Survival of the Taliban

Taliban face five to six critical crises which they must surmount to survive. Potential famine, finances, internal divisions within the Taliban, the mounting real threat of ISIK/ DAISH/ ETIM/TTP which threatens their supremacy (mostly financed by outside forces) an ignorant and dysfunctional governance and finally international recognition. Taliban political opposition are all outside the country and are ill organised to start a movement to remove the Taliban as yet. However, this will gain momentum in a year as countries like Turkey, India, Germany, France, and the US begin to give space to open offices and start looking at the alternatives. Ahmed Masud has an office reportedly in the US, Germany will allow him an office I believe in Germany soon. Turkey is encouraging Ex Northern Alliance leaders to establish a system, Ustad Sayyaf has left India for Turkey. Tajikistan has already given its policy of support to the ex-Northern Commanders. One may see a Government in Exile shortly!!

As long as the Taliban do not encourage religious movements in neighbouring countries, Kabul will remain acceptable but a pariah. Till now Pakistan and Qatar remain with some influence but this will change as India, EU gain better access to Afghanistan. India hopes to make inroads through Moscow.

Longevity of the Taliban is in serious doubt. It’s inherent internal flaws and its total lack of understanding international relationships leads one to think it as a short-lived government.

Rifts within the Taliban, though under control now, is bound to surface in 6- 12 months. The Kandahari Taliban and the Haqqanis are the major groups. Another lawless Taliban entity the Logari Taliban has emerged which is creating havoc in Kabul. The Taliban in the North as well are into looting, killing, and kidnapping of young girls at will.

These present Taliban are different to the ones that the world saw in 1996. The present lot is a Talib in a hurry, hurry to make money to snatch and grab before they are eliminated.

The Taliban despite their earlier announcement of amnesty to all once they took Kabul, are now reneging on that promise. Every day 20-30 Afghans (mostly ex Officials of the last regime) are found dead with their throats slit and hands tied behind their backs in the many ditches in Kabul. People are picked up and never seen again. Revenge killings has begun.

An unofficial estimate by an Afghan elder feels that given half a chance, more than 10 million Afghans will flee the country.

The religious fervour of the movement remains mostly amongst the remnants of Mullah Umar’s old brigade only.

Internationally the Taliban will remain untrustworthy. Pakistan must continue to be harsh on border crossings but oblige unhindered trade. Islamabad must continue to be firm regarding the TTP and Baluchi non state actors.  The greater plan against Pakistan remains to deny Gawadar Port and disruption of CPEC. Iran just fought off a skirmish with the Taliban on its Nimroz Border, the seeds of disconnect has been sown.

China is disappointed by the Taliban refusal to hand over ETIM members. It is not amused by Pakistan talking to the TTP to my mind. However, it hopes that in time Taliban changes, improves it’s governance so that it can move ahead with its OBOR.

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