ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ TARGETS MINESWEEPING UNITS
Al-Jazeera television on March 6 announced that al-Furqan Media Production Establishment, which is the media unit of the Islamic State of Iraq, recently posted a video called “Minesweeper Hunters.” The video displays insurgents launching attacks on U.S. minesweeping personnel. It also provides technical information on the minesweeping units, such as the number of troops in the units, the production costs and technical specifications of the different types of machinery, among other details. According to al-Jazeera correspondent Hamid Hadid, “The video starts with a statement by [an insurgent] field commander, who notes that the engineering efforts of what he called the Islamic State of Iraq have resulted in developing the technology of producing explosive charges and a new electronic circuit that can offset the jamming functions of these minesweepers that cause electronic disturbances and detect explosive devices.” Insurgent operations against the vulnerable minesweeping units are a problem for the U.S. military since impairing minesweeping operations limits their ability to reduce the threat of IEDs and other explosive charges to conventional troops.
MULLAH DADULLAH PROPAGANDIZES SPRING OFFENSIVE
According to various media reports, Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah is ready for the spring offensive against coalition and government forces in Afghanistan. Since The Jamestown Foundation first provided its in-depth profile of Dadullah, the Taliban military commander has greatly increased his stature inside Afghanistan. Dadullah has engineered propaganda materials that have been recorded on hundreds of CDs distributed in Pakistan and can be purchased at markets in Peshawar (Weesa, March 6). On the CDs, Taliban militants discuss how bloody the spring offensive will be, and that the fighters now have more weapons at their disposal than ever before. Dadullah has also repeatedly claimed that he has thousands of suicide bombers ready for deployment in Afghanistan (Weesa, March 6). While many Taliban claims are purely propaganda in order to rally their fighters and potential recruits, most analysts are concerned that 2007 will prove to be an especially bloody year for Afghanistan. Separately, in a sign of possible coalition operations to come, a report in Dawn on March 8 claimed that NATO and Afghan forces conducted an operation in Pakistan’s North Waziristan agency, landing two helicopters in the Lawara area of Shawal and capturing Hakimullah Mehsud, an aide of Pakistani tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud who is aligned with the Taliban. Shawal district is located high in the mountains, just across the border from Afghanistan’s Paktika province.