What the world got wrong about the Taliban’s strategy thumbnail

What the world got wrong about the Taliban’s strategy

Art depcting a Taliban member and flag

The Taliban have a saying: Taliban rule always rises from Kandahar and sets from Paktia. 

When American forces tried to uproot the Taliban, the first province they fled was Paktia and the last was Kandahar. This time the strategy was totally different.

Taking Kabul was not a priority for the Taliban leadership it seems. The US and Afghan forces had thought that the Taliban would not take Kabul before the winter. But suddenly overnight something happened in the leadership circles that they swarmed the capital.

The capital Kabul had symbolic significance. The spiritual capital for the Taliban is actually Kandahar, it is not Kabul and never was and never will be. 

The whole world thought that the Taliban would first take the Pashtun areas and then head to the North. But we saw that the first province that fell was Zaranj, which borders Iran and has nothing to do with Pashtun areas. The Taliban did not face any resistance in the North, the biggest they faced was in Kandahar, Helmand and in Ghazni, which are Pashtun districts. The commanders and Pashtuns in the Afghan government put up the most resistance.

The Taliban took Kabul because it became a matter of honour. People said that they would have nothing if they did not take Kabul. We saw they started gathering within an hour on the west side of the city. The weird thing was that they did not take the north or south sides of Kabul. They came from the west, which is Shia populated. And when the Taliban entered, they first came from Koht-e-Sangi, which is Shia populated. 

The big news was that Mullah Baradar will come to Afghanistan from Doha after 20 years.

Taliban’s local fighters started to control Kabul without bloodshed because Ashraf Ghani left. Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah tried to negotiate with the Taliban. But Kabul was handed over, except for the airport because it is still in American control.   

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