Taliban to take to the mountains

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Taliban to take to the mountains By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - Information arriving from the Taliban-occupied areas of Afghanistan confirms that they are prepared to lose the capital Kabul and that they are concentrating all of their energies in preparing for a guerrilla war in the rocky mountains of the eastern provinces and around the city of Kandahar.

Sources close to the Taliban have told Asia Times Online that they acknowledge that they will not be able to resist the revitalized forces of the Northern Alliance, which have been pledged Iranian and Russian assistance in their fight for control of Afghanistan.

Even though a Taliban delegation was on Friday believed to be in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials, the Taliban have make it clear that they are not prepared "to share anything with anybody". This is in regard to plans being made by the United States and Pakistan for a broad-based government in which the Pakistanis would like to see some of the more moderate figures of the Taliban regime included.

According to sources, most of the prominent Taliban figures have already left Kabul, leaving behind only a secondary military line to provide at least some resistance to the Northern Alliance, whose forces are concentrated about 40 kilometers to the north. The entire Taliban arsenal of artillery missiles, rockets and armored vehicles has been shifted to the mountainous Logar, Paktia and Nanaghar provinces.

It has been proven over many years that in this inhospitable region it is not men but the terrain that fights the might of powerful armies. This is especially so when snow starts to fall in mid-November, making it impossible for opponents to stage military raids. On the other hand, the Taliban could descend from their mountain bases onto Kabul for lightning raids, and play havoc with any broad-based government with which they do not agree.

Sources say that the Taliban have already started exercises involving the 4th and 9th brigades in the three provinces under the eye of Minister of Defense Molvi Ubaidulla. The brigades are commanded by Mullah Rockety, who shot to notoriety for the kidnapping of a group of Japanese tourists from the Pakistani territory of Balochistan. They were eventually freed after being held hostage in Afghanistan.

In addition to these developments, the ethnic Pashtun Taliban are also cementing support among the Pashtun population on both sides of the border with Pakistan. Pashtun tribes of Afghan origin have been told by the Taliban that any indifference on their part could lead to the establishment of a non-Pashtun secular government in Afghanistan, and it this happens, the tribal leaders will be inviting the wrath of God. This approach is paying off, with support for the Taliban in Pakistan's tribal belt increasing.

Thousands of Afridi tribesmen take to the streets in highly religious and populous Kyber Agency every other day to shout their support for Osama bin Laden. On Wednesday, Maulana Sufi Mohammed of the Tehrike Nifaze Shariat-i-Mohammedi, a group based in Malakand Agency and equipped with the latest military equipment, including anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers and other heavy and light weapons and dedicated to turning Pakistan into a Taliban-style state, announced that he had enlisted 5,000 people to go to the defense of Afghanistan. Militant organizations such as the Lashkar-i-Taiba, the Jaish-i-Mohammed and the Harkatul Mujahideen are are also sending their men.

To reinforce their internal strength, the Taliban are banking heavily on such outside Pashtun support, particularly from the tribes settled in key strategic areas along the Pakistan-Afghan borders.

By playing the ethnic Pashtun card the Taliban are also causing some unease within the Northern Alliance, which is dominated by ethnic Tajiks. Well-placed sources in Peshawer say that pro-Pashtun sentiment is strong among a number of field commanders.

((c)2001 Asia Times Online Co


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), October 05, 2001


The taliban have descended from shit, and they are soon to be va-por- ized! They ain't gonna raid nothing(anything). They are soon to be cast into oblivion, where they belong. The Pashtun may join them next. They ain't gonna play no cards. They are going to be smoked. When the action starts, we wil see how many friends they truly have. They are under THE SCOURGE OF NATIONS! They need to understand this. Just the United States alone could obliterate them if it wasn't worried about harming some innocent country folk. This all just goes to show-that they are truly insane. Being that they are highly dangerous and practicing bad religion, they must be eliminated and all others like them. This is the resort that reasonable nations have been brought to. It is now time to carry out the task. GOODBYE TALIBAN.

-- jimmie-the-weed (thinkasur@aol.com), October 05, 2001.

Nuke 'em all.

-- Jason (jason@mednet.com), October 06, 2001.

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