From the Sunday Times:
‘Robin Hood’ dishes out Nato bootyRelated:
PESHAWAR, Nov 16 - A Taliban “Robin Hood”, who distributes cut-price food from Nato convoys to the poor, is disrupting supply lines to British and US troops in Afghanistan.
In an audacious raid in Pakistan’s border region last week, two American Humvee armoured personnel carriers and 10 lorries laden with food were seized by Taliban fighters.
In the past year the Taliban have increased attacks on convoys carrying hardware, food and oil as they make their way from Karachi to Peshawar and through the Khyber Pass.
Lorry-loads of hijacked grain have been sold off cheaply in local markets and the Humvees paraded as war “booty”, giving the rebels a propaganda boost. More than 30 tankers with fuel bound for allied forces have been destroyed in bomb attacks on the road this year.
The Taliban commander who led the raids, Mustafa Kamran Hijrat, told The Sunday Times last week that he planned to sever the allied supply lines. “We will continue to seize convoys carrying goods for Nato and American troops. We are waging holy war and we shall continue the struggle by every means,” he said.
Hijrat claims to have hundreds of fighters under his command, although local officials estimate his force at no more than 200...
The lorries loaded with grain were driven to two other towns where Taliban fighters used loudspeakers to invite locals to buy it at knockdown prices.
Eyewitnesses said the militants were welcomed because the grain was being sold for a quarter of its normal price. (link)
- (Oct 2008) Graeme Smith reports that the Taliban's power is growing on account of their "position[ing] themselves as the best enforcers of security in rural Afghanistan."
- (Sept 2008) Visiting a Taliban command centre in Kandahar, one journalist witnesses the insurgents' tolerance toward liquor and music. He offers "an urgent lesson for Nato: these local, Afghan fighters enjoy real support. It is simply wrong to say it is just coercion and terror."
- (Aug 2008) Respected journalist and author Jason Burke reports from outside Kabul, where "the Taliban are winning support by building a parallel administration, which is more effective, more popular and more brutal than the government's."
- (August 2007) IWPR reports from Taliban-ruled Musa Qala district in Helmand where the Taliban had allowed schools to operate, allowed men to shave their beards, and other relatively moderate policies.
- Many more similar links here.