guardian Link


    Islam Online Link

    And here’s a link to al Jazeera’s web site with some images of the manual and some translated passages. Interesting stuff.

    Here’s a recent link to the New York Times and a piece on the emerging effects on Taliban behavior and local reaction.

    Now, what does it all mean? To answer that, let me tell you a story. I’ll try to keep it brief.

    Back in the late 1970’s the US played around with some tactical ideas to stop Soviet mechanized ground assaults in Europe. A lot of ink got spilled on the Soviet use of multiple echelons in the attack and a detailed counter to this was developed which supposedly was The Answer to Soviet doctrine. Fortunately it never got a test drive fortunate because that would have been an ugly war and also fortunate because our magic plan to defeat Soviet multi-echelon attacks was stupid.

    In World War II the Soviets started the war with a doctrine which called for multiple attack echelons. The Germans piled everything up front and broke one echelon after another, preventing Soviet breakthroughs. So ...




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