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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Quagmire

Reason #5634371349
A security analyst operating in Afghanistan told the Herald: "What they're doing is apeing the US. "The Americans embedded with the Afghanistan National Army to impart experience and to boost morale, and the foreign jihadis are embedding with the insurgents, instructing them on how to deal with the US from their experience in Iraq, how to conceal themselves and how to make, plant and detonate even more sophisticated IEDs (improvised explosive devices)."

[...]

Two Taliban commanders enthusiastically revealing details of their training in Iraq and how, in turn, they pass it on to hundreds of Afghan fighters. Claiming that the conflict here was entering a new phase, Mohammed Daoud, 35, credits the fugitive terrorism master Osama bin Laden with opening the Afghan-Iraq technology-and-training exchange. He says: "I'm explaining to my fighters every day the lessons I learned and my experience in Iraq. I want to copy in Afghanistan the tactics and spirit of the glorious Iraqi resistance." Another commander, Hamza Sangari, 36, tells how he went to Iraq in a group of 15 - eight Afghan Taliban, two Central Asians and five Arab al-Qaeda fighters. Aided by drug-smugglers, they went through Pakistan and into Iran, going by foot, motor-cycle and four-wheel-drive. Claiming that he spent four weeks at a remote Iraqi training camp called Ashaq al Hoor, he tells how he was drilled in the use of remote-controlled detonators and how to make armour-penetrating weapons by breaking up rockets and rock-propelled grenade rounds and repackaging their explosive content with powerful, high-velocity "shaped" charges.

[...]

The security analyst interviewed by the Herald stressed that a new development was that the movement between the two countries had become two-way - novices to Iraq to be trained and experienced fighters to Afghanistan and the border camps to impart their knowledge locally. He said: "The trainers who come here don't go to the frontline. They sit back with radios, guiding the Taliban men in the field and doing static training in the camps. They come in from the Middle East, the gulf countries and other parts of Central Asia." He explained that proof of the effectiveness of the technology exchange was in the nature of Taliban attacks. "In 2002-03 they were using old Russian stuff - wires and plungers - and they had to be close in. "Now it's faceless. Their detonators are so sophisticated, they can sit back two kilometres and explode an IED remotely through a simple wire antenna hanging from a bush next to a device that might have been planted days or weeks earlier. Boom! Off it goes and before you know it, he is back over the mountain where he picks up a spade in a field and looks just like any other village farmer."

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