The Times reports today on the ‘Taliban payoff row’ surrounding the plans set out yesterday during the London Afghanistan conference to coax factions that are fighting under the Taliban umbrella into switching sides.  It may be difficult, particularly for those who have lost family members in the conflict, to agree to pay people to stop killing our troops, but it might just be the only way to win this war.

The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), al-Qaeda’s media production wing, has released a document explaining the importance of a Taliban victory against the Pakistani army.  Written by one of AQ’s chief ideologues, Abu Yahya al-Libi, it seeks to reinforce ideas about a Western war on Islam and also should remind us of the true intentions of the jihad.

The West cannot defeat radical Islam if it abandons Afghans and Pakistanis prematurely

‘Read what you like into the failure of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 30 years ago this month, but none of its echoes bodes well for us’

A new message from Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban, recently surfaced marking the Islamic festival of Eid which passed just over two weeks ago. His verbose letter offers the usual ramblings of jihadist leaders but given the intensity of the current conflict in Afghanistan merits close scrutiny.

Times are tough in Afghanistan right now. British forces have long been under attack in Helmand where scores of troops have been lost to the Taliban.

‘What’s the point of waging a war thousands of miles away when you cringe before our own Taliban?’

Yesterday, David Miliband indicated that NATO are considering political engagement with moderate sections of the Taliban.  He insisted that any military strategy must be combined with a political one in order for the Afghan mission to be a success.

Last week a US drone struck a Taliban funeral, narrowly missing Baitullah Mehsud, but killing one of his key bomb makers.

Few Pakistanis would miss Mehsud. His latest innovation is to pay between US$7,000-14,000 to either the kidnappers of, or parents of, children as young as seven, who he uses as suicide bombers. This sort of money talks in a society where the average per capita income is US$2,600 pa.