Monday, January 25, 2010

Taliban Begins "Hearts & Minds" Campaign

The Taliban, in an effort to clean up its image, has decided to curtail its practice of brutally murdering innocent civilians:

In recent weeks, Mullah Mohammad Omar, commander of Taliban forces, has released a code-of-ethics handbook that, among other directives, warns his followers not to conscript children or target innocent people. It also says bombs should be used to kill only government officials and coalition soldiers.

In the 62-bullet-point handbook, homicide bombers get specific instructions. They are to "be fully-educated in their mission"; they are to target "high ranking people"; and they are to "try your best to avoid killing local people."

Taliban followers are further prohibited from smoking cigarettes, using captured vehicles for their personal use, cutting noses, lips or ears off detainees, and drafting "youngsters that have no beard." (As soon as a boy can grow a beard, he is considered an adult in Afghan culture.)

Considering a majority of rural Afghans are illiterate, it is unlikely this handbook will have a large impact on Taliban operations outside of Kabul. Also, the Taliban is not a united group, but a collection of locally lead factions, making broad policy almost impossible to enforce.

No comments:

Post a Comment