Taliban flush with cash for attacks - War on Terror - www.theage.com.au

The Afghan Front:

There's a story out of the Age of Australia called "Taliban flush with cash for attacks." Bad news sells more papers, as they say, and the editors have chosen the bad news from the story for the headline and lead paragraphs. But there's some very good news inside:

General Khan's forces captured Mujahid, a former deputy defence minister, on July 6. They seized a satellite phone, a notebook of expenses and a diary of phone numbers, including that of a mobile phone used by the fugitive Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, a close ally of bin Laden. Mujahid is now being interrogated by the Americans at Bagram air base, near Kabul.

A US military official declined to say what else had been gleaned from Mujahid, but his arrest, along with the recent capture of several relatives and aides, has given US and Afghan intelligence officials a crucial insight into Taliban operations. The mobile number was traced to Quetta in Pakistan.

"Afghan agents made Mujahid ring Omar's number, but Omar put the phone down after Mujahid mentioned a code word that meant he had been captured," said General Khan. "It was just bad luck." The discovery that Omar is apparently directing operations from inside Pakistan has increased pressure on Islamabad to curb Taliban activities on its soil.
Grim's Hall noted the satellite phonecall to Mullah Omar when it was first reported. It looks like his residence in Quetta was why they didn't hit him with a guided missile. Today's report brings new detail about the level of intel that's being captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Two things worth noting -- the intelligence officers involved on our side are "US military officials." That underlines a point about the nature of the GWoT: the majority of intelligence victories we've seen are coming from military actions, not from the civilian intel agencies. This includes not only the captured files of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, or the surrender of the Libyan nuclear program by a dictator who didn't want to be next. It also includes all of these captured fighters, their documents, and so forth. Pakistan's ISI and our CIA are surely not idle, but the ones we see getting the job done are military men. That should settle the question of whether or not the GWoT is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement" operation: even if it is that, the military does it better.

The second point to reflect on is how many captures there have been in Pakistan lately. That we know of, we've got Mujahid, a formerly high-placed official; the "High Value Target" Qaeda capture of last week; and the computer junkie who had all the pictures of financial centers. All of these captures were disclosed to us only some time after they were made -- "several weeks" in the case of our computer cowboy, allegedly "days" in the Qaeda case, and so forth.

The war is rolling along, and I see every reason to be cheerful about it. They've got millions; we've got billions. They can move in relative freedom, we hear, though we capture them now and then -- but when did you last hear of a US general officer being captured by the Taliban, or anyone else? It was actually tried in Ramadi, with the result that the US Marine Generals took up rifles and ran the enemy off. Staying the course, bold and brave, is the road to victory.

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