It’s not much, but it jumped out at me. Usually, Taliban propaganda references to Afghan troops or government officials use the term “puppet”. For example, from today:
…. In another news, the NATO and U.S invading terrorists backed by their Afghan puppet terrorists, after having faced ten days of hardship and hunger in Marjah ….
This latest interview attributed to the Taliban’s spokesperson for southern Afghanistan, Qari Muhammad Yousuf, (Scribd.com version) includes the usual exaggerated stats about ISAF and Afghan casualties. How they referred to Afghan security forces, though, is different:
Destroyed tanks 78
Foreign troops killed 382
Destroyed ranger vehicles 4
Domestic soldiers killed 36.
Could this be part of what some see as a “kinder, gentler” Taliban campaign while NATO is paying kinetic attention to Marja (more here and here)? The Arabic version of the same interview refers to “customer” casualties (a variation of the “puppet” messaging), so it could also be a translating glitch on the part of the Taliban Info-machine (Scribd.com version in Arabic here, and Google English translation of Arabic here).
Still, nice messaging or not, I’m going to bet my buck on the Taliban staying nasty once NATO leaves the area (unless Afghan security forces are strong enough to hold the area credibly).
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