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Tuesday, August 10

UN report: Students of the Koran, not NATO troops, responsible for spike in civilian deaths in Afghanistan

If the United Nation huffs that they referred to "Taliban," not "Students of Koran" -- what do they think "Taliban" means in English? It means "students" but specifically students of the Koran. The Students of the Koran have been winning the propaganda war in Afghanistan chiefly because the U.S. and other coalition commands have broken the cardinal rule of warfare: Never, ever, allow the enemy to control how you refer to him. That needs to change, "yesterday." If they don't want to call a spade then come up with another name for the enemy -- one he can't hide behind.

That's Pundita's contribution to General Petraeus's call for improved coalition strategic communications in Afghanistan.

August 10, 2010
(Christian Science Monitor) According to a new UN report, the Taliban and other insurgents are largely responsible for the recent surge in civilian deaths, not coalition forces. Gen. David Petraeus has ordered a related PR offensive.

According to the UN, the number of civilians killed in the conflict in the first half of this year numbered 1,271, more than a 20 percent jump over the same period last year. Under stricter rules of engagement, coalition forces reduced civilian killings by 29 percent, while insurgents killed 48 percent more civilians than at the same time last year. Overall, insurgents were responsible for 72 percent of this year's civilian deaths.

NATO’s tighter rules of engagement have resulted in grumbling in the ranks, but Petraeus hasn’t changed the rules much since he took command in July. Instead, he is pushing his public affairs officers to reap greater benefits from the Taliban’s increasingly poor record on killing innocents.

“He has made it very clear from the beginning that it’s his intent to hold the Taliban accountable for what they are doing – and to announce what they are doing,” says Lt. Col. John Dorrian, the public affairs team chief for international coalition forces. [...]
Strategic communications have been a disaster for the coalition forces in the Afghan campaign, so good for Petraeus's efforts to improve the situation.
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