Friday, September 18, 2009

I Didn't Know The Taliban Had An Air Force.... (Iconoclast of the Week)

But it seems that not only do they have one, its almost identical to our own. Pretty neat trick. Here's an excerpt from a recent piece by the always interesting William S. Lind on the excellent Defense And The National Interest Blog.

The Taliban’s air force recently delivered another devastating strike, hitting two fuel tanker trucks that had been captured by local Taliban-affiliated forces in northern Afghanistan. As usual, many civilians were killed, inflaming the local population against NATO forces in an area that had been relatively quiet. The air strike was thus not merely tactical but operational in its effects.

As is always the case with the Taliban’s air force, the air strike was a “pseudo-op.” A pseudo-op is where one side dresses up in the other side’s uniforms or otherwise duplicates his signatures, then does something that works against the goals of the simulated party.

You say you did not know the Taliban had an air force? It has a very powerful air force, not restricted to traditional flying carpets but employing all the latest combat aircraft: F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Harriers, Tornados, the works. That air force has been one of the main factors in the Taliban’s resurgence. Many of the strike missions it has carried out have had positive results (for the Talibs) at the operational and moral levels, if not always at the tactical and physical levels of war.

What has confused many observers is that the Taliban has taken pseudo-ops to a new level in its air operations. It does not merely paint American or NATO symbols on its aircraft for a specific mission. Its aircraft are permanently disguised, not only with appropriate insignia, but with American or NATO pilots, command and control and maintenance. Across the gulf of war, one has to say the Talibs have been brilliant in the air, if not always in other respects. They have actually managed to get their opponents to provide and pay for the air force that is defeating them!
Go read the whole thing.  But beware of the deeply embedded snark therein. Lind's point seems to be that the air campaign against the Taliban is making us more enemies than it kills, and therefore I dub him the Iconoclast of the Week. (Which doesn't mean I think he's wrong)


Tangalor said...

LOL! Hilarious! Hats off to that dude.

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