Author Archives: Tony Prudori

What are the Taliban telling us about Kandahar?

Over the past several weeks, the Taliban’s info-machine has been busy sharing in detail what they want us to see happening in Kandahar. Here are the longer pieces that have been posted to the Voice of Jihad English-language site since Oct. 27: “The Americans can no longer conceal their defeat in the Kandahar Operations” [screen […]

Taliban back to old talks message, and trying to appease Afghan north?

What a difference a few days make. This week, we saw the Taliban’s official web page post a statement saying “the U.S. needs to guarantee a withdrawal deadline in writing before we’ll consider talking.” Now, the official Voice of Jihad English-language site has a different, but far more familiar message [Voice of Jihad statement here, […]

Taliban want US withdrawal deadline in writing

With the formation of the High Council for Peace in Afghanistan, there have been calls for the US to show some good faith to move the reconciliation process forward. Some call for releasing more detainees from Guantanamo, while others suggest more bad guys may be removed from the UN’s Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee […]

On civilian casualties, Taliban try to look like victims

Two recent reports show that Afghanistan’s insurgents are responsible for most civilian casualties (CIVCAS) in the country so far this year. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission’s (AIHRC) Aug. 8 report, “Report on Civilian Casualities, January 1-July 31, 2010” [PDF], states that 68 percent of Afghan CIVCAS were caused by insurgent activity. Similarly, the United […]

Taliban diss Time Magazine cover

A recent cover photo on Time Magazine has stirred some debate in journalistic circles. Is it a harsh truth that needs to be told, or is it sensationalism for the sake of selling magazines? It took a while, but the Taliban have also chimed in – they don’t like the cover: Time magazine has recently […]

Taliban: Dutch withdrawal makes it easier for others to go

Shortly after the Netherlands started pulling its troops out of Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan, a Dutch media outlet published a story [Google English translation here] quoting a Taliban spokesperson offering the Dutch government and people “heartfelt congratulations on their courage in making this independent decision”. There’s even some concern that other allies, such as Canada, […]

Taliban sites hacked: Who is the ‘Voice of Truth’?

Earlier this week,’s Danger Room aired a story about the supposed hacking of a Taliban website. The blog post let us know that the Taliban’s web pages were not just down, but possibly hacked, based on a posting to a jihadi forum telling people not to click on any of the links on the […]

Taliban attempt to justify violence against Afghan peace jirga

There are reports of attacks on the consultative jirga being held in Afghanistan starting today (more on that in initial reports from AFP, AP, Reuters, Canada’s CanWest news service, Germany’s DPA wire service and the BBC). There have also been recent media reports of targeted assassinations of pro-jirga elders. In the Taliban’s latest statement (on […]

Taliban say (yet again) they’re not talking

More talk of talk between the Taliban (or other bad guy) elements and the Afghan government, this time in the Maldives: Rival Afghan figures have held a final day of unofficial talks in the Maldives islands, aimed at resolving the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. The meeting at the Paradise tourist resort island took place on […]

Taliban: Next Afghan push coming Monday

A new statement from the Taliban’s info-machine (Voice of Jihad English site – non-terrorist site) gives a heads-up about a new operation, “Al-Faath,” allegedly kicking off May 10. The last announcement of a new operation (“Nasrat”) came almost exactly a year ago (via, or PDF from non-terrorist site). It was a reasonably short statement […]

Taliban’s Mullah Omar ready to retire? Not so fast!

The UK’s Sunday Times threw this one out there this weekend: The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians. In an interview with The Sunday Times, two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message […]

Taliban lies update: US troops as drug runners

Some great whoppers to share from one of the latest statements by the Taliban (pro-Taliban web page link here, non-terrorist site here). This time, an alleged Taliban commander in Kandahar calling himself “Tahir Afghan” is supposedly speaking to, a pro-Taliban web page carrying Taliban and other jihadi/terrorist statements. ‘US troops as drug runners’ (while […]

Taliban reading the papers, offering wish list?

The latest statement/commentary on the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad English-language web site [click here for copy at] shows that the Taliban info-machine is reading the papers. In painting the US as the bully in the neighborhood, not just in Afghanistan, the Taliban draw the eye to current news stories such as concerns about how […]

Short and sharp from the Taliban on Obama’s visit

The latest commentary from the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad English site (PDF via here) is pretty biting – here it is in its entirety [emphasis mine]: By making a 6-hour unannounced trip to Afghanistan last night, Obama proved that his military strategy and surge of 30,000 troops, his morale-boosting propaganda, all have failed to […]

Taliban: Karzai talks, US colonizes?

First, the newest messaging twist from the Taliban’s latest commentary (Voice of Jihad English and PDF at non-terrorist site), summarized in haiku: Karzai, the puppet, talks jirga, lets USA be colonial. From the statement: He makes his assertion about reconciliation in every forum and gathering even in a gathering in Uruzgan a few days ago, […]

Taliban still say they’re not talking

One of the Taliban’s latest statements (Voice of Jihad English, and PDF at non-terrorist site) comes as a response to outgoing United Nations uber-envoy for Afghanistan Kai Eide being underwhelmed at Pakistan’s arrest of senior Taliban official Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and the subsequent wrench that it allegedly threw into backroom talks under way. This […]

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 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 […]

Taliban playing nicer?

Are the Taliban really trying to be a kinder, gentler entity? Reuters provides a reminder of the reality of the Taliban: Taliban fighters opened fire, hurled grenades and staged suicide bombings in central Kabul yesterday, killing at least 16 people in defiance of the Western-backed government and a NATO offensive. An Italian diplomat and Indian […]

(Tiny) crack in Taliban messaging?

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 …. […]

Statement on Taliban site says they’ll talk, but…

A new statement posted to the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad web page [VOJ version here, PDF at non-terrorist site here] says the group will negotiate (the first time I’ve ever seen it in the past year): The Islamic Emirate has curtains goals to achieve. They are: 1. Complete independence of the country. 2. Establishment of […]

US forces courting Mullah Omar’s father-in-law?

Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Amir al Mumineen (“the commander of the faithful”) of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. The Financial Times shares these highlights about one of the elders US commanders in Arghandab are trying to bring on side as part of their work to bring Afghans on side: Once locked up in Guantánamo Bay […]

Taliban now officially deny PayPal fundraising

Remember the back and forth on the Taliban’s PayPal donations page? Well, there’s a new twist. The PayPal page itself is still in operation as of this post, but now, the Taliban have issued an official denial (Arabic – Google English – PDF at non-terrorist site): Inform you that he does not have a note […]

Taliban claim ISAF is sandbagging soldiers’ deaths

A few interesting lines popped up in Taliban statements this week. In this one alleging 5 American casualties in Kandahar, there was this: Later on Monday, one of the brave Mujahids of the Islamic Emirate killed five U.S soldiers in Kandahar’s Shawali Kowt district …. However, a statement has been issued by the U.S militay […]

Taliban’s Number 2: ‘You leave, we (might) talk’

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency has published an e-mail interview with the second-in-command of Afghanistan’s Taliban, Mullah Baradar Akhund (a hat tip to Juan Cole at the Informed Comment blog for sharing the US Government’s Open Source Center’s translation of the story). In addition to the usual “we’re winning, we’re going to keep […]

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 […]

Mullah Sangeen: We don’t need bases in Pakistan

Image of Haqqani Network military commander Mullah Sangeen Zadran. Obtained by The Long War Journal from a Taliban propaganda tape. A few tidbits from someone claiming to be “Mullah Sangeen, a key commander of Afghan Taliban” (and the shadow governor of Paktika province) in this article in Pakistani media outlet The News: What Afghan Taliban […]

What Taliban ‘constructive proposal’?

Mainstream media (here and here) and some bloggers are looking at a new question: why is US President Obama ignoring the Taliban’s latest offer of a “legal guarantee if the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan”? For now, I’m staying with the “I’m not buying it” crowd. Why? Although the Dec. 8 statement on the Voice […]

Taliban contradicts itself in own propaganda

This week, not one but two Taliban statements hit the Voice of Jihad English-language site on the same day referring to ISAF’s latest push in Helmand: an unsigned weekly comment “Cobra’s Anger Will Lead to Great Regrets,” (PDF version at non-terrorist site here); and a signed op-ed attributed to spokesperson Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi, “Enemy […]

Taliban bosses make ‘you leave, we leave you alone’ offer to West?

Another op-ed piece has appeared on the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad webpage (English language version here and PDF at non-terrorist page here). Here’s the most interesting part of the latest article: Washington turns down the constructive proposal of the leadership of Mujahideen who say that the Mujahideen, as a part of their policy, will ensure […]

The Taliban on Obama’s speech: More troops means more targets

There are no major surprises in the Taliban’s response on the Voice of Jihad web page to President Obama’s speech on next steps in Afghanistan. You can also read the Taliban’s response to President Obama’s plan here in PDF format at a non-terrorist site. Here are some of the main themes: “You send more troops, […]