TREKH NAWA, AFGHANISTAN – The planned emplacement of an improvised explosive device (IED) on Main Service Road Tulley was delayed again, according to local Taliban leader Mullah Ahmidullah, because all the emplacers had to attend "another goddamned safety brief."
"We were all set to go this morning, until I got my turban chewed by Mullah Hayatullah," Mullah Ahmidullah complained.
According to Mullah Ahmidullah, four of his emplacers still had to undergo Operational Risk Management, Motorcycle Safety, and Gender Sensitivity Training.
"Seriously?" Mullah Ahmidullah exclaimed. "Gender Sensitivity Training? The last woman we saw was the one we stoned to death for smiling!"
Mullah Ahmidullah runs a cell of Taliban fighters that emplaces IEDs on the local roads, targeting American convoys and Afghan police vehicles. At least that was before the Quetta Shurah put a new emphasis on safety and risk management in the field.
In the last two weeks, Mullah Ahmidullah's cell has only managed to emplace two IEDs, a decline which he primarily attributes to a now "endless" series of classes his fighters have to attend. "Tuesday is 'Music is the Devil', Wednesday is 'Drugs: How to Grow and Sell Them', and Thursday is 'Don't Kill Yourself Until We Get the Vest Strapped On'."
According to Mullah Mubarak in Herat Province, the new focus on safety briefs is impacting other Taliban units as well.
"Just last week I had one of my best executioners pulled because his swim qualification wasn't up-to-date! How are we supposed to properly cut infidels' throats on our next propaganda film without him?"
Taliban Shadow Governor Mullah Hayatullah, reached at his house in Quetta, Pakistan, confirmed the new emphasis on safety. He also said that the change is being driven largely by what he referred to as "recent stories in the media."
Earlier this year, the Khaaba Press alleged that two Taliban fighters in Kunduz Province were caught flying a kite. Shortly after that, a Taliban cameraman in Helmand Province was beheaded for forgetting to praise Allah while filming a suicide bombing. The final straw, though, may have come last week when the Haqqani Network discovered that their unit logo was actually a Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
Others blame a public outcry by Mothers of Afghanistan over unnecessary Taliban fatalities caused by poor safety, such as the infamous YouTube video of four Taliban killed while attempting to strap a 300 pound IED to a donkey. In response, Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Omar promised a renewed emphasis on "keeping our boys safe."
Mullah Hayatullah said that the Quetta Shurah understands the frustration some may have, but added "that's why we get paid the big Afghanis."
"Mullah Omar feels that we need to be focusing on the 'whole Taliban' concept, instead of this narrow focus on combat operations in Afghanistan," he said.
"We need to be thinking of where we want to be ten years down the road, and getting back to our roots as an anti-Israel force in readiness. After all, Afghanistan doesn't have a Taliban because it needs one; it has a Taliban because it wants one!"