Maj. Gen. David Grange: Connecting the dots
UPDATE: The Northern Alliance definitely wants the Afghan Taliban to surrender, and it appears they're going to give them amnesty. I'm also sure they'll weed out hard-core guys and sleepers -- those who know we want them and will try to get out. And even if they do make a deal, I think you'll find pockets of Taliban and al Qaeda shot anyway -- if for no other reason than revenge.
The U.S. has CIA and other intelligence guys there with the Northern Alliance, I'm sure. They have a blacklist, built throughout the campaign, of guys who committed atrocities in Mazar-e Sharif, trained terrorists (who) are tied in with hard-core Taliban or al Qaeda leaders. There could hundreds of names on that list, and the idea is to make sure we get as many, if not all of them, before this campaign ends.
IMPACT: While we can do a little better, we've really got strong information warfare related to the so-called foreigners in Afghanistan. The Afghans themselves really like the idea of taking out this foreign element.
There's news footage of Kabul residents talking about how Pakistanis and other foreigners would come in, buy stuff, not pay, and generally take advantage. The Taliban would say, "Hey, take care of them, they're our guests." Well, most Afghans are sick of it, and we're really going to take advantage of that. So these Saudis, Chechens, Pakistanis and other mercenaries: They're in a world of hurt.
A big reason you have all these teens joining these paramilitary forces is because they don't have jobs, carrying an AK-47 is cool, and it's something to do. It's like being in a gang, and they like it. When you're in a closed society where the men are very dominant, you have to be macho. The problem is, the civilians are hurt by all this and get abused constantly.
TACTICS: Many of those who we know are bad will try to blend in. Remember after World War II, (Hermann) Goehring and other top Nazis would put on a private's uniform or do other things to mesh with the everyday troops.
And we'll still get names of Afghan Taliban regulars, and grab those with information that ties them to al Qaeda or hard-core Taliban, or may help our cause. It only works when the U.S., British and Northern Alliance intelligence systems work together.
STRATEGY: We're going to see some surrenders, some guys fighting to the death, and other fatalities because people just want revenge. In Afghanistan, especially, if you kill my uncle or my mom, I have to avenge that death. There's no choice.
The more people that surrender, and the more influential, the longer the blacklist and the greater the momentum in the informational war. There are reports, for instance, that the Taliban interior minister has defected. If they keep him alive, he's going to give names to save himself.
What they're doing is connecting the dots in Afghanistan and around the world. The growing pressure opens up all kinds of opportunities to crackdown on terrorism -- and in the process, they will spoil attacks planned on the United States.
U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), a former NATO supreme commander, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Grange (ret.) and Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd (ret.) are serving as CNN military analysts during the war against terror. Their briefings will appear daily on CNN.com.
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