Kevin Drum cites an alarming report that came out Monday from Sify.com, of whom I’ve frankly never heard, and wonders why it isn’t getting more attention:

The Taliban has wrested control of most of Zabul province in southeastern Afghanistan– for the first time recapturing a province since being ousted from power by the US military in November 2001– geopolitical analytical firm Stratfor reported.
Stratfor said its sources have confirmed reports first published on a Web site maintained by Muslim jihadists, jihadunspun.com, that Taliban fighters, in concert with al Qaeda forces, have have retaken Zabul.

The advance also underscores the stalemate between the United States and its Afghan allies against the Taliban. It indicates that the alliance formed in early 2002 between the Taliban, al Qaeda and Hizb-i-Islami — the party led by Afghan war lord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar — is paying off for the militants, Stratfor said in a report.

The fact that no one else seems to have picked up on the story, combined with the fact that it relies so heavily on the amateur analysts at Stratfor, makes me skeptical.

Sify Ltd. is apparently an outfit out of India that offers all manner of services. Beyond that, I have no clue as to their legitimacy as a news portal. Their proximity to Afghanistan and Pakistan certainly would offer an advantage; but one would think Reuters, BBC, UPI, and others would be trolling their site for leads if it’s of any value.

Something to keep an eye out for, anyway.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John says:

    Uh, did you read Tacitus?

  2. Kevin Drum says:

    Actually, *I* hadn’t read Tacitus, but I just did.

    And he said more or less what I was going to say. This report has appeared in other places besides Sify, including the BBC, and it certainly jibes with a lot of other information about what’s going on. It’s not 100% certain, of course, but even at the rumor stage it seems well worth writing about and I’m surprised we haven’t seen it yet in the mainstream media.

  3. John says:

    I’m a little surprised, but not much. What is surprising to me is we haven’t seen the rash of “Everything is turning up roses” stories about Afghanistan that usually get published when this kind of crap happens.