14
Oct
10

INSIDE TALIBANISTAN

INSIDE TALIBANISTAN

FROM A DISTANCE, YOU MIGHT THINK THE TALIBAN IS A MONOLITHIC ENEMY. FAR FROM IT.

By Peter Bergen, Biran Fishman, and Katherine Tiedemann

After a summer ot souring reports on Ihe state of the war in Afghanistan, the “surge” of 30,000 additonal U.S. troops now in place. And not a moment to soon: U.S. President Barack Obama has already pledged to make a decision in July 2011 about how many trops bring home. So the window of time in which to contain or sufficiently weaken the taliban is rapidly closing. The problem is, the “Taliban” doesn’t really exist-or least, not in the way the term is normally used.

The original movement was a pakistan-supported militia built around a core of well-armed Afghan religious students (“Taliban” means “students” in Pashtun) that took power in the mid-1990s. But today the term has become meaningless, used to describe virtually any militant organization in Afghanistan and many in Pakistan-though they sometimes diverge widely in their allegiances, targets, and strategies.

Here’s a guide to understanding one’s enemies: not the Taliban, but the Talibans.

AL QAEDA
Key figures: Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Size: 50-100 in Afghanistan, 300 in Pakistan
Base: Pakistan’s tribal areas, primarly North Waziristan
Modus operandi: Training and inspiring other militants, attacks in U.S. and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Connections: Al Qaeda’role is mostly inspirational at this point, though it works with the TTP and the Haqqanis to conduct attacks locally and continues to plot attacks abroad. Bin Laden broke his pre-9/11 religious oath of obedience to Mullah Omar by attacking the United States and today support attacks on Pakistan over the Taliban leader’s continues and public objections.
Major attack: Cooperated with TTP to attacks a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, in December 2009, killing secven CIA employess and contractors.

HEZB-I-ISLAMI
Key figures: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Size: Uknown, but the weakest of the three primary Taliban factions in Afghanistan
Base: Kunar, Nangarhar, in Afghanistan; Afgan refugee camps outside Peshawar, Pakistan
Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S., NATO, Afghan targets in Afghanistan
Connections: Hezb-i-Islami has long been linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan but is also considered to group most likely to reconcile with the Afghan government

TEHRIK-I-NIFAZ-I-SHARIAT-I-MUHAMMADI (TNSM) / SWAT AND BAJAUR TALIBAN
Key figures: Sufi Muhammad, Maulana Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad
Size: Uknown
Base: Swat Valley and Bajaur
Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S. and NATO force in Afghanistan and Pakistan Army
Connections: The TNSM predates the Taliban movement by several years and was founded by radical clereic Sufi Muhammad in the late 1980s. Although there are reports of coordination with the TTP, the TNSM and the Swat Taliban have no known operational connections with the Quetta Shura, despite the group’s leaders’ admiring comments about Mullah Omar in the past

LASKAR-E-TAIBA (LET)
Key figures: Hafiz Muhammad Saeed
Size: Several thousand
Base: Pakistani Kashmir and Punjab
Modus operandi: Primarly attacks on Indian targets, growing interest in Western targets
Connections: Although LET was traditionaly a Kashmir-focused militant group, its November 2008 coordinated attacks on expat spots in Mumbai demonstrated its growing interet in attacking Western targets, under the influence al Qaeda. Certain cells within the group also have connections to the TTP
Major attack: Mumbai, 2008

SIPAH-E-SAHABA PAKISTAN, LASHKAR-E-JHANGVI (LEJ), JAISH-E-MOHAMMED (JEM)
Key figures:
Size: Several hundred in the FATA
Base: Punjab, but all have some presence in the FATA
Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S., Pakistani, Shiite, and Indian targets
Connections: These largely sectarian groups have historical ties to Pakistani intelligence and links to al Qaeda and the TTP
Major attack: 2002 murder of Daniel Pearl

UNAFFILIATED SECTARIAN AND CRIMINAL GROUPS
Key figures: Mangal Bagh, Omar Khalid
Size: Uknown, but likely several hundred to low thousands
Base: Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand
Modus operandi: Includes two rival groups in Khyber, Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansar-ul-Islam, which aim to impose sharia locally and raid convoys in the Khyber Pass. The Kurram groups are more focusing on attacking Shiites
Connections: Loosely allied with TTP

TEHRIK-I-TALIBAN PAKISTAN (TTP)
Key figures: Hakimullah Mehsud
Size: Up to 20,000 allied fighters across the FATA
Base: North/South Waziristan/Orakzai
Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan Army
Connections: An umbrella group of local militant organizations that joined in the December 2007 under the late Baitullah Mehsud. Throught its three years of formal existence, the TTP has provided suicide bombers to the Haqqanis and the Quetta Shurra
Major attacks: December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, October 2009 attack in Pakistani Army headquarters (with LEJ)

HAQQANI NETWORK
Key figures: Jalaluddin Haqqani and son, Sirajuddin
Size: Uknown, but a large faction of the Taliban in Afghanistan
Base: North Waziristan, Pakistan
Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S., NATO, and Indian targets in Afghanistan
Connections: Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin hold positions in the Quetta Shura, the rulling body of Mullah Omar’s Taliban, and their network supplies 90 percents of the fighters in eastern Afghanistan. But the group operates independently, harbors al Qaeda, and sometimes protects TTP members. It has also cooperated with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence to attack Indian targets in Afghanistan
Major attack: July 7, 2008 bombing the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 54.

TALIBAN IN AFGHANISTAN
Key figures: Mullah Omar
Size: 25,000-30,000
Base: Quetta, Pakistan
Modus operandi: Insurgency in southern Afghanistan
Connections: Nearly all militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) nominally defer to Mullah Omar’s leadership, but the Taliban in Afghanistan’s operational reach is strongest in southern Afghanistan. Protected by Islamabad, Mullah Omar does not support attacks within Pakistan
Major attacks: Responsible for the majority of U.S. military casualties in Afghanistan

Source: Inside Talibanistan, Foreign Policy, 11/10/10

Converted by W K net
Republished by Kajian Internasional Strategis

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2 Responses to “INSIDE TALIBANISTAN”


  1. October 16, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Obama needs to start telling the truth about the real reason we are at war in Pakistan (and Afghanistan) – namely the Chinese-built deep water port in Gwadar, Pakistan – which will guarantee China a virtual monopoly on Iranian oil and natural gas. I blog about this at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/09/26/iran-china-and-the-gwadar-port/

  2. November 8, 2010 at 5:40 am

    It? s the first time I have heard that in Macedonia, obits are an unusual observe. You have wonderfully written the post. I have liked your way of writing this. Thanks for sharing this.


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