Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mullah Dadullah: The Taliban's Violent Commander

Der Spiegel has an ominous article on the new Taliban general, Mullah Dadullah, the reorganization of the Taliban in their Pakistani NWFP safe havens, and Dadullah's decision to invest heavily in suicide bombings.

Western intelligence agencies warn that the Taliban now have "their own star" in their struggle against Western soldiers and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. The new nightmare from the Hindu Kush Mountains is called Mullah Dadullah. He sports a pitch black beard, always wears a military jacket and these days, he is omnipresent in the media.

Bloodthirsty propaganda is everywhere in northern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. Virtually every CD salesman in Peshawar is selling the latest films released by the Taliban leader. "Oh, you want the Dadullah tapes," says one. "They're very popular right now." He disappears for barely a minute and then returns with an entire stack. He charges about €3 ($4) per film. Those who buy several get a discount. But he doesn't want his picture taken. He says Pakistani police already causes him enough trouble when they find terror DVDs in the suitcases of journalists at the airport.

The images on these DVDs reveal the Taliban's self confidence and new professionalism. The films herald a bloody spring in Afghanistan, one in which Western troops will face a newly strengthened Taliban army under a re-organized leadership. Well armed and better logistically organized than ever before, the Taliban are preparing for their fight against the hated NATO troops, whose alliance has recently shown signs of internal division. "They say it will be the decisive summer," says a man who occasionally drinks tea with the Taliban commanders.

Read the whole article. There is only one way to defeat an enemy that will not surrender, and that is to take the offensive to to attack them wherever they are found. That means that the Taliban cannot be allowed a safe haven anywhere. Pakistan will either have to take control of the NWFP, or NATO will have to do it for them.

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