Taliban year-end statement: Statistical lies and word of a re-org


The Taliban have issued a ‘year that’s been’ statement for 2009 (Arabic version here, official English version here, PDF of Arabic and English versions here and here).

More of the usual ‘we’re winning, the US is losing, so they may as well leave’ messaging, with a few interesting points:

Holy re-org, Batman!

Moreover, since the spring of 2009, there have been changes in the framework of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. As per instructions of the Leadership Council of the Islamic Emirate, there have been, provincially, new civil and military changes and new recruitments (sic.) that may ensure the success and victory of Afghan Mujahideen and play a major role in them.

In spite of the overall positive tone of the statement, one usually doesn’t re-organize unless one thinks one is not doing as well as one could, or if one is worried about lack of loyalty in the ranks.

More on talks (without talking)

Previous year, the number of the font-line battlers, guerrilla and face-face operations, IED attacks (land-mine blasts) and scores of other and operations and attacks carried out by the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate on the foreign occupation forces and their Afghan minions were several times more than the last few years that brought the arrogant enemy to his knee and forced him to cry for false negotiations and piece talks with the Mujahideen that spoke itself of the of the political and military defeat on the part of the invaders and of achievement on the part o (sic.) the Mujahideen of Afghanistan.

Interesting that, considering at least one senior Taliban boss was denying such talks within the past few weeks.

(More) statistical lies

Let’s see how many deaths the Taliban are taking credit for, shall we?

Foreign troops killed: 5587

Afghan troops killed: 7254

Afghan troops wounded: 2069

Vehicles destroyed: 3667

Aircraft destroyed: 44

Taliban ‘martyrdoms’: 540

With the latest US and Canadian casualties at year’s end, icasualties.org shows a tally of 521 fallen for 2009. That translates to a Taliban claim:reported fallen ratio of 10.7:1. Not as high as more localized claim-to-fallen ratios of around 14:1 in Regional Command – South among Canadian casualties, but still inflated – something to keep in mind when considering other Taliban claims.

The bottom line is that the Taliban appear to be generally reinforcing their message that they’re still winning, with the usual exaggeration of stats but hints of some issues leading to a reorganization of the under-bosses.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post included an incorrect number for the number of fallen in Afghanistan reported by icasualties.org. The correct figure is now included above.

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  • Lisan says:

    This made me chuckle-in a not really amused sort of way. You are right that when a company is in trouble, the first thing that happens is the announcement of a re-organization to “streamline redundant functions.”

  • Minnor says:

    But on the same note, we need to admit coalition casualties were highest in 8 years though we pulled off an election.
    And NATO should release militant deaths and civilian deaths due to combat ops during 2009. Though nato doesn’t give enemy numbers of individual op, it can release collective number.
    By the way, comment link in this article shows http 404 error.


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