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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shoot it out like Grandpa did

(AFP/File/Shah Marai)

British soldiers of the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol the streets of
Kabul, August 22. A suicide blast tore through
a crowded bazaar in a southern Afghanistan town,
killing 17 people and wounding nearly 50, a
provincial government spokesman has said.

Taliban divided over suicide attacks

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CP) - Faced with a public backlash in the birthplace of their movement, Taliban leaders in Kandahar are distancing themselves from deadly suicide attacks that they blame on a breakaway faction that works with "foreigners."

Suicide attacks aimed at western coalition troops have also killed many Afghan civilians, eroding local support for the Taliban, an extremist group often held responsible.

Published letters from Kandahar province's purported Taliban military council, however, said the group will take action against the attackers who are said to have connections with foreigners - possibly from Pakistan.

"Our council has determined that as soon as they can, they will demolish those Taliban who are linking with foreigners," reads one letter published in the weekly Surghar newspaper.

"We will punish them," says the translated version of the letter, addressed to "the senior and courageous residents of Kandahar City."

Killing civilians is damaging the Taliban's credibility, costing them much-needed local support in their campaign to retake power in Afghanistan, the military council acknowledged.

"Day by day, the people are going far away from us," the council said.

In a second letter, the Taliban military council describes how its leadership has been divided.

"One part is real Taliban," the letter said. "The other part is Pakistani intelligence, spies and servants of that Taliban."

Omar Samad, Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada, has suggested many insurgents are entering his country from Pakistan.

"We are seeing a pattern emerge over the past few months of more and more terrorists crossing our borders, coming into Afghanistan to target not only NATO troops, but also civilians, school teachers, nurses, road workers, religious figures, tribal figures - anyone that they deem as an obstacle to their attempts at disrupting normalcy in Afghanistan," Samad said recently.

The apparent split within the Taliban movement is seen as a positive development by NATO.

"It's a good sign," said a NATO source who did not want to be identified.

"We'd rather face factions than a united Taliban ... (But) by no means does this mean there's a good Taliban and a bad Taliban."

There's an element of personal honor in Afghan warfare and blowing yourself up doesn't permit that.

posted by Steve @ 12:15:00 AM

12:15:00 AM

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