March 18th, 2010
08:16 PM ET

Around the Web: Taliban waging intimidation campaign in Marjah, reports say

Rod Nordland of The New York Times reports that the Taliban are fighting back in Marjah with a “campaign of intimidation.”

“The Taliban tactics have included at least one beheading in a broader effort to terrorize residents and undermine what military officials have said is the most important aim of the offensive: the attempt to establish a strong local government that can restore services,” Nordland writes.

“Though Marjah has an occupation force numbering more than one coalition soldier or police officer for every eight residents, Taliban agitators have been able to wage an underground campaign of subversion, which residents say has intensified in the past two weeks.”

Meanwhile, Craig Whitlock of The Washington Post reports that homemade bombs are hampering U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

“The embrace of a low-tech approach by Taliban-trained bomb makers - they are building improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, out of fertilizer and diesel fuel - has stymied a $17 billion U.S. counteroffensive against the devices in Iraq and Afghanistan, military officials say. Electronic scanners or jammers, which were commonly deployed in Iraq, can detect only bombs with metal parts or circuitry,” Whitlock writes.

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- Andrew Swift and Peter Williams (Foreign Policy): “Into the Hornet’s Nest

- Ashley J. Tellis (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace): “Pakistan and the Afghanistan end game

- Amy Davidson (New Yorker): “Bin Laden’s body

- Michael Innes (Foreign Policy): “A new command structure in Afghanistan

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