Another Suicidal Spring Offensive
h/t: Strategy Page
March 28, 2008: As the Taliban announce their new “Spring Offensive,” they must also confront a public relations crises.
A religious scholar has issued a fatwa condemning the Taliban for their un-Islamic activities (killing civilians, use of terror) and declaring them “out of Islam” (not Moslem).
The Taliban continue to enhance this image. In the north, five de-miners were killed in an ambush.
The attackers, who were apparently Taliban, fled when they realized who they had attacked.
De-miners are very popular, and the Taliban was forced to make profuse apologies for earlier attacks.
The Taliban are hostile to outside assistance, as it threatens Taliban control. The de-miners, who are Afghans, are one of the few exceptions.
But some outsiders are extremely popular.
For example, a Taliban campaign against cell phone companies (who are believed to be assisting the government in tracking Taliban cell phone users) has turned 250,000 southern cell phone users against the Taliban.
That’s because the Taliban have demanded that the cell phone companies turn off service at night, and have damaged or destroyed ten cell phone towers to back up their threat.
In response, some cell phone companies in the south have shut down all service, blaming the Taliban attacks.
The cell phone users, most of whom have no other access to phones, are furious.
There are now 2,000 cell phone towers in the country, most of them recently built in rural areas, where people get phone service for the first time.
Cell phones are enormously popular, even with Taliban supporters.
Read more here.