Return of Jihadi

Ansari, Massoud
October 2003
New Republic;10/27/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 17, p13
Though the Western media has reported that the Taliban are reemerging in southern Afghanistan, staging attacks on the U.S.-led coalition, the coverage obscures a more frightening development. They're die-hard young Pakistanis, trained across the border in religious schools and commanded, in a centralized organization, by the reclusive Mullah Omar and his aid, Mullah Dadullah. And they have a clear, plausible strategy for gaining control of Afghanistan: wear down their opponents with guerrilla attacks until they flee--just like in 1996, the first time the Taliban came to power. There have been sporadic attacks against coalition forces since the war ended in Afghanistan two years ago, but, in recent months, the scope and number of attacks have increased sharply. In the most devastating recent attack, some 400 Taliban militiamen gained control of an entire district of Zabul Province for a few hours in August, where they hoisted the spartan white Taliban flag, killed at least 29 Afghan soldiers, and announced that anybody found cooperating with U.S. forces or their "puppet government" would face grave consequences.


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