Pakistan needs to reshape national securtity away from clandestine activities – Steve Coll in the New Yorker :
One of the reasons the big U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan’s Marjah area has slowed down is because the Marines are trying to avoid civilian casualties at all costs, according to military commanders. So use of air power, the key to U.S. battle strategy, has been cut back because of the risk of collateral damage from strikes.
Lara M. Dadkhah, an intelligence analyst, in a New York Times op-ed says troops under heavy attack in Marjah have had to wait for an hour or more for air support so that insurgents were properly identified. “We didn’t come to Marjah to destroy it, or to hurt civilians,” Dadkhah quotes a Marine officer as saying after he waited 90 minutes before the Cobra helicopters he had requested showed up with their Hellfire missiles.
It is a measure of the shadowy nature of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan that it is hard to come up with even a couple of names of senior figures who could possibly succeed top commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader following his capture in a joint U.S.-Pakistan raid.
Such is the diffused leadership structure - more like a franchise down to the villages – that the only thing you can say for certain is that the Islamist movement is still led by the one-eyed Mullah Mohammad Omar, although according to reports he hasn’t been seen even by his own followers in the past three years.
By Sanjeev Miglani
(Reuters) – The capture of the Afghan Taliban’s no. 2 commander in a joint U.S.-Pakistan raid raises the question of who will step into his role as the Islamist insurgency’s top military and political strategist.
There are no clear answers as few details are available about the precise nature of the Taliban’s chain of command led by the reclusive one-eyed Mullah Mohammad Omar. The group’s diffused structure means it will be a while, if ever, before a successor to Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is announced.