Why the Taliban cannot be separated from Al Qaeda

(H/T – Allahpundit, who asks the $64,000 question on why the “moderate” Taliban won’t give up Osama bin Laden)

Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn explain why we must defeat the Taliban, as well as the other affiliated Afghani insurgencies. In a nutshell:

  • All three of the main Afghani insurgent groups, the Quetta Shura Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, have extensive personal leadership-to-leadership ties to Al Qaeda, established over decades of cultivation by Al Qaeda.
  • The relationship between Al Qaeda and the Taliban is so enduring that they still fight side-by-side in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and still offer mutual-praise eulogies for each other.
  • Al Qaeda still enjoys working relationships with both elements of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency and the Iranian leadership.

There is much more that deserves to be read. I will, however, leave you with the conclusion:

In conclusion, the war in Afghanistan is part of a multi-dimensional contest for power between, on the one hand, al Qaeda and its allies and, on the other, America and her allies. The idea that al Qaeda is a discrete organization that can be neatly separated from the Afghan insurgency is a fantasy. All three of the major branches of the insurgency, as well as their sponsors, are closely allied with al Qaeda and have been for years.

Air strikes using drones are a valuable tool for disrupting al Qaeda’s external network, thereby hampering the terror network’s capacity to strike the West. But such strikes are a tactic, not a strategy. And, it should be noted, these strikes have frequently killed senior Taliban commanders as well. This only emphasizes the degree of cooperation between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

A more robust game plan for Afghanistan, and the region, is required. We understand that there is no immediate discussion of entirely drawing down America’s or NATO’s forces. But a more comprehensive commitment than that which is presently being employed is needed.

Should the insurgents conquer Afghanistan once again, there is no doubt that al Qaeda would return to its former safe haven. But that is, in some ways, the least of our concerns. Their return to power would be a victory for all of those forces that spawned al Qaeda in the first place.

Cross-posted at my regular home, No Runny Eggs.

Redskins at Panthers open thread – UPDATE – Panthers pull out a 20-17 win

panthersblacklogo.jpgEven though ST is busy recovering, we’ll have an open NFL thread. Since my team, the Green Bay Packers, is off this weekend, I’ll try to focus my attention on the house team as the Carolina Panthers host the Washington Redskins. It won’t be easy because my local Fox affiliate will be carrying the team that broke my heart on Monday, the Minnesota Vikings.

The good news is the Redskins are not nearly as good as their 2-2 (corrected) record. They not only lost to the lowly Detroit Lions, they barely beat the equally-lowly St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The ‘Cats will speed ST’s recovery along by getting their first win of the season.

Game time is 1 pm Eastern, and will be on Fox.

Other games worth keeping an eye on this week:

– Cincinnati (3-1) at Baltimore (3-1) – 1 pm Eastern
– Atlanta (2-1) at San Francisco (3-1) – 4:05 pm Eastern
– New England (3-1) at Denver (4-0) – 4:15 pm Eastern

Every other game this week features at least one team with at least 2 losses, so it’s real slim pickings.

Revisions/extensions (7:13 pm Eastern, I hope, 10/11/2009) – Sorry about nodding off at halftime, but I didn’t have any good games to watch here in Wisconsin (the Vikings/Rams and Steelers/Lions). The Panthers reeled off an unanswered 18 points to get their first win 20-17.

Also, I corrected the Redskins’ record (dunno how I thought they had a bye last week).

NFL Sunday Open Thread


Week five of the NFL season begins today with my 49ers facing the Atlanta Falcons at Candlestick. Can the Niners run their record to 4-1? They’ve already surprised me this year; much more of this, and I’ll start building a statue to Mike.

Meanwhile Steve’s Packers have a bye this week, and the ST-endorsed Carolina Panthers face Washington in Charlotte. If this team has any compassion at all for a sick woman, they’ll get off their behinds and finally win one.

Open thread, folks!