Examining the Suicide Terror Movement in Afghanistan
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"What is behind the surge of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and suicide attacks in Afghanistan? Suicide attacks in particular are a recent phenomenon in Afghanistan, increasing by 42 percent from 2006 to 2007. This article will examine some of the factors behind the increasing use of suicide and IED attacks as tactics of unconventional warfare in Afghanistan. It will analyze the strategic environment in which these types of operations are used and provide some policy recommendations for countering future IED attacks. It is important to understand that unconventional warfare is a 'strategy of necessity' for the weaker side in an insurgency. As an asymmetric warfare tactic, suicide terrorism provides incentives for insurgents. In Afghanistan, IED and suicide missions are founded upon three fundamental aims -- to compel the United States and ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] to leave the perceived homeland of Pashtuns, to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. backed government in Kabul, and to create a desperate environment that provides little alternative but to join the suicide jihad movement. While current evidence shows the Taliban have been only slightly successful in changing perceptions, the momentum could easily shift to their advantage."
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (Summer 2008), v.2 no.3
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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