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Mullah Dadullah
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The Junk Yard Mullah

Mullah Dadullah is a founding member of the Taliban and a close associate of Mullah Omar. In an early campaign against Ismail Khan, Dadullah stepped on a land mine. The Taliban, a disability-tolerant organization, rehired Dadullah with his artificial leg. Dadullah is an aggressive and brutal commander, willing to take the fight to the enemy, and not afraid of casualties. After an ugly beheading binge while campaigning against the Hazara, Mullah Omar removed Dadullah from command, but then deployed him again in the north against the United States and Masud's alliance. Dadullah somehow escaped capture and fled south to his home turf.

Hiding in Pakistan, Mullah Omar invited Dadullah to join a new leadership council of ten. Most Afghans dislike the Taliban, and they had no large financial backers, so a guerilla war like the one fought against the Soviets in the 1980's was no longer possible. Al-Qeada's tactics in Iraq, led by the brutal Zarqawi, served as a role model. Never a terrorist organization before, the Taliban would become one now. Terror attacks won't destroy the Karzai-Warlord state, but could demonstrate how weak it is, and persistent attacks might drive NATO out.

Mullah Omar picked Dadullah to lead the new terror campaign. Already an enthusiastic beheader, Dadullah learned some new techniques from Osama and the Pakistani intelligence, especially Al Jazeera interviews, assassination attempts, suicide bombs and vehicle bombs. Dadullah's campaign opened in Helmand province, gaining real momentum in 2006. Helmand is mostly flat desert, so fighters must fight in the "green zone" near the rivers, where moisture-heavy marijuana fields provide cover from US thermal vision equipment. Dadullah ordered reckless attacks, throwing away fighters for nothing. But his 200 man suicide bomber force did pretty well. His officers fear and obey him, a rare accomplishment in Afghan armies.

NATO forces are now hunting Dadullah in Afghanistan the way the US did Zarqawi in Iraq. We have declared him dead or captured several times already, only to see him interviewed on Al Jazeera the next week. Dadullah will probably get killed, but his tactics might drive NATO out before Afghanistan is stabilized.

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