Who are the Taliban and what do they want? 5 key points

While Pakistani and Afghan insurgents often get labeled as the 'Taliban,' in reality there are several groups that often act independently and have distinct command structures, ideologies, and strategies.

Who supports them

Support for insurgents is heavily tied to ethnicity.

The insurgents are predominantly Pashtun and enjoy more support in areas where Pashtuns live, namely, the south and east. They find little favor with other ethnic groups. Some rural Pashtuns view the insurgents – especially the Taliban – as the lesser of two evils when compared with the Afghan government.

"One of the most important things to an Afghan, especially in the context of the last 30 years of open warfare, is personal security," said DuPee. "The central government and to a degree NATO/Coalition forces have failed in this regard. The Taliban, in the view of ordinary Pashtuns, is the only entity able to impose law and order."

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

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We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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