Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've said recently that the Taliban doesn't gain their intelligence from reading The New York Times or any other Western publication. Most of them can't read in their own language, much less in English, and they have robust networks of local informers and agents that provide them all the intel they need.

However, that said, this strikes me as a particularly muddle-headed approach to journalism. Filkins writes a blog post about how simply meeting with Afghans puts them in danger, and describes the difficulties that a friendly tribal leader undergoes to meet for a short chat. And then he identifies the Afghan by name, even going so far as to say that he lives "about 30 minutes outside of Tarin Kowt" in Uruzgan Province.

Armed with nothing more than that information, even I could probably locate this guy in 24 hours or less just by going to TK and asking around. The Taliban wouldn't even need to do that; they probably recognized the guy right off the bat.*

*The possibility exists that Filkins changed the name or intentionally scrubbed some of the details from the story. If that's the case, he doesn't mention it in the article, which simply opens the door to more randomized retaliations as the bad guys search for everyone who might be the subject.

I usually respect and enjoy Filkins work for the NYT, but this seems to me particularly bone-headed.

WTF, Dex?


mud poisoned said...

Maybe it is all part of a trap to sucker the bad guys into looking for this guy. Then when they show up to kill him snipers pick them off.

mud poisoned said...

Did you see the article in the NYT about the $1 trillion in mineral deposits that the US discovered in A-stan?

PaladinSix said...

Yeah, a post is coming on that, but I wanted to talk to some locals I know first to get their reaction.