Taliban attempts to drive wedges between ISAF allies


The Taliban’s info-machine has chosen to highlight some Coalition politics in its latest statement (Voice of Jihad here, PDF at Scribd.com here). The Taliban say it’s good to see the Canadians, Aussies, and Dutch do what the Afghan people ‘really want’:

After the dissolution of Dutch government following its parliament’s hot discussion over the American war in Afghanistan, now Canada and Australia have decided to respect views of their people for unconditional withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan …. After the dissolution of the Dutch government over the mission in Afghanistan. , where the parliament was not ready to extend the military mission in the country , now the Australian and Canadian public have mounted pressure on their rulers to pay respect to the people’s demand for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and notify America and NATO of their decision ….

In addition to highlighting the departure of various Coalition members from Afghanistan as a general way to slip a wedge between allies, the Taliban make an even more specific reference to the strategy of divide-and-conquer:

… There are many examples which indicate America overtly and covertly works against the stance of other countries because of its arrogance. They hurl hurdles in their ways. He further says whenever, French, Canada and German succeed in winning the hearts and minds of Afghans in a given area of Afghanistan through reconstruction work and other humantarisian (sic.) activities, the Americans heavily bombard that area; they torture the residents and launch night raids on their houses . Thus they intentionally create resentments and wrath among the people …. The Coalition members want to pull out of the country one after another because they know, the current war in Afghanistan is only aimed at securing interests of Americans and Britains while other countries are being used as fodder of the cannon ….

I don’t think this will make said countries reconsider their decisions to leave. Still, the inter-Coalition animus is not exactly zero – note this from a Facebook posting by embed writer/blogger Michael Yon, who is currently in Afghanistan:

Task Force Kandahar, responsible for security of the bridge that was blown up on Monday, happens to be under Canadian command. This is causing friction. The Canadian government has clearly signaled that it will quit Afghanistan, yet a Canadian General is commanding US combat forces and resources — all while allowing… a strategically important bridge to be blown up …. Our combat soldiers should not be commanded from a country that is quitting the fight …. With our next big offensive set for Kandahar, command should be with British and U.S. forces. Canada needs to step out of the way.

As for Yon, while he may be channeling what the troops say on the ground, this and other foreign bashing (like his work on the Spanish in Afghanistan) don’t help Coalition relations. His efforts have been ably rebutted by various other observers: an embed with CanWest News Service here, as well as a former Canadian OMLT trainer at the Flit blog here, here, and here.

As for the Taliban, we’ll have to see whether they continue to attempt to drive wedges into ISAF.

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  • KaneKaizer says:

    Very frustrating, the only solution if more NATO countries withdraw their soldiers is to send in more US and British troops, just like in Iraq. It seems NATO only actually exists during peacetime.

  • Joan says:

    Very good piece Tony. No doubt the enemy will continue to exploit in-theatre rifts. But I hope journalists and other writers will keep the big picture in mind when reporting from the ground. There are bound to be conflicts in coordinating so many nations but I’d rather the “in-house” conflicts be discretely dealt with and not publicly shouted out for the enemies’ pleasure. Then again, I’m not a journalist and sometimes have trouble figuring out which side “some” journalists are on. For example, what was the point of one particular journalist’s insertion of the Canada-US hockey game into the equation of a successful enemy attack? To provide the Taliban with amusement? To make Canadians troops feel like crap? I know said journalist’s apologized but really, what was he thinking?! There is no way in the world that either Canadian or American troops would knowingly abandon each others safety in favour of watching a hockey game, even an Olympic hockey game that riveted the attention of much of North America and beyond.

  • larsenwhipsnade says:

    When I read this it recalled some of the comments I read yesterday which revealed many hateful and accusatory remarks about our Spanish allies in Afghanistan. In essence, I’m saying that such remarks play into the hands of our enemies.


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