Plenty more where they came from
Posted by aogTuesday, 12 September 2006 at 16:51 TrackBack Ping URL

At Strategy page is an article on the attrition of Taliban forces in Afghanistan, as NATO continues to smash Taliban forces. Strategy Page is unclear on what the Taliban think they’re doing in throwing units at NATO just to have them get smashed up.

Personally, I lean toward either

  1. They’re desperate with two subclauses which are not mutually exclusive
    1. NATO’s slow advance is beginning to really hurt and a desperate counter-attack is better than surrender, especially if it’s only raw recruits who do the dieing
    2. The Taliban are caught in a ideological trap where to not fight is to lose the credibility that sustains them in the hinterlands.
  2. There’s a lot of profit in the attacks for the organizers, even if it’s really hard on the combatants. If the attacks (as seems very likely) are supported by external aid, there’s a lot of skimming opportunity.

Given my cynical view of things, if I had to bet on just one of these I would go with the skimming option.

One of Strategy Page’s possible motives is attrition against NATO, in that even at a 100-1 losses, NATO nations will have their will broken before the Taliban, which is not a totally implausible thing to believe.

The article concludes with this —

Considering the heavy losses the Taliban took this year, are their supporters eager for another round in 2007, or are they dismayed and discouraged?

I think it more likely that Mr. Herdegen is right and there is such an over supply of cannon fodder hard boys that the Taliban won’t suffer from attritional effects for a very long time, if ever.

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