Good reporting from the Christian Science Monitor, but a disturbing trend. The Taliban’s new weapon of choice — kidnapping:

That disenchantment is proving as devastating as any bomb. Last month, after the Taliban kidnapped Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, the Italian government nearly collapsed when opposition parties raised a storm of protest. Out of fear that Italy’s parliament might decide to withdraw its 1,950 troops – what could have been a hefty blow to NATO’s mission – President Hamid Karzai traded five Taliban prisoners for Mr. Mastrogiacomo’s release, a stunning and highly criticized victory for the extremists.

And when Mr. Karzai refused to negotiate for Adjmal Naqshbandi, Mastrogiacomo’s Afghan translator, the Taliban won again. Mr. Naqshbandi was beheaded on Sunday, prompting expressions of outrage and betrayal for the apparent double standard and further driving a wedge between Karzai and the Afghan public.

The Taliban should teach a course on effective public relations.