Se trata de una curiosa observación que surgió el año pasado en el ya desaparecido blog Moon of Alabama, y que se ha ido expandiendo a través de otros blogs centrados en temas bélicos como War is Boring, dirigido por el reportero David Axe (cuyo trabajo sobre la piratería somalí recomiendo), y The Security Crank.
Resulta que 30 es el número mágico de la prensa cuando se refiere a acciones de las fuerzas de ISAF en Afganistán contra los talibanes. La lista de artículos en los que se habla de “30 insurgentes”, “30 enemigos”, “30 talibanes” da la impresión de no tener límite. La búsqueda que hemos hecho en Viaje a la guerra nos da un resultado igual de abultado en español. Sólo algunos ejemplos, por orden cronológico:
. Up to 30 militants killed in Pakistan, CBC News, 11 marzo 2006. Pakistani security forces backed by helicopter gunships have attacked a suspected hideout of Islamist militants in a tribal region near the Afghan border, killing up to 30 people.
. Rumsfeld arrives in Kabul as 30 Taleban killed in Helmand, Times Online, 11 de julio 2006. US-led forces hunting a Taleban commander have killed an estimated 30 Taleban militia in an overnight raid on a hide-out in southern Afghanistan, the US military said today.
. ‘Scores of Afghan Taleban killed’, BBC, 10 de junio de 2006. A statement by the US-led coalition said “more than 30” militants were killed in a clash with Afghan and Canadian forces in Arghandab district in Zabul on Monday.
. Coalition predicts “significant fighting” in southern Afghanistan, 30 militants killed, AP, 21 junio 2006. Dateline: KABUL, Afghanistan Southern Afghanistan will witness “significant fighting” between U.S.-led coalition and Taliban forces for several months before NATO takes control of the region, the military said Wednesday.
. 30 militants killed in S. Afghanistan, Xinhua, 14 enero 2007. Afghan and NATO forces killed 30 Taliban operatives in the troubled Helmand province in south Afghanistan on Saturday, provincial police chief Mohammad Nabi Mullahkhil said Sunday.
. U.S. Says Attacks Are Surging in Afghanistan, NYT, 16 enero 2007. Shortly before Mr. Gates arrived along the border, the Pakistani Army announced that it had launched an airstrike on a suspected militant camp in South Waziristan, killing 25 to 30 militants that it said were Al Qaeda members, according to The Associated Press, which quoted a Pakistani Army spokesman.
. Two British soldiers, 45 insurgents killed in Afghan fighting, AP, 5 septiembre 2007. Taliban attacks killed two British soldiers and two Afghan police officers Wednesday in restive southern Afghanistan, while nearly 30 militants were killed elsewhere, authorities said.
. Forces Kill 30 Militants, Find Weapons Caches in Afghanistan, AFPS, 9 septiembre 2007. WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces killed more than 30 suspected militants during an operation yesterday in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
. Report: 30 militants killed in Swat , UPI, 26 noviembre de 2007. Pakistani forces say they killed 30 militants in their latest offensive to regain control of the violence-racked Swat valley, Dawn reported Monday.
. Militants release students and teachers taken hostage at Pakistan school, Guardian, 28 enero de 2008. Last week, Pakistani forces killed up to 30 militants in clashes near the city of Peshawar, after militants seized four trucks carrying ammunition and other paramilitary supplies.
. Taliban commander and 30 militants killed, Quqnoos, 22 de febrero de 2008. AFGHAN troops have killed 30 Taliban militants in Helmand, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Pakistan army targets militants in northwest, AP, 8 de agosto de 2008. KHAR, Pakistan. At least 30 militants and seven Pakistani paramilitary troops have died in clashes near the Afghan border, where security forces pounded insurgent hideouts Friday with helicopter gunships and mortar fire, officials and residents said.
. US and Afghan Troops Kill Dozens of Militants in Afghanistan, VOA News, 16 de agosto de 2008. The U.S.-led coalition Saturday said more than 30 militants were killed in three days of fierce fighting in Zamto Valley, in southern Kandahar province. The coalition said its troops along with Afghan forces called in airstrikes during the clashes that began Wednesday and ended Friday.
. US coalition: 30 militants die in Afghan battle, AP, 21 de agosto de 2008. KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S.-led coalition troops battled a group of militants in eastern Afghanistan, killing over 30 insurgents, while three NATO soldiers were killed in a roadside blast elsewhere, officials said Thursday.
. U.S.: 30 militants killed in west Afghanistan, AP, 22 de agosto de 2008. KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S.-led troops attacked a compound where Taliban leaders were meeting and killed 30 militants, American and Afghan military officials said Friday, but the Interior Ministry said a large number of civilians died. The U.S. said it would investigate.
. 30 Taliban and 4 police are killed in Afghanistan clashes, EveningNews, 27 de agosto de 2008. More than 30 Taliban fighters and four policemen were killed in a series of clashes, airstrikes and bombings in Afghanistan, officials said today.
. 25 worshippers, 30 Taliban militants killed in two separate incidents in Pak, ANI, 11 de septiembre de 2008. In a fresh spate of killings in Pakistan, at least 25 civilians were killed and 50 injured in a grenade-and-gun attack in a mosque in the Maskanai area of lower Dir, and Pakistani security forces claimed to have gunned down at least 30 Taliban militants in the Bajaur tribal agency.
. 30 militants killed in northwest Pakistan, ToI , 14 de septiembre de 2008. ISLAMABAD: At least 30 militants were killed and over 20 injured in air strikes by Pakistani security forces on Sunday in a troubled northwestern tribal region, where the army is conducting a crackdown on the local Taliban.
. Pakistan Officials: Air Strikes Kill 30 Militants, AP, 19 de octubre de 2008. Pakistan killed 30 militants close to the Afghan border Sunday as America’s top diplomat in the region visited for talks with government leaders, officials said.
. Two German soldiers die in Afghan day of bloodshed, Times Online, Oct 20, 2008. The deaths, and the murder of Gayle Williams in Kabul, follow a defeat for Taleban forces overnight near Lashkar Gar, the Helmand provincial capital. Isaf and Afghan troops were reported to have killed more than 30 insurgents and recovered weapons, ammunition, motobikes and other vehicles used by the Taleban, in a raid.
. Militants kill Afghan governor, 30 rebels killed: officials, AFP, 8 de noviembre de 2008. Afghan government and international military officials said Saturday that Taliban insurgents had gunned down a district governor overnight and about 30 militants had been killed in various clashes.
. More than 30 militants killed in Afghanistan, Xinhua , 16 de noviembre de 2008.
Afghan army backed by the US-led coalition forces have killed more than 30 militants in southern Afghanistan, a coalition statement released here Sunday said. A group of militants Saturday night ambushed Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and coalition forces while they were conducting a reconnaissance patrol in the Nahr Surkh district of Helmand province, the statement said.
. Pakistan army says airstrikes kill 30 militants, HuffPo, 2 de diciembre de 2008. Pakistani airstrikes and a suspected suicide attack left 34 dead near the Afghan border on Wednesday, security forces said, as the U.S. urged broader action against militants after the Mumbai terror attacks.
La lista de los “30 talibanes muertos” del año 2009 es casi tan extensa. Desde nuestra propia experiencia junto a los soldados estadounidenses en Afganistán, subrayar que la muerte de 30 talibanes es algo muy poco habitual, pues lo predominante en esta guerra asimétrica, en este conflicto de baja intensidad, son las escaramuzas. Emboscada talibán – en muchos de los mismos sitios que los muyahidines atacaban a los soviéticos – y rápida retirada de las milicias pastunes.
No faltan teorías sobre por qué es 30 el número talismán de las agencia de prensa y de los portavoces militares (aquí podéis leer algunas, que van desde la traición de Judas hasta Donald Rumsfeld). Ante la imposibilidad que se da en no pocas ocasiones de realizar un recuento de los cadáveres de enemigos abatidos, especialmente como consecuencia de bombardeos, se declaran 30 muertos por defecto, a modo de propaganda. Una cifra segura, que muestra avances en la campaña militar pero dentro de unos márgenes de destrucción en teoría aceptables.