Military & Aerospace

US Military Surge in Afghanistan
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Issue Vol 25.1 Jan-Mar2010 | Date : 13 Dec , 2010

The Taliban carries out its psy war through audio and video recordings, handouts, ‘night letters’ newspapers, journals, magazines and books. Mobile phones are used to send text messages. Taliban national anthems are played on mobile phone ring tones. Websites are updated with Taliban battlefield achievements, highlighting civilian atrocities perpetrated by “foreign rulers”. Sobriquets like “Infidels”, “invaders”, ”traitor”, “collaborators”, “corrupters”, “puppet regime”, “traitor government”, appeal to the national sentiment of the proud and freedom loving Afghans. While this propaganda campaign wins them local support, frequently changing military tactics, manages to keep the ISAF troops guessing, defensive, frustrated, tempting them to use air power which causes more civilian casualties and makes their counter insurgency effort more unpopular.

Rise of Taliban

The current state of military dynamics is such that in much of the rugged, rural and sparsely populated country, a sustained presence by the US-NATO troops has became tenuous, one of the key reasons for the exit policy announced by Obama. Even the Taliban is not in control of any one single area – but a guerilla force that it has now morphed into, it is not its endeavour to do so. Having learnt from its initial mistakes, it rarely gives pitched battles. In fact in the face of the recent ISAF operations, Operation Panther Claw and Operation Khanjar the Taliban just melted in the face of heavy artillery, air power and lived to fight another day. In fact, in response to these operations, on 06 July 09, the Taliban announced launch of a guerrilla operation code named ‘Foladi Jal’, meaning ‘Iron Net’. Holding territory for the ISAF forces even with force accretion will be an impossible task. A village may be “pro ISAF” one day and “pro Taliban” the next.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Rohit Singh

Rohit Singh is a Research Assistant at the Center for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)

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