The resilience of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan over the past half-dozen years has dispelled illusions of a military “victory” excluding them, and an end to the thirty years’ war in Afghanistan seems certain to involve their reintegration in some form into Afghan politics. In considering possible negotiations with the Taliban, one particular concern is how united, or disunited, the Taliban really are: Is the control exercised by the leadership of the Taliban sufficiently strong to deliver on any negotiated settlement? Or is the control weak enough to allow for easily co-opting or buying off individual commanders, avoiding the pursuit of a settlement with the political leadership? This report by Antonio Giustozzi, written as part of The Century Foundation Project on Afghanistan in Its Regional and Multilateral Dimensions, lays out how the Taliban are structured and organized, with an eye to assessing the impact of their organization and modus operandi on their willingness to negotiate and honor a political settlemen
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