The Nation | By I. M. Mohsin | 15 July 2010
Afghanistan: the psywar prongs
June ended as the deadliest month for the foreign troops, more so the US. According to ISAF’s assessment, 103 soldiers got killed while many more were badly injured. Lacking missiles and air power, which is the monopoly of the foreign troops, the Taliban have to depend on the extensive use of IEDs. Such devices are supplemented by the traditional tactics of utilising sharp shooters in surprise attacks on the enemy all over, which now includes even the northern provinces.
When Afghanistan was attacked by the neocons with the help of Russia in October 2001, which appeared to be wreaking vengeance for its defeat in Afghanistan in 1980s, the northern warlords colluded with the ‘allies’. In the nine years of this war, even north appears to have abandoned the foreign forces on the quiet. Most of these warlords have, however, struck deals with President Hamid Karzai to have some say in Kabul which offers a way to benefit from the widespread corruption and made easy drug peddling at the international level. Despite this, for the last three years, the foreign forces feel pretty insecure due to mounting attacks; so much so that the US contractors have largely resorted to paying goodwill money to the Taliban to allow their supplies passing safely through the north.
The start of July has been equally harassing for the foreign troops. While the ground realities are turning grimmer, the US appears to be upping the ante on the psychological warfare (psywar) front which it dominates, with counterproductive moves, as it has the money, the media and EU on board. Last week the US media produced hilarious gimmicks to confound all those who care to listen. Leon E. Panetta, the current CIA chief, told a popular TV show that he believed Al-Qaeda was devastated in Afghanistan due to the hits by the foreign troops and the initiatives taken by Pakistan. He thought as such, it had only 50 to 100 people available in Afghanistan for fighting the US. To his bad luck, three days later NATO put out a statement whereby they claimed to have attacked the insurgents with the collaboration of the Afghan forces and to have killed more than a hundred and arrested some more for bomb-making in the east. The mounting number of attacks on foreign troops generally undercuts their credibility in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the statements by ISAF look most wishful, if not comical, to most Afghans.
Source: The Nation
See also: Psychological Operations in Afghanistan
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