In the latest sign of the hardline movement's rapprochement with at least some areas of the modern world, the Taliban have embraced microblogging. Their Twitter feed, @alemarahweb, pumps out several messages a day, keeping followers up to date with often highly exaggerated reports of strikes.

April 11, 2011

Experts in Afghanistan say a softer line the Taliban is taking on issues like education and reconstruction projects is a tactical ploy to win broader popular support. A Taliban leader was recently quoted by Afghan media outlets as saying the movement was not opposed to education and would protect schools in areas they controlled.

An agreement between a prominent local tribe and US and Afghan forces in one of the most contested areas of Afghanistan to help stop Taliban attacks could mark an important moment in the war.

A U.S.-funded radio station is hoping a small hand-cranked radio can help turn the tide in a propaganda war against the Taliban, handing out thousands of the devices in the hopes of winning over ordinary Afghans. The idea is to counter the Taliban-sponsored stations — the so called "Mullah Radios"...

The Taliban is proposing a joint commission to investigate civilian casualties in Afghanistan. The move reveals that the militants are growing more concerned about their image in a war where the population’s loyalty is hotly contested

Unless we act decisively, large parts of flood-stricken Pakistan will be taken over by the Taliban, writes Ahmed Rashid...Pakistan's floods have not just devastated the lives of millions of people, they now present an unparalleled national security challenge for the country, the region and the international community.

The Afghan people must be persuaded that the Afghan government, not the Taliban, is a reliable advocate, able to provide strong social services as well as security once the United States and other forces leave.

The US may be in the midst of providing the country with $7.5 billion in aid. But average Pakistanis like the United States less than Al Qaeda and just a little more than the Taliban.