During fighting in the Vietnam War, American military experts were usually quite struck by the fact it was North Vietnamese communist soldiers who were more willing to kill themselves in the fight against their enemies while South Vietnam soldiers would run away rather than commit suicide. The past few days in Afghanistan have witnessed an ambush of French paratroopers, elite fighting men, by the Taliban and the death of 10 French soldiers which represents the highest number killed in a single battle in Afghanistan. Repots indicate four o the French soldiers were kidnapped and then killed. Even as the French were dying, in a daring attack, a team of suicide bombers tried to storm a US base near the Pakistan border. The attacks came just a few days after suicide bombers killed themselves outside the camp and killed innocent civilians.
The willingness of members of the Taliban to commit suicide in order to kill the enemy is frightening in many respects but it also demonstrates the strength of belief that opposes coalition and US forces in Afghanistan. A strong willed group opposes the Afghanistan government and it is willing to die for its belief. The US learned forty years ago when confronting such fighters the solution was not sending in more soldiers, but fighting to win the hearts of the civilian population. The battle for Afghanistan will best be fought via ideas, improved economic and social conditions, and, above all, an education system that creates a sense of patriotism and support of the government.