The Taliban sensed an opportunity. Eager to win more public support for their insurgency and desperate to prevent the Islamic State from making further inroads into their territory, they decided to escalate the fight against the group.
Afghanistan itself was a sideshow in which money and careers could be made and repatriated. In the meantime, an artificial economy was created there to service birds of passage, from diplomats and aid workers to military officials and outside contractors.
Anas Haqqani, the youngest son of a jihadist commander who fought the Russians and the Americans, tells Newlines that the Taliban has learned from its mistakes. But can the Taliban leave their brutal past behind?
Pashtuns living in the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan have often been described as “lawless,” their existence defined by “rebellion” against rulers as disparate as the Mughals and the British. All have offered one solution: state violence.
Over its 10 years of aiding the mujahedeen, the U.S. learned nothing about the nuances of Afghanistan’s people, history or culture — a problem that would continue to plague most of our actions for the 20 years the U.S. spent in Afghanistan.
It’s fate that two former enemies ended up selling books together. But a sense of foreboding prevails about what lies ahead once the Taliban and the Afghan National Army join mortal combat without foreign forces as a buffer.
This is a behenchara, a sisterhood that grows stronger with each media attack or attempt to pull it down. Pakistani women have fought the patriarchy for so long and have suffered its consequences too many times. But like before, they have only reemerged stronger for next year.