Another American plot failed: Taliban denounce “Mullah Omar letter”
Interesting one: the Taliban seem to feel they have been the victim of an information operation against them. The Taliban denounce a letter that purports to come from them calling for fighters to “restrain their operations until the end of negotiation process in Qatar”.
This looks like part of a very much “behind the scenes” information war between the insurgents and ISAF (although, of course, it may not be ISAF but some intelligence agency working independently or in conjunction). The idea of “talks” remains a very hazy cloud of half-developed ideas, with much overt and covert manoeuvrings and posturing from all sides. If this information operation against the Taliban is genuine, it could have come from a number of sources with a number of agendas intending either to fragment the Taliban, boost prospects for talks or to scupper them – US/ISAF, Afghan government (NDS), Pakistan/ISI, CIA, RAW (Indian intelligence agency), etc. Stretching it a little, but not too far, it could even have come from within the Taliban or another insurgent group, to flush out “peace-makers” and lock everyone into a jihad. Who knows.
The Taliban media operation is now quite robust – repelling rumours of Mullah Omar’s death and dealing with Bin Laden’s actual death. But the strength of their denunciation shows that the planting of credible rumours is perhaps something they fear. The Taliban are very sensitive to propaganda and information messages against them – and we have seen have rumours can spiral out of control. Mullah Omar and other senior Taliban have been referencing “media trickeries” and the need to be vigilant for some years.
Rumour being perceived as fact is not new to the region, and is something the Taliban regularly exploit, if you look at their battlefield reports and other claims they make. But misinformation is clearly something that can be used against them and is a concern for them – particularly when all sorts of rumours about talks and Qatar might be flying around in Taliban circles. The views of the various insurgent groups (lets remember this is not just about the Taliban themselves) are rarely easy to discern, but factions within them will have strong views on whether to talk or not (and how and why and what to talk about). They may even at some point have to consider how to call a cease-fire, how to implement it and what it might look like. Mullah Omar hardly has a high profile – how will the bulk of the Taliban fighters actually know if Omar has called a halt to operations?
Since our cunning enemy (America, its allies and stooges) is facing frustration and have been shaken by the courageous blows of our Afghan nation, it wants to barricade itself and lower the intensity graph of the wrath and vengeance of the Afghans therefore it is relying on such fabricated and short lived lies spread through its intelligence organs in order to deceive the people.
Whoever’s media operation it was, it seems to have made the Taliban more jumpy, more suspicious and less inclined to talks. Not sure this is really in anyone’s interest.