Taliban Spy Network

 By Jim Emerson, staff writer

 Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for purposes of spying and thereby they achieve great results” – Sun Tzu

 Like espionage networks from the Vietnam War, in Afghanistan, anyone local could be a spy, making it difficult to identify the “friendlies” from the bad guys.  Taliban leaders use this historical model to gather intelligence to plan for suicide attacks and decide where to place IED to hamper supply routes. While we can’t be sure, it would be safe to assume that this operation is being guided by advisors from the Iranian or Pakistani Intelligence organizations.

 The Taliban developed a robust intelligence gathering network in Afghanistan as a necessity. With its infrastructure destroyed and unable to defeat allied forces on the battlefield they now resort to espionage to keep track of and attack friendly forces. 

 The Taliban have managed to infiltrate Afghan security forces and other government organizations. They have used tribal mistrust to create its intelligence network.  Though not as sophisticated as western intelligence services, they make up for it in numbers and succeed by putting people on top of mountains with binoculars. 

 Counter Intelligence

 Aware of the allies’ ability to exploit all means of electronic communications the terrorists have curtailed their use of radios and cell phones in order not to alert NATO forces that an attack is being conducted. The Taliban depend heavily on human gathered intelligence and to some extent computer social networks. The commander often use email to report their combat reports and provide propaganda for Al Jazeera.

 The biggest asset to the Taliban’s intelligence gathering and use of counter-intelligence operation was handed to them by accused leaker Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks. The newer generations of Jihadist are computer savvy and will use it to their ends. The leaks also mention family members of Afghanis  associated with the Taliban. Often families would place sons in the Taliban and Afghan Security to hedge their bets with whoever will run Afghanistan once the Americans leave.

 Intelligence is Information

 Mark M. Lowenthal wrote that “All intelligence is information; not all information is intelligence” in his book “From Secrets to Policy”. Mullah Omar was a firm believer in controlling information; he believed, “He who controls the information controls the will of the people.” (1)

 Serious Flaw

 The Taliban lacks command and control of its own forces.  No matter how effective their information collection capability, getting local commanders to exploit weaknesses within Afghan’s security forces is still difficult. They would be hard press to mount a coordinated “Tet Offensive” attack. Their current strategy is a rope-a-dope plan. All they have to do is to wait for the Americans to leave, something they will see sooner or later.

 To contact your Congressional Representative use this link: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/ 

 To read more about Taliban intelligence operations use this link:


 This day in history April 16

 2007: A student a Virginia Tech murders 32 and injuries 23 more, unarmed people. The school has gone on to celebrate its “gun free” status. Certainly that makes the living victims and the families of those who were murdered feel much better. 

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