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INSIDE STORY
The Taliban's new code of conduct
Will it help them to win the hearts and minds of the local civilian population?
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2009 13:05 GMT

As the Taliban have grown in strength in recent years, individual commanders have had a fair degree of autonomy - often deciding what operations to conduct and how to run the territory they control.

Now it appears that Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban leader, wants to centralise the way the movement is run.

Every single Taliban fighter is being issued with a code of conduct - regulations that offer a rare insight into the Taliban's structure, organisation, evolution and goals.

It talks of limiting suicide attacks, avoiding civilian casualties, imposing restrictions on engaging foreign forces and ironically, like their enemies, trying to win the battle for the hearts and minds of the local civilian population.

Does this code of conduct signal a shift in Taliban ideology? Are they hoping it might help increase their popularity with the Afghan people? How will it affect the Afghan elections next month? Is it a PR campaign, a sign of discipline, strength, or weakness?
 
Inside Story presenter Imran Garda is joined by Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, the former Afghan prime minister, and Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress and former assistant secretary of defence in the Reagan administration.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, July 28, 2009.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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