A recent Time: Asia article details the “undefeated” Taliban:
- Coalition spokesman Colonel Rodney Davis agrees: “The coalition has degraded what was a formidable force.” True enough. But the Taliban have taken what was left of their own army and morphed it into a guerrilla-and-terror outfit. Their goal, says Afghanistan expert Professor Barnett Rubin of New York University’s (NYU) Center on International Cooperation, is to “cause enough terror that the foreigners will leave Afghanistan and Afghans will be afraid to collaborate with the government in Kabul, causing it to crumble.” That’s likely beyond their reach, but in a country as unstable as Afghanistan, even degraded Taliban fighters are a lethal threat.
The article describes the freedom the Taliban have in Pakistan – an American ally:
- Essentially, the Taliban have returned to the cradle in which they were nurtured a decade ago with funding and training by Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). (Accusations persist that rogue ISI agents or ex-agents still back the Taliban.) The border provinces are controlled by Jamiat Ulema Islam, an extremist party that openly harbors the Taliban. In Quetta, 110 kilometers southeast of Chaman, men roam the streets wearing the distinctive black or white robes and black or white turbans characteristic of the Taliban. “We feel relaxed and safe here,” says a young Talib. A local cleric says Taliban commanders meet regularly in the town to plan raids into their former domain. Foot soldiers “operate in twos and threes,” says a trader who works on both sides of the border. “They sneak across, carry out attacks and come back.”
Antiwar.com’s “Eye on Afghanistan” keeps track of this volitale country — America’s last attempt at nation-building.