A recent lull in Taliban resistance will not last, says a top commander who adds that come spring, the insurgents will be back on the offensive in Afghanistan, perhaps with assassination teams.
Despite the dismal prediction by the number-two American commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez painted a positive picture of American and international war efforts there, but warned the Taliban will be back on the offensive when spring arrives.
Winter in Afghanistan is so brutal, the Taliban tend to hunker down and refit so they can launch offensives in the spring.
Rodriguez expects the Taliban, which was hit hard by an increase in coalition attacks in 2010, to try new tactics this spring in an effort to rollback coalition military gains.
“Yes, assassination hit teams, IEDs (improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs), indirect things. They will not be as direct in their confrontations as they were last year, I believe,” Rodriguez told journalists at a press conference Tuesday.
The general expects Taliban hit teams to target civilian leaders who have taken over in areas that the Taliban used to control before coalition offensive operations.
But it’s not just those who oppose the Taliban that are being killed.
“They’re killing their own,” Rodriguez said. “You’ve got to understand that, in that insurgency, there’s a hierarchy of the most committed to the least committed. And they have been going after the people who were part of their efforts before, but who are on the lower scale, who are trying to turn over and support their government.”
The Taliban’s tactic of turning on their own comes after coalition success in places like Kabul, the capital.