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What the Taliban–IS rivalry means for South Asia (Kabir Taneja, ORF)

Afghanistan has vacated the front pages of the global news cycle as the Taliban consolidates its hold on the country after 20 years of war. However, the crisis points in the State and the conflicts that surround it are evolving in a fast-paced and erratic manner, highlighting developing challenges from the perspective of terrorism in […]

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Is the Taliban takeover a tragedy or a farce? (Laila Bushra, East Asia Forum)

The Taliban’s first stint in power from 1996–2001 was an unqualified tragedy for Afghanistan and the rest of the world. It saw thousands of people dead, widespread destruction, and graphic scenes of violence before the ushering in of the first ‘forever’ war of this century. Will their return bring more tragedy or is it a […]

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Enemy of my enemy: Iran and the Taliban (Mohammed Ayoob, The Strategist)

The Taliban victory and the American exit from Afghanistan have shuffled the pack in the region in multiple ways. Several of Afghanistan’s neighbours with major stakes in the country have reacted to these developments with ambivalence. Pakistan, the Taliban’s major external source of support and its primary advocate in the international community, has exulted over […]

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Russia/Taliban. Russia and the Taliban: Prospective Partners? (Samuel Ramani, RUSI)

Since Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on 15 August, Russia has cautiously accommodated the Taliban’s seizure of power. Diplomats, such as Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov and President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, have praised the Taliban’s contributions to security in Kabul and the struggle against Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K). While Russia has […]

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Iran/Afghanistan. Iran and the Taliban (Erfan Fard, BESA Center)

Iranian clergymen, including Ebrahim Raisi, image via Wikimedia Commons The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks. Iran opposed the US presence, as it strove (and continues to strive) for regional hegemony. Despite its distaste for the Sunni Taliban, Tehran constantly undermined US efforts to stabilize Afghanistan by collaborating […]

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Afghanistan. The Taliban’s chance (Andrea Schmitz, Christian Wagner, SWP)

The Taliban will find a more favourable international environment in Afghanistan today than when they first took power 25 years ago. With support from neighbouring states, they could stabilise their power. Andrea Schmitz and Christian Wagner outline the conditions. The Taliban’s chance – Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (swp-berlin.org)

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Iran/Taliban. Iran and the Taliban: Bitter Enemies or Potential Partners (Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA)

Just as the Taliban emerged as a political force in Afghanistan in 1994, it became clear very quickly that their relations with their western neighbor, Iran, were for the most part based on mutual hostility. They were each radical extremes of the Sunni-Shiite divide with their political systems claiming that the head of their movement […]

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Taliban/Palestine/Middle East. The Taliban’s Palestinian Partners: Implications for the Middle East Peace Process (Dan Diker, Khaled Abu Toameh, JCPA)

Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met in Doha, Qatar, in August 2021. (Hamas) The Taliban’s reconquering of Afghanistan, followed by the ISIS-K terror bombing that killed 13 U.S. military personnel and scores of civilians, underscores the far-reaching implications of the U.S. withdrawal. The mujahideen’s takeover, following a 20-year, post-9/11, U.S. […]

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USA/Taliban/ISIS-K. ‘It’s Possible’ US and Taliban Will Target ISIS-K Together, Milley Says (Tara Copp, Defense One)

Taliban fighters atop vehicles with Taliban flags parade along a road to celebrate the U.S. pulled all troops out of Afghanistan, in Kandahar, on September 1, 2021. AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES / JAVED TANVEER The U.S. is planning more retaliatory strikes against ISIS-K in response to a suicide bombing last week that took the lives of 13 […]

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Afghanistan. Before the Taliban took Afghanistan, it took the internet (Atlantic Council)

Emerson T. Brooking The Taliban insurgents who conquered nearly all of Afghanistan in just two weeks counted social media among their weapons. They deployed Facebook and WhatsApp to help prevail over their opponents on the battlefield. They issued hundreds of premature declarations of victory via Twitter—using spam to amplify their messages and create a sense of inevitability. Their smartphones proved […]

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Taliban/al Qaeda. The Taliban and al-Qaeda: What Next? (BESA Center)

Dr. James M. Dorsey The Taliban proved that they value loyalty when they rejected US and Saudi pressure to hand over Osama bin Laden no matter the cost. The Taliban have since come to appreciate al-Qaeda’s fighting skills and contributions to the Afghan jihadists’ cause, and their return to power seems good news for the […]

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Afghanistan/Taliban/Middle East. Little Enthusiasm in the Middle East for the Taliban Victory (BESA Center)

Prof. Hillel Frisch The effect of visuals has often plagued the West in its war against terrorism. Now, the visual material from Afghanistan is coming to haunt the Islamists in the Middle East. Hamas cannot wax enthusiastic over Taliban when “the man in the street” in Kabul shows such a grim face. Little Enthusiasm in […]