NYT: Taliban Shooting Skills Suck

Let’s start at the end. “For the Taliban, bad shooting sometimes has proved to be good enough,” C.J. Chivers writes for The New York Times. “For all of their shortcomings, the Taliban’s level of training and state of equipment have thus far been more than sufficient for waging a patient, low-intensity war for years, and for fighting Afghan government forces, which exhibit similar skill deficiencies [as previously and more ambiguously chronicled by the same Mr. Chivers]. They are also more than capable of exerting influence over the Afghan civilian population, which for an insurgent is a large part of the war.” In terms of tactics, “Afghans who might not be able to settle into a gunfight against a patrol with superior equipment and training have learned to herd Western forces toward hidden bombs, which the military calls improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s.” OK, so NOW we’re ready to contemplate C.J.’s evisceration of Taliban weaponry, ammunition, marksmanship, strategy and training. No wait, what about the report that concluded that U.S. troops were out-gunned in 50 percent of their gun battles with the Taliban, and the subsequent rush to equip the Army with Enhanced M14s? Of this Mr. Chivers makes no mention. But if you want some ammo with which to diss the Taliban, and assume the mantle of over-confidence, this Times blog has to be your first literary port of call.

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