In Afghanistan, a region of the world no-one really likes to talk about anymore, the Taliban has kicked off its traditional spring offensive with a huge attack in Kabul that killed more than 60 people.
The blast and subsequent attack took place at an Afghan government building and was one of the deadliest single events in recent years.
Not to be outdone by ISIS’s focus on media relations, the Taliban even named their offensive this year. “Operation Omari,” they said in a press release, will “employ all means at our disposal to bog the enemy down in a war of attrition that lowers the morale of the foreign invaders and their internal armed militias.”
Many of the Taliban traditionally spend the winter in Pakistan, in a Pashtun area that used to be called the Northwest Frontier Province but is now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Through NATO’s long war in Afghanistan, it was very clear that this untouchable Taliban safe haven inside Pakistan was making it very difficult to defeat the enemy.
Not even Pakistan’s military has access to parts of the province, so deep is the Taliban influence.
Just to highlight how strange and unruly a place KP really is, there was a recent report in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper about the newest fun thing to do in the area: find or buy a scorpion, put it on some hot coals (while avoiding being stung) and then inhale the smoke as it cooks to death.
The poison in the creature’s tail is what creates the effect, but the key thing to remember about smoking scorpions is that the first six hours are brutal, and the last four hours are full of visual hallucinations and memory loss. How is that fun? Hard to say.
“Everything appears like it is dancing,” said Sobhat, a scorpion smoker who spoke to Dawn. “The roads, the vehicles, everything in front of me.”
The scorpions may now be the best last chance for defeating the Taliban.
Get Front lines directly in your inbox. Click here to become a FREE Legion Magazine Insider!