What will the Taliban government look like?
The winning strategy of the Taliban
By: Anita Abbott
Chair and Patron, APSI Forum and Center of Excellence
The collapse of the Afghan government, and the withdrawal of NATO and US troops have allowed the Taliban to declare its victory. What went wrong? Many observers reason that intelligence failures and the corruption of the Afghan government have contributed to this collapse. It is hard for many realists to grasp: the Taliban lacks military power but yet it has won. Indeed, the ramification of the weak Afghan government is a failed state. But surely, the Taliban’s strategy has rendered its triumph.
Three points have led to the Taliban's victory. First, the Taliban has networks that sustained its activity. The UN reports that between 1996 and 2000, the opium production under the Taliban doubled as a result of its agreement with transnational criminal organizations. The Taliban also has a strong alliance with Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin that has opposed the Afghan government.
Second, the Taliban has utilised peace talks and diplomacy to buy time. The west fails to see that peace agreement will never be reached with the Taliban. In February 2020, when peace agreement in Doha was reached, the Taliban broke the agreement and continued to attack civilians and Afghan Security forces. Another example is Al Gama’a Al-Islamiyya and Taliban declared that they were willing to suspend hostilities but they were buying time for strengthening their activities.
Third, the Taliban’s distraction worked. International organisations and collective defence focused on Southern Afghanistan where it was dominated by the Taliban but did not focus on Northern Afghanistan. A political analyst in Kabul, Ramish Salemi, said, “the Northern region is strategic for the Taliban because they believe that if they can conquer these non-Pashtun territories, they can easily take control of the south and the capital, Kabul.”
Taliban’s winning strategy worked. What will Afghanistan be like under the Taliban? Irfan Yar, the founder of the Afghanistan Security Institute explains what the Taliban government would look like. MGen Hagemann and SGM Spadaro from the APSI Forum and Center of Excellence also share their experiences in Afghanistan. You do not want to miss it!
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