Thursday, August 27, 2009

Selling Brand Taliban

Press reports that the Taliban disrupted the elections seemed far fetched given the failure of the enemy to actually carry out more violence than they normally do. That, I felt, wasn't the sign of a powerful force on the verge of defeating us in Afghanistan. I just don't see the signs we are losing the war.

Strategypage has my six on this:

The Western media reported numerous problems and much violence associated with the Afghan vote. But for those in touch with people in Afghanistan (email and blogs makes this pretty easy), the reports were far different. The Taliban huffed and puffed (mainly for the benefit of the foreign media) and generally did not deliver the violence and terror they promised. A lot of the reported "Taliban violence" in the south was the usual Pushtun tribal politics (which tends to be murderous even in the best of times). In most of the country, the only violence is the normal banditry and tribal type long typical of the region. The "vote fraud" was more common than in the West, but was mostly carried out by major politicians, not the Taliban. This form of corruption is endemic to Afghanistan and the region. That is not news, so it is not reported as it is, but embellished with tenuous Taliban connections. Makes for great headlines, but a false description of what is actually happening.

It goes on about the "new Vietnam" angle, too. Read it all, as they say.