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[infowar.de] (nicht nur) Psyops in Afghanistan
US to drop bombs and leaflets Posted 10-1-2001 16:27
From: This Is London
US to drop bombs and leaflets
by Keith Dovkants in Islamabad
America intends to target Afghan military installations, including air
bases, when it launches its retaliatory strikes against the Taliban,
Pakistani military sources believe.
But alongside bombs and cruise missiles, America is expected to be
firing . . . paper. The Pakistanis understand that Washington is
planning a twin-strategy for dropping explosives and propaganda leaflets
side by side. The Americans are launching a big hearts-and-minds
campaign, supported by massive food aid deliveries, to try to convince
Afghans that America's fight is with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban,
not with the population of Afghanistan.
The Islamabad government expects American action to come within days,
and to aim chiefly to destroy Taliban military assets such as aircraft,
helicopters, radar towers and a new airbase south of Kandahar, in the
absence of bigger targets in a country dominated by rubble.
A three-man American military delegation has been holding talks in
Pakistan for days now, but President Musharraf still refuses to commit
his own nation to participating in action against Afghanistan, which he
knows will be bitterly unpopular with many of his own people. The
Pakistanis are resentful, however, that since they refuse to take part
in the Western strikes, the American team has not confided detailed
intentions to them.
Instead, the Americans have secured an agreement to use Pakistan's
airspace which will provide a route from the Arabian Sea into
Afghanistan. The Bush administration believes that an effective strike
has to happen before the American festival of Thanksgiving on 22
November, with some experts believing it should take place well before
17 November, the beginning of the Islamic month of fast, Ramadan.
The American strategy is to avoid at all costs "collateral damage" -
casualties among the civilian population. Reliable sources here indicate
that a short campaign aimed at grounding the Taliban will be followed by
an intensive wave of strikes against anti-aircraft installations to
clear the skies.
However, the first bombers will drop paper - pamphlets explaining to the
general population that America is not at war with them, but is
conducting a campaign against terrorism. The pamphlets will say that a
coalition of nations wishes to help Afghanistan by expelling the
so-called Arab-Afghans, Islamic fundamentalist volunteers who have
flocked to terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden.
This will be accompanied by a series of food and aid drops. From the
talks held here it seems certain that the US airforce will try to repeat
its exercise in Bosnia when food was parachuted into Muslim enclaves.
Pakistan's ISI - InterServices Intelligence - has been at pains to
persuade the Americans that there is a moderate faction inside the
Taliban with which the United States can do business. Sources suggest
American officials have also taken on board the ISI Afghan section's
motto: you cannot defeat Afghanistan, but you can buy it.
Contacts are being made to explore the possibility of bribing
influential personalties inside Afghanistan, and the sums being
discussed are extraordinary. The Americans have been told that at an
awkward stage in the Taliban's conquest of Afghanistan it bought off an
opposing military commander with a $10 million bribe. The ISI men have
suggested they double that, at least.
There is already evidence that the CIA is taking a hand. Six Afghan
nationals were arrested over the weekend after being caught with a large
number of pamphlets calling on people to resist Taliban rule and
consider the US and its allies as friendly powers which wished to
liberate the country from tyranny.
The Taliban was reported to be desperately trying to recover some
leaflets - called "night letters" - which had been distributed among
people in the towns of Gardez and Khost. The local governor Mullah Abdul
Rauf said he expected the six people who had been arrested to be hanged
for "colluding with infidels".
American intelligence agents are also keen to reach key people who
operate the Taliban's war machinery. According to officials here - who
are in a position to know - the Taliban use a number of foreign
nationals to fly aircraft and maintain equipment, including tanks and
heavy weapons. They are not described as mercenaries as such but these
individuals are believed to be among those most likely to respond to
The Pentagon team is expected to be reinforced this week with military
experts who will further de-brief ISI agents. The ISI, which played
godparent to the Taliban, has unique intelligence on the regime and its
But what the Americans have learned so far is not encouraging. The
Taliban has vastly extended the network of underground bunkers and caves
used by the Mujahideen during the Soviet occupation. An important
command centre in the Haruti heights, for example, is reckoned to be
A key part of America's strategy, of course, is to keep the Taliban
guessing. There is said to be quiet satisfaction with the way the
Taliban has reinforced positions on the Pakistan border, especially near
Peshawar and Quetta, which leaks here suggested would be used by the
USAF. The Taliban rushed down heavy weapons to its side of the border
near Chaman, outside Quetta, and has been staging a show of strength
over the past few days. Four rocket propelled grenades were fired into
an empty patch on the Pakistan side yesterday, apparently to demonstrate
that it means business.
This is thought to have made the Pentagon team chuckle. Pakistan is out
of the plot as far as use of its territory is concerned, sources here
say. The Americans have been more prolific with questions than answers.
When the missiles go in, the news will break in Washington, not
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 01 October 2001
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