How Military Strategists Is The Most Formidable Foe Is One That Evolves On The Battlefield

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Military strategists believe the most formidable foe is one that evolves on the battlefield. While pundits have pronounced the Taliban dead many times since the 2001 US invasion, the latter continue to defy logic by ratcheting up anti-state attacks every year. Indeed, for a movement supposedly on its last legs and beset with factional infighting, the Taliban display remarkable vitality and purpose.

Early April also upended the traditional Taliban stereotype of savage, illiterate ideologues selling a medieval spin on Islam. Borrowing from the Islamic State (IS) playbook, the group rolled out a social media application under the moniker “Alemarah” (Voice of Jihad). This Pashto-language piece of code allows partisan to keep abreast of the
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This reconciliation came on the heels of another heavyweight, the hitherto “neutral” Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zaker, pledging allegiance to Mansour after his “reservations” were taken care of. The new emir himself has been busy rallying the troops, calling for a “final push" and predicting "good victories in the coming months." With lone newsworthy dissident Mullah Rasool in Pakistani custody, few obstacles remain in Mansour’s path towards consolidating power.

These are uncertain times for Kabul. While a fragmented Taliban were easier to pick off, they also hamstrung substantive peace talks because no single lobby could pretend to represent the majority. Now with Mansour firmly in charge, will he roll back time to last July when the militants were willing to play ball? The outlook so far is not encouraging. As Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson Institute rationalizes: "The Taliban have little incentive to step off the battlefield now, given recent gains and those likely to come in the next few months. Why quit while you 're ahead?"

So, what do the Taliban want? They have a fairly consistent set of demands that their delegates restated at the Pugwash Conference in Qatar early this year. First, the militants want their senior members removed from the UN Security Council blacklist. They also want Taliban prisoners freed from Guantanamo Bay and the establishment of a formal Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan office in Doha. Furthermore, they insist Kabul
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