The Afghan, ISAF, and US forces have been so effective in killing off the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan that they’ve had to create a new “Top 12” wanted list for Taliban leaders. The new billboards and faces are being posted across the country, with rewards of $200,000.00 dollars. From AP:
Among the 12 men on the Most Wanted list, the U.S. is offering the $200,000 reward for five of them, including:
_ Abu Laith al-Libi: An al-Qaida training camp leader who has appeared in many Internet videos and who the U.S. says was likely behind the February bombing at the U.S. base at Bagram during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney.
_ Saraj Haqqani: Son of longtime warlord Jalalludin Haqqani and believed to have connections with al-Qaida.
_ Tahir Yuldash: The leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and an al-Qaida operational commander.
Pollock said the U.S. is offering up to $10,000 to Afghans who turn in any foreign fighter, such as militants from Arab countries or Chechnya, Turkey, or Uzbekistan. The U.S. has also been paying money to Afghans who tell authorities about roadside bombs that have been planted.
“This is not necessarily a new program, we’re just putting a lot more energy into it now,” Pollock said.
The U.S. says it has killed around 50 mostly mid-level insurgent leaders over the past year, a strategy the military is continuing to push with the Most Wanted rewards program.
If the mid level leaders are taken out, then the top level has to come out of hiding and become active.
In sadder news the Taliban hung a young boy just for having US dollars in his pocket and they shot a farmer for using NGO aid. They attack anyone in the south who uses NGO or USAID aid, this goes hand in hand with their program to stop deminers, vaccinations, girl’s schools, and modern farming. Their neo-luddism is because they want to keep Afghanistan medieval and backward because that’s the only way they can retain power.
Charles over at Little Green Footballs has an article up on the Lizard Laser Guided bomb, a precision weapon that the IDF is now using from Elbit systems. After finding the story yesterday I dug up a picture, and here it is.
The country is largely quiet in the run up to the elections in the assembly – where President Pervez Musharraf is likely to be re-elected to another five year term. After election he’s committed to removing the uniform and ending his dual-role as head of the military and president to take on just the duties of president.
Quickly after the election he will need to scramble for new allies, as his old coalition will likely crumble after the general elections for new members and representatives. Like all past elections it is largely personalities running rather than true platforms with commitments – beyond the terrorism in the lawless frontiers, Pakistan needs land reform, energy, better protections for individual rights including women, more hospitals and doctors, and they need more trade and less provocation with India, Afghanistan, and Iran.