Do opponents misunderstand each other in Afghanistan?

The Vietnam War (final chapter) was a great tragedy in part because the Washington and Hanoi misunderstood each other badly.
Washington didn't get that Hanoi was more nationalistic than communist and that they were indeed  believing to fight an anti-colonialist war.
Hanoi on the other hand didn't get much right either, especially not that Washington wouldn't have been particularly interested in that rice pond if there wasn't this Communism and Domino theory thing.

The Afghans certainly don't misunderstand each other to any problematic extent, but what about the West and the Taliban (+ all those other armed violence opposition groups)?

Even if intelligence services, military leaderships and governments got it right this time - what about the general populations in the involved Western nations?

I've got my doubts, not the least because there's still a noticeable minority believing even in the completely fictitious 9/11-Saddam link, and many people in the West don't seem to discern between Taliban and AQ at all (which, in a complicated way, isn't completely off, but in another way it's wrong).

It should raise more than an eyebrow if war is being waged without full confidence in the understanding of each other's intent.

The "know your enemy" quote of Sun Tzu would now allow for a stylish finish of this post if I hadn't already pointed out the poor utility of Sun Tzu quotes. This kind of thing always comes back to hurt you...



  1. The US probably misunderstands the Taliban, its certainly doesnt have a clue about itself, which is the more important part.

    Know yourself, know your enemy, and you will never be defeated in 100 battles.

  2. What's there to misunderstand about the taliban? Islamo-fascists hell bent on global domination. Nothing to misunderstand there.

    Difference between taliban and AQ? Who cares?

    We don't need to understand them. We need to destroy them. We have the weapons for that, but in our PC world nobody has the balls to use them.

    Funny, back in WW2, when Japan and Europe were freed from similar fascism certain politicians and generals didn't have such problems.

    Ah you Europeans and your white flags. Amusing. How's that islamisation and multi-culturalism working out for you?

  3. @everyone else: This is what I meant.

  4. AK
    "The Taliban" are not a single group hell bent on anything.
    Its a convenient term used to lump together dozens of disparate groups, from the hardline arabs looking for a shortcut to paradise, through the mercenaries who rotate between the Caucus and Afghanistan and wherever else is playing, to the locals, fighting to defend their village, tribe, smuggling rights, poppy crop or to unite into Pashtunistan.

    The Fakir of Ippi didnt attempt world domination, neither will his modern day replacement.

    Probably pointless I know