Afghan villagers battle the Taliban in Ghazni

At The Weekly Standard, I rounded up the news of Afghan villagers in Ghazni province who stood up to a force of Taliban fighters infiltrating from neighboring Uruzgan province. The news is welcome as it gives hope that the Afghan people can eventually organize to oppose the Taliban, much as the Sunni tribes in Iraq opposed al Qaeda.

There is one interesting thing about Ghazni that I discovered while attempting to discern the location of al Qaeda cells in Afghanistan. One way of doing this is to look at the press releases from ISAF (while public affairs press releases are often derided as military propaganda, they are a valuable source of information such as this). There are 57 direct mentions of military operations against al Qaeda and “foreign fighter” networks in Afghanistan in press releases published between April 2007 and July 13, 2010. Eleven of the 55 mentions point to operations in Ghazni (seven were in Ghazni’s Andar district), indicating that al Qaeda has a significant presence in the province.

Given al Qaeda’s focus in Ghazni, the villagers who oppose the Taliban may be the target of al Qaeda and Taliban suicide operations. The Taliban have done this across the border in Pakistan, often causing tribal opposition to crumble.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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