Taliban's Middle Managers 'Tired of Fighting'

New US raid strategy may be taking its toll
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 6:50 AM CST
A former Taliban fighter carries a rocket launcher before surrendering it to Afghan authorities in Herat, west of Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec 5, 2010.   (AP Photo/Reza Shirmohammadi)

(Newser) – Many mid-level Taliban commanders are increasingly unhappy at the prospect of returning to battlefield in Afghanistan, putting them at odds with the top-level commanders in Pakistan, one commander tells the New York Times. “I have talked to some commanders, and they are reluctant to fight,” he says. “Definitely there is disagreement between the field commanders and the leaders over their demands to go and fight.”

In a recent assessment of the war, David Petraeus said there were “numerous reports of unprecedented discord among” Taliban leadership; a NATO officer reports a knife fight broke out at a leadership meeting. Some credit a spate of raids targeting field commanders. “It created a sense of anxiety,” says one American officer. “Are you a target or not?” The Taliban commander simply cites war weariness. “We are tired of fighting, and we say this among ourselves,” he says. “But this is our vow, not to leave our country to foreigners.”

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