Psychological Struggle

Target: French and other NATO publics

The large, coordinated attack against the French is a  judicious use of force by the Taliban. Instead of picking targets of opportunity in a game of attrition, it is very likely this operation was executed primarily for specific informational effects. Nukes and Spooks asks which of two theories of the attack is applicable. More than likely, it is both. If so, we should be concerned. 

So why did it happen? There are two theories being considered here at the Pentagon. One is political and the other is strategic.

The first is that the Taliban was retaliating against the French for sending 700 more troops in Afghanistan under pressure from NATO and the Bush administration.  French President Nicholas Sarkozy took a lot of criticism from his people in April, when the additional troops arrived. And today, some Frenchmen charged that their troops died for America, not France.

By attacking the troops, the Talbian sent a message to future NATO allies that their troops are not safe.

The second is that the Taliban is trying to rattle Kabul, psychologically. They are under no illusions that they can take the capital, the theory goes, but if they can keep launching these kind of attacks, residents will be paralyzed.