Saturday, July 22, 2006

They're Back: A New, Vicious Taliban Take Shape in Afghanistan

Opium Drug Trade Funding New Type of Taliban Army

Gretchen Peters
ABC News

KABUL, Afghanistan June 27, 2006 — Coalition forces battling the Taliban across southern Afghanistan aren't fighting the same bearded extremists they toppled in October 2001.

It's as if the sequel to a horror film is being replayed across southern Afghanistan this summer.

Call it "Taliban II." They're back, reloaded, and more ruthless than ever.

They're Back

Suicide attacks and roadside bombs — once unheard of in this country — are now almost a daily occurrence.

The Taliban seem unconcerned if they hit civilian or military targets. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber in northern Kunduz killed two and injured eight. A suicide attack near the Bagram Airbase on Monday wounded two children.

Soldiers with the U.S.-led coalition are currently battling the Taliban across four southern provinces: Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan.

More than 1,100 — most of them Taliban — have died in the vicious fighting.

Reports vary but all involve violence such as Taliban soldiers gouging the eyes out of prisoners they capture in the South or burning down schools that offer co-ed classes.

Last week ABC News received a grisly video release. It pictured the Taliban's ruthless one-legged commander Mullah Dadullah beheading alleged spies for America.

Ahmed Rashid, author of the "Taliban," said the movement had gone through "many morphings," and argued that so-called moderates had defected or been purged by the current leadership now loyal to Osama bin Laden.

"They are particularly brutal," Rashid said, "and they are doing al Qaeda's bidding."

Read more HERE