The Christian Science Monitor reports:
By killing two South Korean hostages and refusing to release the remaining 21, including 18 women, the Taliban is taking a new path that suggests it is becoming an Afghan branch of Al Qaeda.As the Monitor continues:
In the past 18 months, the Taliban has adopted more aggressive tactics – such as kidnappings and suicide bombings – imported directly from the Al Qaeda-led global jihad.
For Hajji Spandagul, a tribal elder from eastern Afghanistan, it is abhorrent. "This is not the culture of Afghanistan – to take women hostage, especially in the tribal culture," he says, waving his large, weathered hands forcefully.As one former member of the Taliban, Abdul Salam Raketi, now a lawmaker, told the Monitor:
Here in a guesthouse for tribal elders visiting Kabul, he sits with several of his colleagues from around the country. In the past, elders like Mr. Spandagul have been able to intervene in hostage situations. They often live in areas beyond the government's control, meaning they must remain neutral, carving out whatever level of peace they can between the Taliban and the Kabul.
"We are threatened on both sides," says Jamaluddin Alizai, an elder from Kandahar Province, where the Taliban resistance is centered. "During the night, the Taliban come to my area, and I have to give them food or they will kill us, then the government comes in the morning and says, 'Why did you give them food?' "
"It is really dangerous for the future of the Taliban," he says. "If people are supporting the Taliban a little, they won’t support them at all anymore because the Taliban did not listen to their elders in negotiations."Notice that once again, Al Qaeda has to employ foreign mercenaries to do its dirty work. As to what to do to counter the Taliban in this area. Well here's a clue:
Elder Spandagul calls this the work of Chechens and Pakistanis who have come here to wage global jihad – and Afghan elders are powerless to stop them. In times past, tribes had their own militia, but these were disbanded with the establishment of the Western-backed government, and nothing has risen in their place. Many police patrols are unable to venture a mile from their posts.
Mr. Alizai of Kandahar recalls the day that a group of French soldiers came and asked why the Taliban were attacking from his district. "Because I have empty hands," he says. "If we don't have weapons how can we defend ourselves? They come and cut our necks."As the Monitor reports spells it out for us:
In areas so unconnected to the broader world, tribes still have a role to play in keeping order. But they are increasingly ground between a government seeking the trappings of a modern, centralized power structure and an insurgency seeking to further its own global ends.As someone very wise once pointed out to me, the dumb Westerner that I am: tribal justice, swift and brutal.