General David Petraeus is not that concerned about whether or not Osama bin Laden is captured because is it unclear if he really is the top leader of Al-Qaeda. “While it would be very, very important to kill or capture bin Laden, there are numerous other leaders who are …giving directions, who are determining the flow of resources, providing spiritual guidance and so forth.” A lesson that finally has been learned by American military forces is killing a leader of an organization which is driven by ideological feelings, does not result in a collapse. Of course, sometimes reports of “killing al-Qaeda leaders” may not actually result in the death of terrorists. Britain’s Sunday Times reported the so-called “killing of a Taliban leader” was actually the killing of a Pakistan officer.
Petraeus discussed the important of gaining the support of the population in order to isolate the Taliban from its base of support. However, a basic problem is that a large percent of the Afghan population prefers the traditional society of male domination and rule by clans rather than support the idea of a unified government. How does one gain the support of a population which disagrees with basic concepts of democracy?