Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From the biding our time file

Perspective on the attack in Kabul on Sunday:
"These spectacular attacks in the cities will undermine support for the government and the Coalition. The Taliban are now nationally an advanced phase II (Strategic Stalemate) insurgency with an increasingly capable propaganda capability. They face a Coalition and government without a comprehensive strategy (we'll see if ISAF signs on to the recently approved Afghan National Development Strategy after the Paris Conference). The chief of the Coalition, GEN McNeill, has just reminded the country that the international community does not plan to stay by suggesting a name change from 'International Security Assistance Force' to 'Interim Security Assistance Force.' What better way to reinforce the standard Taliban propaganda that the Coalition may have the watches, but the Taliban have all the time.

The Taliban will not defeat the Coalition or the Afghan Army at this point on the battlefield during a fair fight. Nor are they going to try.

Yesterday's attack was just another reminder at how much better they are than us not on the battlefield (the attackers were killed and captured) but in the theater of national will."
More here:
This is, sadly, an enormous propaganda coup for the Taliban, who have seen their cachet in Afghanistan increase during an escalation of activity over the last year that had previously peaked at the attack on the Serena Hotel. The implications are dire: for years, the running joke has been that Karzai is only the Mayor of Kabul and not President of the country; this attack, which is the second deadly attack on high-profile targets in Kabul in four months, demonstrates just how little control he has even over Kabul. What’s worse is, the apparent ease with which two fire teams got within a few hundred feet of the President indicates that increasing segments of the population are allowing militants to roam freely.

Whether this stems from ideological similarity, fatigue with the international community’s systemic and quite intentional neglect, or simple fear remains to be seen. But the dynamic this portends is ominous indeed. Arif Rafiq sees this as the dread Spring Offensive. I don’t; this was a jab, not a movement. But it very easily could become one. That, along with the very poor way this reflects on Afghan security forces, is the deeper danger.
We're giving the Afghan people a few more years, yes, but the Taliban are giving them their lifetimes...