Afghanistan’s Taliban militia is fighting for its survival and gearing
for a protracted guerrilla war from the rugged mountains and caves,
analysts said Tuesday.
( AFP )
They added, however, that if the Taliban were falling back on a strategy
used so successfully against Soviet forces two decades ago, they may
have trouble sustaining it for lack of support from the outside world.
In a series of stunning reversals, the opposition Northern Alliance
backed by US warplanes has swept the Taliban forces from virtually all
of northern Afghanistan and the capital Kabul. The Taliban now appear to
be moving into a patch of the country dominated by the ethnic Pashtun
stretching from the east of Kabul southward through the mountains and
down to the southern plains, a well-informed Taliban source told AFP.
“War in Afghanistan is not fought in cities and towns. The decisive
war is fought in the mountains and caves and they are under our
control,” said the source.
“We have already moved weapons, essential food items and heads of
cattle to safer sites in mountains from where we will fight.”
Riffat Hussain, head of the Department of Strategic Studies at
Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University, said the same tactics helped the
Afghan mujahedin end 10 years of Soviet occupation in 1989.
“The Taliban retreat from Kabul with all their human and military
assets intact marks the begining of the new phase of this war which will
be fought along the guerrilla warfare lines,” Hussain said. “This
phase can be interminably long.”
While hunkering down in the mountains, caves and rural towns, the
Taliban are also buying time to see if the Northern Alliance, an uneasy
coalition of mostly ethnic minorities, will explode into a new round of
“The Taliban would like to take advantage of the possible
contradictions within the Northern Alliance,” said Hussain. “The
Northern Alliance knows that they are a house divided.”