Thursday, August 5, 2010
Taliban Ought to Teach at SWC and the State Department
In the past week I received tips on two interesting articles on how the Taliban are wining the influence war (notice how I cleverly avoided using either PSYOP or MISO). One was a May 3, 2010 Article from Time (Why the Taliban Are Winning the Propaganda War @ http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1895496,00.html) and the other an August 2, 2010 article from All Voices (Taliban use of psychological warfare techniques in Afghanistan @ http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6441710-night-letters-taliban-psyops-campaign-appeals-to-afghan-sense-of-pride-and-patriotism-wikileaks). Photo Source: Time Magazine
Both articles are pretty good and point to some reasons why the Taliban are indeed winning. The more recent article is especially important because it claims to be based on a review of the recent documents leaked by Wikileaks and given the report number citations appears well documented. Here are my thoughts on why the Taliban are winning.
First of all they have a streamlined approval cycle and a unified chain of command for influence operations. This means they can get their messages out sooner.
Secondly, the Karzai Administration is even worse than the Obama Administration when it comes to influence war strategy and operations.
Third – the Taliban is far more credible and can be more locally focused through their shadow governments and local warlords who are able to back up their threats of violence with the promised horrific results.
Fourth – they seem to know their target audience better than we do as evidenced by their appeals to nationalism and patriotism.
Fifth – they employ a wide range of media designed for maximum reach to their various target audiences.
Sixth – they appear to beat the Western media at its own game by skillfully manipulating events and perceptions in their favor.
While they lack iPads and the latest technology, the Taliban have proven that are a formidable opponent who also has the weapon of time on their side. Perhaps we need to consider ‘out of the box’ ways to thwart their efforts and the US and Afghan government influence agents need to get on the same page – now!