Sep 20 2009
It seems as though Pashto-English translation at the Associated Press of Taliban bigwig Mullah Omar’s latest propaganda blast about Afghanistan leaves much to be desired. Here’s what’s showing up on the news sites:
Today we have strong determination, military training and effective weapons. Still more, we have preparedness for a long war and the regional situation is in our favor. Therefore, we will continue to wage jihad until we gain independence and force the invaders to pull out.
This version seems much more reliable:
Today we have brainwashed fanatics, experience in burning down schools and shooting acid from water pistols into girls’ faces, and a good number of mentally retarded kids we can use as unwitting suicide bombers. Still more, we have preparedness for a long war because violence and deprivation is really all we can offer. Therefore, we, not including the 93 per cent of Afghans who want the Taliban out of Afghanistan, will continue to wage jihad until we restore the Taliban thugocracy and allow this territory to be used to plan and launch attacks once more against everyone we don’t like — pretty much everyone except us.
I don’t even know a word of Pashto, but I figure that’s got to be the more accurate version.
My friend Terry Glavin offers some real insight into the situation on the ground that seriously belies the Taliban’s bravado and also questions growing defeatism in the face of the jihadis’ terror tactics:
This is nothing like conventional warfare, because we’ve already won that war. As a conventional fighting force, the Taliban were thoroughly and utterly crushed, years ago. It is worth remembering that in June, 2001, the Taliban massed 25,000 heavily armed fighters and another 10,000 Arabs, Chechens and other foreign mercenaries against the Northern Alliance. They couldn’t try anything like that now.
“Assymetrical warfare” doesn’t quite capture the current state of affairs. The Taliban are arrayed against the Afghan people (among whom perhaps four per cent are Taliban supporters), the Afghan National Army, the United Nations, an embryonic Afghan state, and soldiers from 41 ISAF countries. But all it takes is maybe $2,500 and four or five mentally-retarded 11-year-olds in order to carry out a wave of suicide bombings that can be counted on to set off an eruption of defeatist panic and hand-wringing hysteria in pretty well every English-language newspaper on earth.