As Taliban Tactics Grow More Sophisticated, Why Does It Still Use Suicide Bombers?

Typical of articles calling the Taliban attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul a “showcase for their abilities” and a “carefully orchestrated operation” is this from the Daily Beast:

[The Taliban] had proven once again that insurgents can strike just about any time and anywhere against their chosen targets, exposing the fragility of Kabul’s security just days before Afghan security forces are scheduled to take responsibility for securing the city and several other towns and provinces around the country in the wake of President Obama’s announcement of the phased U.S. military withdrawal.

Still, the eight attackers, all armed with suicide vests in addition to weapons, were killed. This begs the question: with its increasing tactical sophistication, why does the Taliban continue to rely on a technique that’s as strictly from hunger as suicide bombing?

As a tactic (if it can be called one), suicide bombing makes the Taliban look not only desperate, but, of course, too savage – read: al-Qaeda-like – to inherit the reins of a nation. My guess is that the willingness of those wearing the vests to die as martyrs is supposed to represent a de facto blessing by Allah for the operation. It’s almost like a shahid are a good luck talisman.

But this is not the way for a regime-in-waiting to behave if it expects to be taken seriously by other states. Time to grow up, Taliban. Act as if you belong on the international stage and maybe you’ll get there.