Afghan, Pakistan Taliban at odds

Ralph Peters:

As an intelligence officer or journalist, you've got to know which sources you can trust. And a source who's never let me down told me yesterday that the terrorist multinational based in Pakistan is coming apart.

According to this insider's insider, the Pakistan-headquartered Afghan Taliban is furious at the Taliban's Pakistani wing because its assaults on the Islamabad government triggered a stunning backlash.

Unleashed at last, Pakistan's military launched a series of offensives aimed at smacking down the domestic Taliban. But those campaigns also crippled the Afghan Taliban's freedom of action -- and the murky Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) has been killing any Taliban leaders who resist its guidance. (As I've noted in past columns, Islamabad intends to dominate any Afghan peace deal.)

I think the Taliban will put on a show of force and then fade away in Kandahar. That has been their MO lately and living to fight another day is apparently important to them now that they are losing.

The infighting in what was a Taliban sanctuary is very good news. It should lead to more valuable intelligence for targeting Hellfire missiles. We need to keep the pressure on.

I am concerned about our catch and release strategy in Afghanistan. It means having to buy territory more than once, and the price is paid in blood.


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