“A host of wandering Talib-ul-ilums, who correspond with the theological students in Turkey and live free at the expense of the people…….” – Winston Churchill, 1898 1. The present ongoing conflict in Pakistan’s tribal belt and in Afghanistan has serious security implications for India. The Mehsuds, Wazirs and Afridis were the tribals used by the Pakistan Army in 1947-48 to attack the state of Jammu and Kashmir, leading to occupation of what is now called the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).
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The Pakistan Army again used them before and during the war of 1965. Zia-ul-Haq used them for suppressing a Shia revolt in Gilgit in 1988. The same elements were again used to infiltrate into Kargil, leading to Kargil War. 2. If the US and other NATO forces fail to prevail over these Terrorist Tribesmen in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt, these tribesmen, fresh from their victories in that region, would move over to Kashmir to resume their aggression against India. What we are now seeing in Kashmir is the beginning of the end of one phase of the aggression involving Terrorists of the 1980s vintage. We might see the beginning of a new phase involving better-trained and better-motivated Terrorists of the latest stock. 3. The tribal belt of Pakistan and Afghanistan was the chess board of the ‘Big Game’ played between colonial powers. The British established ‘Durand Line” demarcating the tribal areas which could not be governed. The British encouraged raising and maintenance of militia in FATA and NWFP, so as to thwart the Russian designs in South Asia, especially India. The area was kept as a buffer to the Russian empire which had reached up to modern Uzbekistan. 4. The militia tribesmen of FATA and NWFP, after the departure of British from the subcontinent, were utilised operationally for the first time by Pakistan in 1947 against India. This strategy highlighted the advantage of utilising non state actors as means of aggression. The tribal invasion of 1947 resulted in occupation of approximately 35% of J & K by Pakistan. 5. Approximately 70,000 tribesmen attacked India in 1947 and were driven back up to LOC till ceasefire agreement in 1948. These tribesmen after the attack dispersed back into tribal areas of FATA and NWFP. The tribal populace thereafter supported and participated in the resistance movement confronting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988, and full attention of these insurgent tribes was shifted to India. The existence of these elements in the FATA and NWFP was not given due consideration by India till late 1980’s when insurgency erupted in J & K. In past, the tribal militia had no name, but now to keep pace with the media and generate support, the tribesmen have assigned names/nomenclature to their organisations; the most prominent nomenclature amongst all of them being the Taliban. 6. The Taliban is an ideology which majority of insurgent groups find easy to imbibe. The various warring tribes in FATA and NWFP have come under a common umbrella of Taliban ideology in recent years. The main cause for this mass acceptance of Taliban ideology is due to large influx of Al-Qaida operatives post US led “War on Terror’. 7. The resurgence of the Taliban and ongoing CI operations by Pakistan army, along with deteriorating situation in FATA and NWFP has major security implications for India. The proximity of North Indian frontiers to the conflict zone coupled with the current insurgency in J&K, the need of the hour is to redefine security policy and take speedy initiatives to put effective deterrent in place.
Considering the continued aggressive attitude of the tribesmen from FATA and NWFP in the past towards India, their reorganisation under Taliban leading to current conflict in Pakistan may result in renewed and increased threat to the North Indian frontiers. The paper seeks to highlight that the Taliban are a threat in being for India’s security.
There is an urgent need to identify the critical vulnerabilities of the Taliban and identify additional security initiatives that need to be undertaken by India.
10. The threat of Taliban from FATA and NWFP to North Indian frontiers has been underestimated. The tribes in FATA and NWFP have existed as militia and mercenaries for over 100 years; however they have been given nomenclature/name like Taliban only recently. The first organised offensive of these tribesmen into India was in 1947 to annexe the state of J & K. Thereafter, since 1990 these tribesmen have infiltrated into J & K state as foreign mercenaries / terrorists fuelling insurgency. 11. Considering the continued aggression and threat from the tribesmen from FATA and NWFP since independence of India, there exists a knowledge gap with regard to their origins. Relatively little research has been directed towards exploring their transformation into an umbrella organisation – the Taliban, probably because of the obvious difficulties with studying a covert organisation. The absence of a logical explanation for the existence of these aggressive tribesmen as mercenaries and militia has complicated the threat evaluation process. This study describes the Taliban phenomenon, elaborates upon their strengths and weaknesses. The study endeavours to predict the Taliban’s future strategic course of action and recommends measures to counter their strengths and exploit their weaknesses in order to design a formidable CI/CT effort. The Taliban have emerged as front runner terrorist outfit in the troubled FATA and NWFP. The study of their ideology will also provide inputs towards their grand strategy and objectives. All these inputs will enable correct assessment of security threat to India and aid in development of strategy to counter this menace. The thesis may also be of interest to field operatives, helping them to understand their adversary.
The history bears the testimony to the vulnerability of Indian sub continent to invasions from North Western Frontiers. The rise of Taliban in FATA and NWFP of Pakistan, their reorganisation and rejuvenation is of grave concern to India, which cannot be ignored. The paper focuses on the history, ideology and overall grand strategy of Taliban highlighting the impending threat to India and way ahead.
13. The data for this paper has been collected primarily through secondary sources, the books available in the library. Some material has also been garnered from various college lectures. Periodicals and papers written by famous socialists and historians have also been referred to. Bibliography is placed at appendix A. 14. Tertiary sources include various articles compiled and published from time to time by renowned authors in various reference books and articles available from the internet.
15. It is proposed to study the subject in the following manner:- (a) Chapter – I: Introduction. This chapter describes the purpose of the thesis and the statement of problem. It argues the need for developing a broader understanding of the Taliban in order to develop a better approach to deal with counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism efforts in the North Western frontiers. (b) Chapter – II: The Problem Genesis. This chapter covers the historical perspective of the problem. The chapter brings out the circumstances leading to the genesis of the Taliban phenomenon. (c) Chapter – III: The Taliban Organisation. Chapter III focuses on the structure of the Taliban. The chapter analyses their formal and informal layout and operational mechanisms. The leadership and decision-making processes of Taliban will also be highlighted to assess the motivation and beliefs of Taliban operatives to give a better understanding of their recruitment and human resource processes. (d) Chapter – IV: Analysis of Taliban. Chapter IV analyses the strengths and weaknesses of Taliban utilising the Commander’s Estimate of Situation method. The Strategic and Operational Objectives are derived from research. These are analysed to determine strategic and operational Centres of Gravity. Finally critical vulnerabilities are determined, which will be utilised to develop Indian Course of Action to tackle the Taliban menace. (e) Chapter – V: Taliban Threat – An Indian Perspective. This chapter brings out the national opinion on the existence of Taliban threat. The chapter highlights the vulnerabilities of India and its borders and the threat in being. (f) Chapter – VI: Recommendations and Way Out. The final chapter gives a way out for overcoming the emerging Taliban threat. The chapter will suggest recommendations for planning effective CI/CT strategies to counter the Taliban strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu 1. Introduction. The study of background leading to genesis of Taliban will help in identifying the patterns of past actions of Taliban and aid in analysing current behaviour. This chapter will cover various aspects of Taliban history, highlighting the influence of ancient tribal warrior culture, the invasion by USSR leading to rise of Mujahideen, relevance of Madrassas and their religious ideology, civil war following withdrawal of USSR forces, Rise of Taliban, the downfall of Taliban and current insurgency in the Afpak region. 
2. Throughout the history invaders have tried in vain to overpower the Pashtun dominated region of Afpak. The first recorded invasion of this region was by Alexander in 326 BC, thereafter a number of armies appeared on the scene including those of Persian Empire, Huns, Turks, Mongols, British, Russians and recent ones being the US troops. The conquerors were either defeated or absorbed into the tribal culture of the Pashtuns thereby maintaining the independence of the region. Despite the apparent ease in conquering the Pashtun areas, no outside power has ever been able to completely subdue it. The tribal and military orientation has shaped the culture and outlook of the area. As Johnson writes, “A Pashtun is never at peace, except when he is at war.” The people of this region have therefore for centuries been inclined to reject any form of strict authority even at the cost of discord and insecurity. 3. The “Great Game” in nineteenth century shaped the current political landscape of the region. The Pashtuns had their first encounter with modern military power through three Anglo- Afghan Wars in 1839, 1878 and 1919. Both Russia and Britain desperately tried to get a foothold in Afghanistan, but were unable to gain headway. Finally both parties agreed to create a buffer in shape of Afghanistan between their zones of influence. The international boundary known as Durand Line was drawn between British India and Afghanistan in 1893. The Pashtuns continued to maintain strong ethnic and family connections across the international boundary. The British accorded the tribes on other side of border a semi – autonomous status that was maintained after creation of Pakistan in 1947 in the form of FATA. 4. The Pashtun areas on both sides of Durand Line continued to exist peacefully till 1973, when Zahir Shah’s four decade rule ended. The instability after his departure resulted in emergence of Communist ideological People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and it finally overthrew government in 1978. The Communist reform package, which included drastic changes in land ownership, new taxes, compulsory education for women, and participation of women in non-traditional roles in society, was resisted by traditional and orthodox religious elements of Afghanistan, led by the Mujahedeen of Afghanistan. As Larry P Goodson commented “These reforms struck at the very heart of the socio-economic structure of Afghanistan’s rural society; indeed, their sudden nationwide introduction, with no preliminary pilot programs, suggest that this was their real purpose.”Finally, Soviet Union deployed troops in Afghanistan in December 1979 to aid their communist ally against the Islamic militias and to counter the threat of radical Islamist power along its soft underbelly of the Muslim majority Central Asian republics. The Soviet involvement led to increased Mujahedeen resistance and calls for jihad. 5. The ten year occupation resulted in Soviet 40th army loosing 13,883 personnel, plus 650 more in affiliated units. Despite heavy investments in men and material the Soviets were not able to gain unopposed access. Therefore after a long and costly counter – insurgency effort the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan in Feb 1989, leaving a Communist Government headed by Najibullah. 6. The exit of Soviet forces was followed by a civil war which resulted in overthrow of Najibullah’s government in April 1992. The defeat of the communist government revealed the differences in the fractured alliances of Mujahedeen parties. Each faction had its leader or warlord in a geographical region of the country with aspirations for power. In – fighting broke out among the warlords leading to widespread looting and rapine. This strife between the warlords and a war weary population set the stage for the radical ideas of the Taliban to so easily take hold in Afghanistan. “The Taliban mythology cites their creation as a reaction to the injustices that were perpetrated during the mujahedin era of Afghan politics.” 7. The cadre of the Taliban emerged from the Pashtun refugee camps. It was there, in some of the Madrassas, that a selectively interpreted version of Islam, Wahabism, influenced students (talib) to adopt an ultraconservative approach to social issues and politics. Despite differences with the fundamentalist religion espoused by the Taliban, the people gathered behind them because of promises to deliver peace by eliminating the menace of the warlords and narcotics. This tradition and the aura of a righteous religious student on the quest for peace gave students immense rapport with the Pashtun people. The popularity of the Taliban rapidly spread and they experienced continued success in consolidating power. 8. On 10 Nov 1994 Taliban seized Kandahar, the organisation gained religious legitimacy among the Pashtuns when their leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, wore the sacred cloak of Prophet Mohammad in public and declared himself Amir Al-Mu’minin (leader of the Faithful). This event can be considered turning point in the Taliban movement for providing it a charismatic leader, who could thereafter take advantage of the tribal religious sentiments of Pashtuns. 9. After the control of Kandahar, the Taliban progressed in quick succession and by 1997 controlled 95% of Afghanistan. The Taliban established order in Afghanistan, but it was of a fearsome medieval kind. The Taliban’s government policy had become well known. Women were rendered anonymous, refused work or education. Justice was implemented by Islamic law. Television, music and photographs were banned. Gradually, the Taliban led by Mullah Muhammad Omar lost support of international community and afghan populace due to very strict enforcement of its version of Islamic law. Mullah Omar during his reign in Afghanistan interacted with Osama bin Laden and Taliban hosted Al Qaeda training camps. 10. The attack on United States of America on 11 Sep 01 by Al Qaeda operatives and the Taliban’s refusal to extradite bin Laden led to launch of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The operation resulted in rapid fall of Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The majority of Taliban fighters dispersed back into Afghan society, while its leadership went underground.  11. In the Pakistani border areas with Afghanistan, the FATA and areas of NWFP, the tribal populace had supported the Taliban movement since its inception. The populace in these areas has been at odds with the Pakistani security forces since its independence. 12. The current problem of insurgency in Pakistan has roots in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when FATA was used as launch pad for Mujahedeen sponsored by Pakistan and U.S. These areas turned into hotbed of terrorism, which was further fuelled by Madrassas, continued supply of modern weapons from U.S and heavy influx of Afghan refugees. Once the Soviets were ousted from Afghanistan, majority of foreign Mujahideen settled in FATA and NWFP. The radical elements in FATA and NWFP supported the Taliban after commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom. Therefore Pakistani government became a target for its crucial support to OEF. Pakistani troops are heavily committed to FATA and NWFP, currently over 1, 00,000 troops are deployed to counter pro – Taliban terrorists. On 14 Dec 07, the Taliban “movement” in Pakistan coalesced under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form an umbrella organization called Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), having allegiance to Mullah Omar.
13. The Taliban is an organisation and therefore dependent on environment. The environment in which they operate places constraints and also provides for opportunities. The major components of environment are discussed below.
The most important environmental factor is the physical terrain in which the Taliban operate. The terrain in Afghanistan, FATA and NWFP is very harsh and mountainous covering an approximate area of 270,000 sq miles. The harsh and inaccessible mountainous terrain is conducive for insurgent activities. The area also has inaccessible spaces which are governed by tribes that allow terrorists freedom of manoeuvre, while it makes organised conventional military operations ineffective and expensive in terms of troops and resources. The rugged geography has embodied the regions culture, which has remained unaffected by time.
The culture is most important factor concerning the situation. The culture of area depends greatly on Pashtunwali code of honour that predates Islam and is specific to the Pashtun tribes. The Pashtunwali is the traditional norm by which people of Pashtun tribes are expected to conduct themselves. A Pashtun must adhere to the code to maintain his honour and to retain his identity. If one violates this code they are subject to the verdict of Jirga.
The religion is another pillar of the Taliban, Afghanistanis are 99 % Muslim, consisting of 80 % Sunni and 19 % Shia. In Afghanistan, Islam has been mixed with pre-Islamic beliefs and tribal customs of Pashtunwali. The Taliban transformed the tradition to ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam. The basics of this ideology stem from Madrassas founded during the Soviet – Afghan war. The increased influence of Saudi Arabia lead to Madrassas shift to orthodox Islam which looks to “follow Salafist model and thoughts”. The attraction of Salafi movement is rooted in its ability to provide a domain in which a resistance identity is created through discourses, symbols and everyday practices. Within this the members are required to organise themselves into small tight-knit communities that stand distinctly apart from open society. To some extent it can be identified as a sect, demanding complete loyalty, unwavering belief and rigid adherence to a distinctive lifestyle. However as written by Rashid “The Taliban represented nobody but themselves and they recognised no Islam except their own.” The majority of Afghanistan’s populace did not traditionally follow this interpretation of the religion but had to contend with its enforcement during the Taliban reign.
The ethnic breakdown of Afghanistan and Tribal areas of Pakistan is as follows:- Ser No Tribe Percentage (a) Pashtun 42 (b) Aimak 4 (c) Tajik 27 (d) Turkmen 3 (e) Hazara 9 (f) Balochi 2 (g) Uzbek 9 (h) Others 4
18. The Pashtuns have a majority in the Taliban Organisation, with minimal participation of other tribes. As a result during the Taliban rule and ensuing insurgency other tribes were targets of attacks. The coalition of northern tribes (Turkman, Tajik and Uzbek) made up bulk of the northern alliance troops that allied with US troops to overthrow Taliban in 2001. 19. Pashtun Tribal Breakdown. The Pashtuns are further sub-divided into several tribes and sub-tribes spread throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pashtuns in Pakistan are larger in number than those of Afghanistan and are mostly concentrated in FATA and NWFP. These tribes are interconnected in a complex interplay of obscure genealogies, mythical folklore, historical alliances and conflicts, which makes it very difficult to differentiate and draw lines between the groups. However, there are five major tribal groups of Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are the Durranis, Ghilzai, Karlanri, Sarbani and Ghurghusht, with Durrani and Ghilzai as the most influential (Figure 3). 20. Since 1747, the Durrani tribal confederation has provided the leadership within the Southern Pashtun areas. The trend started with Ahmad Shah Durrani, when he founded the monarchy. Ahmad Shah is considered the founder of modern Afghanistan because he was able to unite the factional tribes. The present President of Afghanistan is also from Durrani tribe. The traditional folklore connects the Durranis with the Sarbani tribal group. 21. The Ghilzai tribal group, which is concentrated in the eastern Afghanistan, has historically been an arch-rival of the Durranis. Some of the important leaders of Taliban today, including Mullah Omar belong to this tribal group. 22. The Karlanris are the third largest group of the Pashtun tribes and are referred to as the hill tribes. They occupy the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Waziristan, Kurram and Peshawar. 23. The Sarbani are divided into two major geographically separated groups. The larger group is located north of Peshawar, while the smaller one is scattered in northern Balochistan. This group because of their links with the Durranis are considered part of the traditional aristocracy of Pashtun tribes. 24. The last major group is Ghurghusht. These are settled throughout northern Balochistan. Some factions of this tribe can also be found in NWFP.
25. The primary sources and assets available to Taliban are religious militant outfits, human terrain or manpower and opium trade. The analysis of Taliban resources can be carried out by determining the availability and quality. The religious militant outfits include Al Qaida and similar sectarian organisations. The Al Qaida provides vital support to the Taliban organisation. The support of Al Qaeda provided the Taliban cause legitimacy in a multitude of intercontinental terrorist organisations. The Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pledged his support to Mullah Omar, the leader of Taliban. Al Qaeda provides Taliban with assistance in form of financial support, manpower, technology (high end weapons) and training. 26. The other strong supporters of Taliban include Tehreek-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi (TNSM), which is active in the FATA and Swat regions of NWFP.  There are other supporting insurgent groups from central Asia like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). 27. Few of the Madrassas in the Pashtun belt propagate radical version of Islamic ideology and therefore are convenient recruiting grounds for Taliban. The Leadership of Islamic movement has fallen in the hands of Pashtuns as they were able to oust Soviets. Since the Madrassas had played important role in Anti-Soviet Jihad, these institutions acquired reputation of both as recruiting grounds for Mujahidin and centres of learning. 28. Human terrain. The human terrain  is most important asset for the survival of Taliban. There are approximately 28 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This large pool of Pashtuns provides recruits, support personnel, money, weapons and an intelligence network to aid in waging insurgency. 29. The Pashtuns have been amenable to Taliban, as they do not dominate the Kabul administration. The Pashtun mistrust of the government was further heightened by inability of Afghan Transitional Administration, as it could not protect Pashtuns from human rights abuses from the warlords and insurgents since fall of the Taliban government. 30. The people and recruits of Taliban after the fall of Kabul remerged with the local populace, providing outstanding and real time intelligence. With more than two generations of war-hardened inhabitants to select from, the Taliban recruited experienced fighters who know the terrain and can survive harsh environment. In addition a large amount of ordnance, weapons and ammunition, which were stored by Mujahedeen during Afghan -Soviet war; have fallen into the hands of Taliban. The human resource factor cannot be a permanent asset for Taliban due to the power struggle between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IROA) and Taliban. 31. Drug Trade. As per the western accounts, the revenue from drug trafficking and Opium trade in Afghanistan can be considered as an asset for Taliban organisation. The Afghanistan with its increased dependence on revenue from Opium trade has turned into a narco-state. The record of 2006 Opium harvest was estimated at over $ 3 billion. The following years estimates are even higher. Afghanistan currently produces 93 percent of the world’s Opium trade and half of Afghanistan’s GDP depends on the Opium trade. The share of Taliban from the flourishing opium trade is not available. However, it is established that Taliban capitalise on the drug trade by taxing the farmers, landowners and drug traffickers. 32. Historically, on assuming control of Afghanistan, the Taliban agenda was to eliminate Opium trade, but now it has become essential for their survival. The Opium serves three main purposes for Taliban:- (a) It provides the populace an illegal economy to operate outside the umbrella of government, to the detriment of Kabul. The drug traffickers and the Taliban mutually support each other with weapons, personnel and funding in a concerted effort to destabilise the current legitimate Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IROA) government. (b) It provides necessary funding for the insurgency. (c) It is primarily exported to the west (affects the western society), especially Europe, where 90 % of heroin supply comes from Afghanistan.
33. The other environmental factors that affect Taliban are the regional players in the South Asia, NGOs and Humanitarian agencies and presence of Coalition forces, which include Pakistani and Afghani soldiers.
The regional players directly influence the Taliban as they have direct bearing on the overall political scenario affecting the movement. The area of influence of Taliban stretches across Central Asia to the Indian Subcontinent. This area is of immense strategic importance, its components share historical roots, affinities and enmities having overbearing influence on interrelationships and domestic issues. Most of the Afghanistan’s issues considered as domestic are more likely regional in character.
The direct involvement of Pakistan in Soviet-Afghan war, in support of Mujahidin, along with United States of America and Saudi Arabia has created a complex legacy that is affecting Pakistan even today because of continuous turmoil and violence linked to the issue. Pakistan has critical interests in Afghanistan’s stability because of close economic and cultural links. The stable Afghanistan provides for economic opportunities for Pakistan, as it ensures access to resource rich Central Asian region. The stability will also ensure stability in Pashtun dominated western Pakistan, where at present Taliban presence is destabilising the entire FATA and NWFP. 36. Months after the official beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, Al Qaeda and Taliban militants poured over Afghanistan’s border into Pakistan and found refuge in FATA. The region home to more than 3 million Pashtuns was an ideal sanctuary. The tribes native to FATA adhere to the pre-Islamic tribal code of Pashtunwali, which by custom extends assistance to strangers who request protection. By spring 2002, less than a year after the initial invasion of Afghanistan, that sanctuary became even safer after President Bush decided to pull most of America’s Special Operations Forces and CIA paramilitary operatives off the hunt for Osama bin Laden, so they could be redeployed for a possible war in Iraq. All of these factors greatly alleviated pressure on the remaining Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. Between spring 2002 and spring 2008, militants were able to consolidate their holdover north-western Pakistan. Baluchistan’s capital, Quetta, is home of the Taliban’s main Shura or council. The Taliban’s overall leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar has found refuge in the city. The support of Pakistan to Taliban is considered essential till they gain strong foothold in Afghanistan. However few western writers contend that the Taliban have already taken control of 10% to 20 % of area in Afghanistan, and therefore no longer require sanctuary in Pakistan. The ISI has already drawn distinction between extremist groups focused on destabilising Pakistan and those primarily concerned with war in Afghanistan. On ground, the Taliban based in Pakistan (TTP) have taken allegiance to Mullah Omar, the supreme Commander of Taliban. Also Pakistan being a strategic partner of coalition forces, the pressure to cleanse the Taliban sanctuaries is mounting.
The proximity of Iran with Afghanistan has not resulted in cultural affinities, except in Herat area. Iran never gave importance to Afghanistan until Soviet invasion. Iran’s primary focus was on the Persian Gulf region. Afghanistan is today strategically important due to concern that other powers might take advantage of weak state to menace Iran. The Iranian belligerence with Taliban is resulting from their Sunni outlook and prosecution of Shia minorities. At present Iran is interested in expanding its economic role in Afghanistan. A stable afghan state is beneficial to Iran in long run, so it opposes a Taliban led insurgency. However, there have been reports of Iran supporting the Taliban covertly. Iranian actions may be due to close relations of IROA with United States of America. Because of US-Iranian incompatibility, the Iranian long-term strategic interests are in jeopardy due to sustained US presence in Afghanistan. Therefore, Iran may manipulate Taliban insurgency to its own advantage. If this situation materialises, the Taliban may be able to overcome some key shortfalls (like advanced anti-air weaponry, guided missiles) and gain inroads into Shia groups in Afghanistan (mainly Hazara tribe).
The former Soviet Central Asian Republics also influence the current situation. Their ethnic ties with the non-Pashtun northern Afghanistan minorities have made them oppose the Taliban due its prosecution policies. These countries are also concerned about spread of radical Islamic militancy across their borders and these have been furthered by past support of Taliban to entities like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Therefore, these states have strong reason to assist Afghan government against Taliban.
39. India traditionally had strong links with various governments in Kabul, except between September 1996 and 2001 when Pakistan supported Taliban was ruling Afghanistan. After the collapse of Taliban in 2001, India moved quickly into Afghanistan, besides its embassy in Kabul and consulate in Mazare-Sharif (both in Northern Afghanistan), India has reopened its consulates in cities of Kandahar (Southern Afghanistan), Heart (Western Afghanistan) and Jalalabad (Eastern Afghanistan). India has supported the Bonn process, which also resulted in bringing the Indian educated Hamid Karzai to the political forefront. India is also making efforts to reach Afghan people by emerging as one of the largest regional and the fifth largest international aid donor to Afghanistan. The primary objectives of India’s foreign policy in Afghanistan are:- (a) Negating the Taliban influence in the region. (b) Securing Afghanistan as a trade and energy corridor to Central Asia. (c) Curtail the spread of drug trafficking in the region.
India’s security interest primarily revolves around denying any political or military space to the ISI backed Taliban and other such fundamentalist groups, given their past record of not just indulging in fierce anti-India rhetoric but also extending logistical and moral support to anti-India militant groups within the Kashmir valley and outside. Indian support to the predominantly Tajik dominated Northern Alliance and its refusal for any negotiations with the Taliban are a part of this objective.
Afghanistan’s poppy enters the Indian illegal drug market, through Pakistan. Although the supply of Afghan narcotics pushed in through Pakistan has swiftly dwindled from a high of 64 percent in1996-1997 to 5 per cent by 2002, owing largely to measures such as higher border vigilance in the post-Kargil phase and fencing and electrification along the border, the nexus between Narco-trafficking and terrorism is helping militant movements in the region. 42. The regional factors influencing the Taliban are themselves in a state of constant change. These changes in strategy are due to the varying interests and inter-state dynamics. If Taliban are able to exploit actions of these players to their advantage, then the organisation’s overall situation and available resource base can improve drastically.
43. A large number of NGOs are operating in Afghanistan and rendering assistance to the populace. These organisations work with the government and United Nations, as a result are directly affecting the Taliban. The NGOs and Humanitarian aid organisations are focused on supporting the rural populace. These organisations provide them economic assistance, emergency aid, agricultural development, education and social order. 44. The work done by these organisations is legitimising the IROA and seriously affecting the human influx into the Taliban due to economic empowerment and education. The Taliban have increased attacks on these organisations, as a result humanitarian aid efforts in southern and Eastern Afghanistan have been halted and most aid projects are focussed in peaceful areas of Northern Afghanistan.  The contrast in the aid to the people within the Pashtun belt and those in Northern area furthers the cause of Taliban. The NGOs are targeted because they are viewed as government and western agents. 
45. The Taliban’s insurgency strategy is one of patience. They are conducting a classic “war of the flea,” a type of warfare that causes the enemy to suffer the “dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with. If the war continues long enough the dog succumbs to exhaustion.” 46. The Taliban plan is based on gaining time with continual mobilisation of the religious public in Afghanistan and Pakistan that invokes the sufferings of Muslims the world over. The next stage will involve rallying of the Pashtun tribes through the Pashtunwali code and religious ideology by portraying their subjugation by the non-Pashtun government in Kabul. Thereafter they will aim for building confidence among Afghan and tribal populace in the Taliban organisation, while simultaneously decreasing the legitimacy of IROA and Pakistan government. Once the Western forces and its supported government are expelled by military means, the Taliban hope to establish firm control over Afghanistan and western Pakistan, culminating in their version of Islamic State. Therefore, the immediate objective of the Taliban today is the same as it was in the 1990’s: to take Kabul and to build an Islamic Emirate based on Sharia. 47. On-the-ground observations and reliable evidence suggest that the Taliban have an efficient leadership, are learning from their mistakes, and are quick to exploit the weaknesses of their adversaries. They are building a parallel administration, have nationwide logistics, and already manage an impressive intelligence network. 48. The principles of war do not change. As Sun Tzu stated, “one must know their enemy.” This chapter analysed the factors that directly or indirectly shape the composition and conduct of the Taliban. The thorough understanding of these elements is important for countering the menace of Taliban. The research till now reveals that most important factors affecting the Taliban are culture, religion and human terrain. The progress of the paper will further delve into these factors to analyse strengths and weaknesses of Taliban to build a coherent counter strategy.
“The secret of all victory lies in the organisation of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (AD 121-180)
1. The chapter will highlight structure of Taliban organisation. The main elements discussed will be both formal and informal organisation, work and people (human resources). These elements interact and provide characteristic shape to Taliban organisation. There is very limited material available on the topic; therefore emphasis is on inferences from known facts and events. 2. The Taliban have different organisational structure at different tiers in their hierarchy. Before 9/11 episode the group operated in a conventional, central manner at its top and middle levels. However, during insurgent activities, the organisation becomes flatter and gives local commanders more independence, so that they can adapt to demands of a complex environment and benefit from dispersing their forces into small units.
3. The Taliban organisation has constantly evolved to suit its requirement since its inception in 1994. Given the covert nature of the organisation, the formal and informal organisational features cannot be differentiated. However, its organisational characteristics vary by levels in the hierarchy. The Taliban organisation typically has a centralised planning and decentralised execution. The basic structure of Taliban organisation culled out from the open source media reports is as shown in fig 4. 4. The Taliban as an organisation consists of specialised departments and operational forces under defined regional commanders. There is also informal coordination with the other radical organisations like Al Qaeda. The coordination is mainly attributed to the common tribal and clan networks and above all common cause. The commonality is also in the supply chain of weapons and war material. In addition the covert presence of Taliban elements in the present government setup of Afghanistan under President Karzai cannot be ruled out. Their presence will influence the political decisions and provide vital intelligence to the organisation. 5. The regional organisation of Taliban is similar to its overall organisation as depicted in fig 4. The regional commander exercises overall control over the local cells and factions of insurgents. The control and authority of the regional leader depends upon his status in the overall organisation of Taliban. 6. The local level of Taliban is an amalgamation of various freelance insurgent organisations. A large number of independent local groups continue to emerge in the Afghanistan countryside in addition to the formal recruits. Depending on the objectives and inclination, these groups align themselves with Taliban. The groups thereafter use the trademark name of the Taliban for their operations. These new entrants are required to support the strategic objectives of Taliban, whilst maintaining their independence. This ensures maintenance of interests of both parties and ensures preservation of sensitive tribal loyalties and territorial boundaries.
7. In Taliban organisation, Mullah Omar is the Supreme Commander and his leadership is unchallenged till date. His appearance with the Prophet Mohammad’s Cloak has catapulted him into the realm of divinity. He in turn has declared himself leader of the faithful. 8. The highest governing body of the Taliban, the Supreme Shaura is chaired by Mullah Omar. The Taliban apex council is understood to have twelve members and three advisors. The members of Shaura are assigned specific roles in addition to their position in the Shaura. 9. Previously at the regional and local level, the leadership could not be defined definitively because each individual group leader strived to increase his influence. The Taliban leadership has perceived this flaw and has passed a decree, that in which a regional leader will be officially designated with defined geographical and tribal boundaries, with streamlined command structure to coordinate and control operations. The regional Taliban commanders organise their elements into sub units based on territorial and tribal boundaries.
10. The strategic planning and flow of directives takes place from Mullah Omar and the Supreme Shaura to the regional commanders. The operations are decentralised and orders are passed onto the smaller sub units in the form of Fatwa or decree. These sub units act independently with minimum control. The sub unit leader carries out planning and execution of operations taking into account the local environment or situation on ground. The degree of freedom however depends on the nature of operation. For general operations the flow of orders is along a vertical line in a hierarchical pyramid as shown in fig 5. 11. In case of operations which require coordinated efforts, a complex information flow network comes into being. In this network the information is exchanged diagonally, vertically and horizontally. The speed of information sharing is very high and does not get restricted by disruption of few channels. The Taliban are therefore able to adopt swarm tactics for their operations. Couriers are utilised for delivery of verbal or handwritten messages. The tribal linkages and loyalties are mainstays of this communication pattern and give it high speed and security. 12. The Taliban use HF for tactical communication and internet to communicate in the settled areas and for propaganda. Another form of communication is called Shabnamah (night letters) which are “declarations of intent” used to keep population under control.
13. The human element of Taliban is complex, having deep roots in local culture and ethnic affinity. Therefore analysis to ascertain the loyalty of members to tribal affinities or to organisation itself is complex. 14. Recruitment and Training. There is no formal recruitment policy or mechanism. The induction of people is from two channels:- (a) Alumni from Pro Taliban Madrassas. (b) Local youth recruited based on coercion, glamour, desire for revenge, frustration with government, providing employment and religious sentiments. 15. The incoming recruits into Taliban have basic military skills due to the Pashtun warrior culture, where everyone is armed. The recruits are sent to training camps and imparted thorough on job training and also have to prove their ability within a ‘peer review system’ typical of Pashtun tribal structure.
16. The Taliban have been very successful in achieving personal motivation of members, group interests and objectives of the organisation. The motivation factor can be explained as follows:- (a) The top leadership of Taliban and key commanders are motivated by their interpretation of radical Islam. These individuals take insurgency as means to fight the Western infidels and current government in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (b) The lower tier has thousands of local fighters and their support network. Majority of these young men are paid to carry out insurgent activities and are not ideologically committed to Jihad. These men are motivated because they are unemployed, disenchanted or angry with government policies. 17. The top leadership of Taliban identifies their struggle as defence of Islamic values and Pashtun culture. The leadership aims to establish the Caliphate on the lines of Islam that they believe is pure and based on earliest understandings of faith. The lower echelons are more a part of a social movement that wants to challenge the political status quo and economic deprivation. The Taliban keep their men motivated by offering monetary rewards for people driven by money, status for the people seeking power and glamour for the adventurous. The punishment to the erring individuals is also given by withholding finances, reduction in status, physical violence at the individual himself or his kin and alienation from the tribal society. In December 08, Taliban issued a code of conduct (Layeha) declaring the organisational ethics and rules to its members. The sacking of one its commanders Mullah Mansoor Dadullah for violation of prescribed rules is one such example.
18. The Taliban operations utilise the erstwhile Mujahideen tactics developed during the Soviet-Afghan war. They also show signs of Al Qaeda training influences in their tactics, planning and execution. The kinetic operations involve methods which are typical of rural guerrilla insurgency. 19. The major operation of Taliban is to ensure effective control over local populace. The approaches to achieve this are:- (a) “Robin Hood” Method. (b) “Bully” Method. 20. In the former method the Taliban focus on the concerns of the local populace, and provide security and speedy justice according to the tribal norms. This is aimed at fuelling the local sentiments in their favour by effective Information Operations (IO) campaign against the present government. The latter method of “bullying”, use and show strength on local populace is done to maintain order and control. In Afpak region there are a lot of areas where there is no presence of legal government, therefore the local population is forced to accept the Taliban presence and support their cause for personal safety. In most of the circumstance the Taliban use mix of both strategies.
The organisational structure adopted by the Taliban is optimised for achieving maximum output from the operational environment, available resources and limitations. The analysis of their structure, recruitment strategy, operational tactics, planning and execution will be used for evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in the next chapter.
“There are in Europe many good generals, but they see too many things at once. I see one thing, namely the enemy’s main body. I try to crush it, confident that secondary matters will then settle themselves.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
This chapter will analyse the Taliban organisation using the tools of Commander’s Estimate of Situation. The strategic and operational objectives will be put forth based on the available data. Thereafter the strengths and weaknesses will be highlighted finally leading to the Centre of Gravity analysis.
The Taliban is a movement, operating effectively in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with a joint ideological frame and a shared tactical expertise. The relative success of the Taliban stems from its ability to bring together disgruntled groups of people from a variety of local conflict settings, offering a common framework for political and military action. The Taliban is also linked to a larger transnational coalition of terrorist groups, of which Al Qaeda forms a sub unit. Starting out as a local protest, the Taliban has gone a long way, aided by some state support (notably from Pakistan) and increasingly massive isolation from the so-called international community. It has manoeuvred at the interface between localised grievances in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the one hand, and the global holy war pursued by Al Qaeda, on the other. The increased influence of Al Qaeda on Taliban has made the organisation part of the global Islamic struggle. Therefore the strategic objectives of the organisation keeping in view its international aspirations is to “Establish an Islamic Caliphate in the regions dominated by Islam”
In 2001, when the Taliban was abruptly toppled, there was no armistice. The Taliban command hierarchy retreated to the frontier regions of northwest Pakistan. With the passage of time, left largely unmolested the cadres have regrouped and are reinforcing their hold in Afghanistan. The most immediate aim and operational objective of the Taliban is to “Regain control of Afghanistan as it was before 9/11 and formation of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan”. In an interview to Nic Robertson, CNN Senior International Correspondent, Zabiullah Mujahid, one of the two spokesmen for the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, said “We ask from the beginning and we say once again, one to enforce the Sharia law and Islamic government in Afghanistan, and to remove foreign forces remove from our country”.
The critical strengths of the Taliban are as follows:-
The Taliban organisation has an authoritarian structure with Mullah Omar and Shaura undertaking all strategic planning. The lower and middle tier leaders are more informal. The organisation and its widely dissipated sub-units are bound closely by the tribal brotherhood and Jirga. So far the unity of the movement has been ensured by strong personal links between leaders of individual networks. Such links were forged through long years of war and through some very difficult passages in the lives of these men. As a result, they tend to be quite stronger than one can estimate. The fact that the movement lacks a strong institutional framework should not therefore be construed as implying that external manipulation would be easy, or that playing ‘divide and rule’ with different components of the movement is going to be a viable option.
The terrain in Afghanistan is treacherous and inhospitable, where many previous invading armies have been defeated. The terrain topology favours guerrilla tactics. The Taliban are battle hardened local tribals having very good appreciation of the terrain and are utilising it to their advantage. As in words of Maj Joseph Mathews, a Battalion Operations Officer in the 10th Mountain Division “The sheer terrain of Afghanistan is much more challenging: the mountains, the altitudes, severity of weather, and the distances. That bears on an army. You can flood Baghdad with soldiers but if you want to flood the mountains you are going to need huge numbers and logistics. We as leaders have to realise that we cannot simply superimpose some of the things that may have worked in Iraq on Afghanistan.“
 The Taliban have exploited local populace effectively by focussing on the religious sentiments, low performance of current government, the intricate tribal bindings and culture. The Taliban have utilised their Information Warfare effectively and garnered support of the rural population through ‘Night letters’ or ‘Shabnamah’.
 The popular belief in Afghanistan has been based on mixture of superstition, spiritualism, saint worship, mysticism and organised religion. Islam has therefore been mixed with pre Islamic beliefs and with tribal codes of Pashtunwali. The self identification of the population as being primarily Muslim has strong roots. In addition the society is highly conservative and is dominated by convention. The Taliban therefore have legitimacy within the Afghan society and garner its strong support. The global reach of Taliban also cannot be ruled out.The triumph of Pashtuns against the Soviet forces in late 1980’s, projected them as the torch bearers of Islamic struggle for Caliphate. As a result they receive support in the form of financial aid and human recruits from all over the world.
As the Taliban gain power in Afghanistan and Pakistan, its money comes mostly from extortion, crime and drugs. However, funding for the broader-based Al-Qaida appears to be more diverse, including money from new recruits, increasingly large donations from sympathisers and Islamic charities. Afghanistan produces more opium than any other country in the world. The Taliban charge drug kingpins for moving the opium through its territory, estimated upward of $300 million annually. “With respect to the Taliban, the narco dollars are a major if not majority of their funding sources, and I think add in there as well extortion and kidnapping,” said Juan Carlos, a former U.S. National Security Council adviser on terrorism The large number of weapon caches post Soviet withdrawal and abundance of weapons in the Pashtun society also are a source of strength for the insurgent organisation.
President Karzai’s unpopularity is at least partially attributable to the fact that, both within and outside Afghanistan, he is often viewed as a puppet of the US Government. The Taliban, who are at present focussing on grassroots and locally, have been quick to capitalise on this aspect of the government. In a recent interview Mr. Karzai was quoted as saying “If I am called a puppet because we are grateful to America, then let that be my nickname”. Being closely associated with the US, there is doubt about his intentions to represent the interests of Afghanistan in general and Pashtuns in particular, prompting the Taliban to declare his government as illegitimate.
Probably one of their biggest strengths is the ability to sustain the insurgency by using time and patience as force multipliers. This ability comes partly from the Pashtun culture, where feuds and enmity span generations and partly from the lack of a pressing timeline. By demonstrating their persistence, they intimidate locals from cooperating with foreign forces by implying a long-term enmity once the Coalition forces depart. The Taliban can continue fighting a defensive insurgency, needing to remain on the battlefield only until Coalition forces leave and then they can stage a full-scale return.
The major weaknesses of the Taliban organisation are:-
The legacy of Taliban oppressive rule in Afghanistan has made a large percentage of population unfavourable to a return of Taliban rule. This probably is the main reason for Taliban maintaining major focus on human terrain control.
Despite their deep understanding of the human terrain, the Taliban challenge the traditional tribal structures of the Pashtun by shifting power from the elders to the clergy and the youth. This creates innate resentment from the tribal elders and maliks, some of whom consider the Taliban a long-term threat to the tribal institutions. The opposition of tribal leaders is one of the main threats to the Taliban organisation.
The Taliban interpretation of Islam is not in harmony with the Afghan Islamic tradition, nor does it coincide with most of the regional ethnic group’s more tolerant views. This gives the Afghanistan and Pakistan security forces an opportunity to turn the population against the Taliban. Coupled with their religious interpretation, is the Taliban’s dominantly sectarian outlook and alliance with extremist sectarian outfits like Sipah-e-Sahaba, which seriously hampers their ability to expand into other ethnic and sectarian communities.
The Taliban and other jihad advocates often claim that they believe in the concept of a common Muslim Ummah (community) and reject the division of their religion into groups based on ethnicity, language, geographical borders and tribes. In practice, this is easier said than done. In tribal societies such as that of the Pashtuns inhabiting Pakistan and Afghanistan, even ideologically-driven radical Taliban and jihadist fighters show loyalty toward their own tribe and local commander.
The lack of international support and recognition of the Taliban due to their association with terror networks is a disadvantage for the organisation in the international arena. Their association with terrorism raises serious questions about the Taliban’s chances for acceptance should they wish to acquire official power at some stage, and creates problems for any negotiated settlement, as most nations will probably not negotiate openly with a group labelled as sponsors of terrorism.
The strategic Centre Of Gravity (COG) for Taliban is their relationship and support from the world’s Muslim population. Without active support from a considerable numbers of the Muslim population and the passive support of a greater number, the Taliban would fold. They rely on popular support for both their recruitment and freedom of action. Their consistent message to the Muslim world has been that West intends to invade Islamic territory and slaughter Muslims in a new crusade.
The research has analysed and determined two Operational CsOG of the Taliban, which are as follows:-
The strong and uncontested leadership of Mullah Muhammed Omar is the COG for Taliban. The divinity status of Mullah Omar further strengthens his position as the supreme leader of the Taliban. The towering personal aura of Mullah Omar has kept all ranks of Taliban in control, enabling organisation to operate as a disciplined force. As Kenneth Ballen of Financial Times puts it “According to the Taliban leaders and fighters I interviewed over the past year and a half, the seminal event in sealing Mullah Omar’s authority as their unquestioned leader occurred in April 1996. Then, in the dusty southern Afghan Pashtun stronghold of Kandahar, Mullah Omar donned, from a religious shrine, the holy relic of the cloak of the prophet Muhammad. “ (b) Support of Pakistan. Second operational COG is the covert support of Pakistan government to the Taliban. The Taliban, Al Qaeda and other factions together have their leadership residing in the FATA and NWFP regions of Pakistan. This support is essential for the Taliban organisation to recruit, train and regroup. 10. Further analysis of CsOG has been limited to following three most important critical capabilities of the Taliban organisation:- (a) Organisational Ability. (b) Justification of the Cause. (c) Insurgence Ability. 11. These Critical Capabilities have been individually examined leading to deduction of Critical Requirements and Critical Vulnerabilities. The analysis in the tabulated form is placed at appendices B, C and D respectively. 12. The prime vulnerabilities of the Taliban from the analysis of Critical Capabilities can be summarised as follows:- (a) Supply routes. (b) Cash flow. (c) International support. (d) Manpower. (e) Absence of successor to Mullah Omar. 13. From an Indian perspective the vulnerability of supply routes and absence of successor cannot be addressed at present. They fall with in the purview of coalition forces that are fighting the Taliban in Afpak region. The supply routes from Pakistan to Afghanistan need to be choked by the coalition forces. This will require greater involvement and genuine intent from Pakistan. The rhetoric of coalition forces concentrating on Osama bin Laden, is aimed at settling score for 9/11 episode. Instead a more realistic approach should be focussed on Mullah Omar, the leader of Taliban. Further analysis of the coalition policy and present strategy is beyond the scope of this paper. From the Indian perspective, the strategy should at present be aimed at targeting the financial supply, be a partner in the International effort against Taliban and put deterrence in place to desist local populace from supporting the Taliban cause. 14. Conclusion. The Taliban may also be aware of their earlier vulnerabilities and have adapted to environment. For example, before 9/11, the Taliban strictly banned music, CD shops, television, and internet, but now use those same media to propagate their messages. It is unclear if this is due to a change in basic ideals of the organisation or temporary necessity. Similarly, they have almost reversed their stand on poppy cultivation, which they earlier declared to be un-Islamic. Another example is acceptance of suicide attacks as a major tool, in contrast to the Islamic and Pashtun cultural values. Likewise, the Taliban media outlets now occasionally attempt to project the movement as having extra-regional aspirations which contrasts with the earlier confinement within Afghanistan.
“We wish we had carried out this attack on the embassy … since India has been the enemy of the Islamic Emirate.” – Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesman.
1. The Talban have emerged as a force to reckon within Pakistan. Their formidable presence, an estimated 3000 fighters in Swat Valley, as claimed by President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Washington, predicts a long drawn battle for Pakistan’s security forces. Should the Pakistan Army fail to contain their spread, as is much feared, it could pose a serious challenge to other countries in the neighbourhood. The crumbling of the frontline of the global war against terror sounds an alarm for the Indian state as well, for it to be prepared and respond effectively in times of crises. 2. While it may be too early to speculate about the unfolding Taliban threat, it is however important to examine a few plausible scenarios as far as India is concerned. Hypothetically, the threat could unfold in two major ways. One, it could manifest as heightened infiltration attempts along the Line of Control, as witnessed during the late 1990s, when militants from the Pashtun belt infiltrated in significant numbers and proactively engaged the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. And two, it could evolve as a secondary effect due to increased violence and instability in Pakistan; the scenario presumes that the Taliban ideology shall first afflict the plains of Pakistan and, is then carried forward to the Indian hinterland by a new breed of `Talibanised’ militants from mainland Pakistan. The two scenarios could well evolve in unison and present a larger challenge.
3. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram replying to a question on spread of Taliban said that “Very bad for South Asia. It’s bad for Pakistan; it’s bad for the rest of South Asia. We cannot countenance a regime like the Taliban regime, that’s opposed to every notion of civilised democratic government that we accept, and we’re trying to build India on that foundation. But if the Taliban’s influence spreads in Pakistan then I’m sorry for the people of Pakistan. But it worries me because the Taliban’s influence is spreading and it could spill over into India”. 4. Spill Over of Terror Elements. A collapsing Pakistan would place Iran, China, and India in particular at risk. India would face the prospect of extreme violence and disorder on its borders, much of which would inevitably spill over into India proper. Finally, the rest of the world would be concerned about the safety of a failing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and fissile material, which could easily appear in the hands of other states or of terrorist groups. Also the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from AFPAK region will lead to severe disorder. This will be playing into the hands of Taliban whose strategy is to wait and strike (War of the Flea). 5. Proximity to NWFP. The proximity of Indian Northern frontiers to the affected areas having Taliban influence may make them vulnerable. The increased pressure from the US led Coalition in the West and the Current operations undertaken by the Pakistan army may force the Taliban to move east towards the North Western Frontier of India. Considering past close network of Pakistan army with the Taliban, and their subsequent reluctance to engage Taliban in West Pakistan and Swat, a scenario of Pakistan army colluding with the Taliban and redirecting them towards India cannot be ruled out. 6. Political Ties with USA. The Indian government offered all operational assistance to the United States, including use of its facilities, in any operations launched in pursuit of the perpetrators of the 11 Sep 01 attack. Indian intelligence officials also provided the United States with information concerning the financing and training of Islamic extremist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The support extended to United States has been utilised by Taliban to brand India as part of ‘Western Crusade’. 7. Cooperation with Israel. The India-Israel relationship is probably the most intriguing aspect of contemporary Indian foreign policy. This relationship has implications for India’s military modernisation, its counter-terrorist ventures, the durability of ties with the Muslim world and its potential role in American grand strategy in Asia. Israel has since progressed to becoming India’s second largest arms supplier after Russia, besides being a principal partner in its fight against terrorism by way of technology imports and intelligence cooperation. Besides, there are already existing protocols for cooperation on terrorism between Israel and Russia and thus there is, by aforesaid ventures, a scope for intelligence cooperation among the three countries that have all experienced Islamist terrorism. The cooperation with Israel has increased the Taliban anti India fervour. 8. Soviet Connection. The ‘Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation’ and “The Moscow Declaration on the Protection of Interests of Pluralist States” signed by India and Russia have become the bedrock of their relations. The Declaration drew attention not only to the nature of the challenges faced by the two countries, but also focused attention on the source from which this threat emanated for both. It also reiterated support of the signatories for each other’s territorial integrity. This is highly important given the fact that India and Russia are battling with these challenges in Kashmir and Chechnya, respectively. India and Russia also backed opposition to the Taliban that had crystallised into the Northern Alliance. On the issue of religious extremism and terrorism, India and Russia share many commonalities: the source of tension, funding, training, etc. 9. Kashmir Issue. The support for Taliban from Pakistan was not only driven by the desire to keep Pashtun nationalists quiet and borders safe, but also a consideration for usefulness of Afghanistan for waging secession war in J & K. It is common knowledge that the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan in Feb 1989 coincided with insurgency in J & K. In words of an activist of Hizbul Mujahideen “All of a sudden the ISI found readymade, battle hardened manpower for its war in J & K. Most of them were either Afghan members of Hizbe Islami or Pakistani volunteers who fought along Hizbe Islami against the Soviet army.” The network of Jehadi organisations expanded between 1994 and 2000. The whole movement assumed religious contours with almost every organisation finding recruits ready to die and kill. Much impetus came from neighbouring Afghanistan where the Taliban, guided by their own ultra conservative version of Islam and driven by an unusual zeal for Jihad, had just begun to establish their writ. 10. Internal Vulnerabilities. The tentacles of the cocktail of ISI, Taliban and Al Qaeda are widespread in India. The most vulnerable areas are as follows:- (a) North East States. The ISI activities in the north-eastern states have increased after Kargil face-off. Nepal is used as a base for coordinating activities across eastern and north-eastern states. ISI is preparing to convert North Bengal into trouble spot. The Gorkha Liberation Organisation, ULFA, NSCN, Bodoland Liberation Tigers have also been provided training by ISI. (b) South India. ISI is understood to have increased its activities in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Kozhikode, Bhatkal and Gulbarga. In Andhra Pradesh the Ittehadul Musalmeen and the Hizbul Mujahideen are reported to be involved in subversive activities promoted by ISI. And Koyalapattinam, a village in Tamil Nadu, is said to be the epicentre of operations. The Andhra Pradesh unit of the People’s War Group has also established a direct link with procurers who bring in arms from Bangladesh-based ISI agents via the riverine Sunderbans route. (c) Jammu and Kashmir. The intercepts of Lashker-e-Toiba militants and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen cadres by the police and security agencies indicate the presence of Taliban militants in the frontier districts of J & K.  14. Terrorism today poses the gravest threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity. It subverts the fundamental Rule of Law, denies rights to the citizens, endangers the social fabric, and threatens political and economic stability. Dr Manmohan Singh said at a meeting on internal security “Coming to specific challenges, cross-border terrorism remains a most pervasive threat. We have put in place additional measures after the Mumbai terrorist attack in November last year. But there is need for continued vigilance.” The area of operation of the insurgents today extends far beyond the confines of Jammu and Kashmir and covers all parts of our country Therefore, the challenges posed by asymmetric warfare and terrorism can only be met through new ideas and more resolute actions and determination.
“Demoralise the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future.” Adolf Hitler
1. Invaders from the North never really stopped. Ever since the middle ages, the plains of the Indian Subcontinent have been the happy hunting grounds of successive waves of organised bands of marauders from Central Asia. They came basically with a view to loot and plunder, and then go back laden with booty to their impoverished hills, and rag-a-tag settlements. Some local chief a few years later would organise them again, and travel through the Khyber Pass for yet another fray. And so the cycle kept repeating itself for a thousand years. To avert this oft-repeated mayhem, some rulers of India attempted to check it by building defensive systems in the northwest. But these were half hearted at best and generally ineffective. So the raids from Central Asia continue to date. 2. In the midst of Taliban anxiety, former Chief of Army Staff Shankar Roychowdhury wrote a column in a leading daily urging India to recognise the Taliban threat, as far as India’s national security is concerned but cautioned Indian leaders and media not to hype it beyond a certain point. He warned that the Taliban could create a substantial threat if they succeeded in seizing power in Pakistan through a radicalised government under their control. He also noted the threat of nuclearisation of jihad in this scenario cannot be ignored and demands serious attention from the security establishment.
4. The main problem in dealing with the Taliban is that no logical negotiation is possible, which is very aptly highlighted in the statement of Abdullah Azzam “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences, and no dialogues“.Therefore India needs to change its security strategy to effectively tackle the Taliban threat. The focus will have to be directed onto the critical vulnerabilities of the Taliban. 5. Cash Flow. The financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent organisations can be disrupted by tightening the banking and financial system domestically and in neighbouring countries. Towards this a coordinated regional response is fundamental. The banking system in Afghanistan has failed and hawala system has replaced formal banking system providing people with facility to transfer money in and out of the country. There are four main sources of income generation for Taliban; opium production and trafficking, unregulated trade in legitimate goods, remittances from abroad and donations. The majority of cash flow is from Pakistan into Afpak region. The Indian strategy should be focussed on scrutiny of donations and aid sent from India to Afghanistan. The lack of formal banking and dependence on cash dealings invariably will result in flow of cash to terror outfits. The first initiative towards this must be aimed at reducing cash transactions and establish closer network with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is a Paris based International money laundering watchdog. At present India is only an observer member of FATF, however there is an urgent need to analyse its recommendations on terrorist financing and find ways to implement them in Indian financial system. The government of India has passed Prevention of Money Laundering Act in 2002 (PMLA) in Jul 2005. The short comings in the current Indian financial policy which needs due consideration and immediate amendment in the light of terrorism are as follows:- (a) Money laundering is only criminalised when related to drug offences and does not extend to other serious offences. (b) The record keeping requirements under the act are not applicable to all financial transactions. (c) There are no systems in place to monitor and ensure compliance with the Act. (d) Terrorist financing offences are not predicate offences for Money laundering under the Act. (e) India does not have effective procedures to immediately freeze terrorist funds or other assets. (f) There is no obligation to report terrorist financing as it is not a predicate offence. (g) There has been no assessment of the overall makeup and vulnerabilities of Non Profit organisations to terrorist abuse. 6. Way out. The act should be broadened to cover provision of funds to terrorist organisations. The offence should apply to all individuals who provide or collect funds for terrorist organisations. The government of India should focus resources on investigations and prosecutions under the act to ensure there is effective deterrent and method to deal with people and organisations financing terrorists. 7. International Support. One of the major vulnerabilities of Taliban is its lack of international support. India has gained considerable international sympathy and support during the last decade for its proactive approach towards eradication of terrorism. The Indian foreign policy of supporting the Northern alliance and not recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan during late 1990’s has made it a reliable partner in the “War on Terror” waged by coalition forces. Even though the effort of coalition forces is primarily aimed at achieving strategic ends of Western nations, overall the stability of Afghanistan and preventing resurgence of Taliban is considered favourable for India. The Taliban have covert support from Pakistan and majority of South West Asian nations. The support from these nations is unofficially acknowledged by the Coalition Forces, but no substantial action has been initiated till date. This is primarily due to critical requirement of forward basing of troops and supplies in Pakistan for conflict in Afghanistan and dependence on South West nations for supply of crude oil and petroleum products. 8. The covert support from Pakistan is critical to survival of the Taliban. The financial aid and human recruits flows to the organisation from Pakistan. The top leaders of Taliban are based in Quetta, Pakistan in safe sanctuaries. The differentiation of Taliban into “Good” and “Bad” depending on their origins does not hold merit. The TTP, which has been branded as “Bad Taliban” are also aligned with Mullah Omar and the original Taliban organisation. Above all, the ideology and strategic objectives of all Taliban whether from Afghanistan or Pakistan are common. 9. Way out. The best course of action for India is to support the efforts of stabilisation in Afghanistan. The strategy should also be aimed to garner and sustain the international support for Indian anti-terror efforts in the subcontinent. Few of the initiatives towards this would be to:- (a) Focus on intelligence sharing and increase official diplomatic and non-governmental exchanges on improving counterterrorism cooperation. (b) Enhance cooperation and support to Karzai regime in promoting democracy and religious pluralism as a way to disrupt recruitment and support for Islamist inspired terrorism. (c) Coordinate cyber security, energy security, and nuclear non proliferation efforts to increase security against new terrorist threats. Also re-examine opportunities for enhancing joint nuclear terrorism risk-reduction measures, including further improvement of export controls and security at civilian nuclear facilities. (d) Avoid high-profile attempts to mediate the Indo-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir. The President Barack Obama’s plan of U.S mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue so that Pakistan can focus on tackling militancy on its Afghan border is flawed. Interference of international community in the dispute could fuel unrealistic expectations in Pakistan for a final settlement in its favour and therefore encourage Islamabad to increase support for Taliban/Al-Qaeda-connected Kashmiri militants. The Indian strategy should be to keep international intervention away from Kashmir problem. 10. Local Support and Recruitment. The local support and recruitment are interlinked. In India, local support to Taliban needs to be addressed first. If the populace is sensitised and made to oppose the radical ideology, the support base for Taliban will cease to exist. The initiatives of influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband a Sunni Islamic revivalist Deobandi movement are exemplary. It issued fatwa against terrorism in May 09. Although the move has not received much attention from the Western media, but several Indian analysts view the fatwa as a significant first step in breaking the terrorist recruitment cycle. The fatwa stated that “Islam is a religion of peace and security. In its eyes, on any part over the surface of the earth spreading mischief, rioting, breach of peace, bloodshed, killing of innocent persons and plundering are the most inhuman crimes.” The fatwa goes on to say that the purpose of Islam is “to wipe out all kinds of terrorism and spread the message of global peace…. Terrorism is the gravest crime as held by the Koran and Islam. We are not prepared to tolerate terrorism in any form and we are ready to cooperate with all responsible people.” The Deobandi School is one of the most important Islamic schools in the world but has become notorious in recent years because many of the Pakistan-based extremist groups as well as the Taliban claim to be Deobandi adherents. Scholars of Islam have pointed out that there is a significant divide between Deobandi scholars and clerics and militant groups like the Taliban. The covert and overt support of masses is the key to the success of the Taliban. It is the strategic COG of the organisation. Therefore focus should be concentrated on sensitisation of human terrain and starve the organisation of recruits. 11. Way out. The support of masses is very important for Indian strategy. The support can be garnered by ensuring active participation of Islamic schools, Madrassas and Ulemma towards sensitisation of masses. Issues which need immediate consideration are as follows:- (a) The media and press need to be controlled and regulated especially in matters concerning religious sentiments and also when covering communal misgivings. (b) Demarcation of sensitive areas needs to be carried out. These areas are to be kept under surveillance using the “Oil Spot Strategy” This strategy will not only enable isolation of sensitive and insurgency ridden areas, but also aid in getting the local populace into mainstream. . (c) Severe punishment for defaulters supporting or participating in insurgent activities needs to be incorporated.
The Taliban, and more generally speaking radical Islamists of all stripes, are a vital part of Pakistan’s geopolitical strategy against India. At present India as a nation may not be facing direct threat from the Taliban, but the active terrorist organisations in India like Lashkar and Harkat are all having strong links with Taliban. Moreover, if the Taliban are able stabilise their hold on Afghanistan, their ultimate strategic objective of creating Islamic Caliphate will eventually bring their focus on Indian subcontinent. Therefore the Taliban are a threat in being and India has to make all efforts to protect itself against possible terror attacks. Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason. Understanding the Taliban and Insurgency in Afghanistan. Orbis.13 Aug 09< https://www.fpri.org>.  B.Raman.The Second Resurgence of Taliban, International Terrorism Monitor. South Asia Analysis Group.18 Sep 09< https://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers28%5Cpaper2774.html>.  Prem Shankar Jha. Kashmir 1947: Origins of a Dispute. Publisher : Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 96.  Meredith Weiss. The Jammu And Kashmir Conflict. 25 June 2002. 15 Aug 09<https://www.yale.edu/macmillan/globalization/kashmir.pdf >.  Prem Shankar Jha. Kashmir 1947: Rival versions of history. Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA, 1996, p. 34.  Taliban is a plural form of the Arabic word Talib, which literally means a student of any discipline. In the context of this study, the term implies an Afghan fundamentalist movement of the same name and its members. BBC. On this Day, 2001: US declares War On Terror. 15 Aug 09 <https://news.bbc.co.uk/ onthisday/ hi/dates /stories/ September/12/newsid_2515000/2515239.stm>  Sun Tzu. The Art of War. 29 Aug 09 < https://www.military-quotes.com/Sun-Tzu.htm>.  Mujahideen (literally “strugglers”) is a term for Muslims fighting in any type of struggle. Mujahid,and its plural, mujahideen, come from the same Arabic root as jihad (“struggle”). Here, the mujahideen refers those who fought the Soviet Union and the communist Afghan government. Mr Stuart Koschade. The Developing Jihad: The Ideological Consistency of Jihadi Doctrine from Al-Qaeda to the Revolutionary Fundamentalist Movement. School of Humanities and Human Services , Queensland University of Technology and Australian Homeland Security Research Centre. 30 Aug 09 <https://www. humanities qut.edu.au/research/socialchange/docs/conf_papers2006/Koschade_FIN.pdf>.  Madrasa refers to any type of school, secular or religious. While acknowledging that most of the madrassas are not bad, this research refers to the religious schools that teach an ultraconservative and misperceived version. Bergen, Peter L and Pandey, Swati. The Madrassa Scapegoat. 16 Dec 09 <https://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/washington_quarterly/v029/29.2bergen.pdf>.  John Prados.The Afpak Paradox. 16 Dec 09 <https://www.fpif.org/articles/the_afpak_paradox>.  Stephen Tanner, Afghanistan : A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban. New York: Da Capo Press, 2002, pp. 17 – 51.  Thomas H. Johnson. On the Edge of the Big Muddy: The Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan. China and Eurasia Forum. 21 November 2009 <https://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/docs/CEF/Quarterly/ May_2007/Johnson.pdf >.  Stephen Tanner. Op.cit. , p.134.  Ibid. pp.129-154  C. Collin Davies. The Problem of the North – West Frontier 1890-1908. Cambridge: University Press, 1932, pp. 161-162.  Syed Abdul Quddus. The North – West Frontier of Pakistan. Karachi : Royal Book Company, 1990, p. 16.  Stephen Tanner. Op.cit., p. 231.  Ibid, pp. 221-241.  Ibid.  Peter Marsden. The Taliban: War and Religion in Afghanistan. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2002, p. 35.  NPS Program for Culture and Conflict Studies, 2007.The Taliban. 27 Oct 09 <https://www.npds.edu/ Programs/CCS/Docs/Pubs/The%20Taliban.pdf>.  Wahhabism is a branch of Islam practiced by those who follow the teachings of Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab – the founder and namesake of the movement. Peter Marsden. Op.cit, p. 71.  Ibid. p.73.  Norimitsu Onishi. A Tale of the Mullah and Muhammad’s Amazing Cloak. New York Times. 25 Oct 09<https://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04EEDB123EF93AA25751C1A9679C8B63> and Peter Marsden. Op. cit., p. 43.  Stephen Tanner. et passim.  Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd). Losing Ground Pak Army Strategy in FATA & NWFP. 08 Sep 09< http: //www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/488058650SR62-Raji-NDeal.pdf >.  Hassan Abbas. A Profile of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. CTC Sentinel. 30 Aug 09 <https://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/17868/profile_of_tehrikitaliban_pakistan.html>. Bill Roggio. Pakistani Taliban Unites Under Baitullah Mehsud. The Long War Journal. 15 Aug 09 <https:// www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/12/pakistani_taliban_un.php >.  “CIA – the World Fact Book 2007. Central Intelligence Agency. 21 Nov 2009<https://www.cia.gov/ library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html>.  NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission: Jet Propulsion Laboratory . 09 Aug 09 <https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm /cbanddataproducts.html>.  The term “tribe,” as used in this paper, refers to “localised groups in which kinship is the dominant idiom of organization, and whose members consider themselves culturally distinct (in terms of customs, dialect or language, and origins) and have been politically unified at least for much of their history. Antonio Giustozzi and Noor Ullah, Tribes and Warlords in Southern Afghanistan: 1980-2005. 28 Sep 09 <https://www.crisisstates.com/download/wp/wpSeries2/wp7.2.pdf>.  A jirga is a tribal assembly of elders which takes decisions by consensus, particularly among the Pashtun but also in other ethnic groups near them; they are most common in Afghanistan and among the Pashtun in Pakistan. Ali Wardak. Jirga – A Traditional Mechanism of Conflict Resolution in Afghanistan. 11 Aug 09 <https://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/APCITY/UNPAN017 434 .pdf> and Mumtaz Ali Bangash. Jirga: Speedy Justice of Elders. What is Not Decided in the Jirga Will Never be Decided by Bloodshed. 11 Aug 09 <https://www.khyber.org/culture /jirga/jirgas.shtml>.  “CIA – The World Fact Book 2008,” Central Intelligence Agency, 21 Aug 09 <https://www.cia .gov /library /publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html>.  Peter Marsden. Op.cit., p. 78.  Salafism is one variant of selective revival and reinterpretation of Islam. The faith is named after As-Salaf as-Salih, the righteous “predecessors” or “righteous roots” of early Islam. The guiding idea of Salafi Islam is to purify the Arab world by recreating, what its proponents, Salafiyyin (Followers of Predecessors), regarded as the perfect Islamic society, a goal to be achieved by turning society back to an essentially imagined model of seventh -century Arabia. Carl Hammer. Tide of Terror: America, Islamic Extremism, and the War on Terror. Colorado: Paladin Press, 2003, pp. 33-42.  Noorhaidi Hassan. Salafis, Jihad and Drama. ISIM. 11 Sep 09< https://www.isim.nl/files/ Review_16/Review_16-40.pdf >.  Rashid. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2001, pp. 145-168.  “CIA – the World Factbook 2008. Op. cit. Ethnic Map from Perry Castaneda Map Library. University of Texas.12 Aug 09 <https://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/pakistan_ethnic_80.jpg>.  Program of Culture and Conflict Studies, 13 Aug 09 <https://www.npds.edu/programs/ccs/ >.  ibid.  Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.  Ibid.  For the purpose of this research, Human Terrain includes people and their support and Intelligence networks.  Bhure Lal. Terrorism Inc.: The lethal cocktail of ISI, Taliban and Ai Qaeda. New Delhi: Siddharth Publications, 2002, pp. 54-87.  Carl Hammer. Op.cit., pp. 390 – 393. International Crisis Group. Pakistan: Karachi’s Madrassas and Violent Extremism. 27 Aug 09 <https://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4742>.  CIA – the World Fact Book 2009. 21 Aug 09 < https://www.cia.gov/ library /publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html >.  House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Afghanistan. Afghanistan: The Rise of the Narco- Taliban. Testimony of Congressman Mark Kirk. 11 Nov 09 <www.foreignaffairs.house. gov/110/kir021507.pdf>. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Afghanistan Opium Survey 2007. 09 Nov 09 <www.unodc.org/pdf/research/AFG07_ExSum_web.pdf >.  ibid.  Imtiiaz Gul. The Unholy Nexus: Pak-Afghan Relations under the Taliban, Karachi: Vanguard Books (Pvt.) Ltd, 2002, pp. 120-168. Colum Lynch and Griff Witte. Washington Post Staff Writers. 28 Aug 07, Afghan Opium Trade Hits New Peak, U.N. Report Describes a Scale of Narcotics Production Not Seen in Two Centuries. 19 Sep 09 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/27/AR2007082701356.html>.  UN News Center. Opium trade finances Taliban War Machine. 16 Aug 09 <https://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=29099&Cr=Afghan&Cr1=UNODC>.  Marvin G. Weinbaum. Afghanistan and Its Neighbors: An Ever Dangerous Neighborhood. United States Institute for Peace. 20 Aug 09 <https://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr162_afghanistan .html>.  Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett. Most Dems No Better than Bush on Pakistan. 15 Dec 09 <https://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008 /01/03/pakistan_policy/print.html>.  Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti. Taliban Haven in Pakistani City Raises Fears. 15 Dec 09 <https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/world/asia/10quetta.html>.  Isambard Wilkinson. Taliban receives direct support from Pakistan. 15 Dec 09 <https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/5056258/Taliban-receives-direct-support-from-Pakistan.html>.  Quetta appears to be Taliban HQ. 15 Dec 09 <https://www.tribuneindia.com/ 2009/20090325 /world .htm>.  Carl Hammer, Op. cit., pp.171-176. Michael Rubin. Understanding Iranian Strategy in Afghanistan. 14 Dec 09 <https://americanforeignpolicy.org/library/documents/Rubin_Understanding _Iranian_ Strategy_in_Afghanistan.pdf>.  Tom Shanker, Iran May Know of Weapons for Taliban. New York Times. 25 Sep 09 <https://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/world/middleeast/14gates.html>. CNN News. Iran Arming Taliban. 25 Sep 09 <https://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/06/ 13/iran.taliban/index.html>.  Seth G. Jones. Afghan Problem is Regional. RAND Corporation. 24 Sep 09 <https://www.rand.org/commentary/2007/07/04/UPI.html>.  Raghav Sharma. India and Afghanistan: Charting the Future. Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. 14 Dec 09 <https://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/SR69-Final.pdf>.  Shazia Shahid, Engaging Regional Players in Afghanistan: Threats and Opportunities. Center for Strategic and International Studies <https://csis.org/files/publication/091124_afghan_players.pdf>.  Raghav Sharma. Op. Cit.  NGO Participation at the United Nations. 14 Nov 09 <https://www.globalpolicy.org/ngos/ngo-un/access/2006/0328participation.htm;>.  NGO Insecurity in Afghanistan. Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) and CARE. 18 Aug 09 <https://www.care.org/newsroom/specialreports/afghanistan/20050505_ansocare.pd >.  Ibid.  Lieutenant Colonel Robert M. Cassidy. Winning the War of the Flea: Lessons from Guerrilla Warfare. U.S. Army Military Review. 26 Nov 09 < https://www.au.af.mil/au/ awc/awcgate/ milreview/ cassidy2.pdf>.  Aisbah Allah Abdel Baky. The Taliban Strategy: Religious & Ethnic Factors. 19 Nov 09 <https://22.214.171.124/English/Crisis/2001/11/article11.shtml >.  Gilles Dorronsoro. The Taliban’s Winning Strategy in Afghanistan. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 16 Nov 09< www.carnegieendowment.org/files/taliban_winning_strategy.pdf>.  All aspects of a Muslim’s life are governed by Sharia. Sharia law comes from a combination of sources including the Qur’an, the sayings of the prophet and the rulings of Islamic scholars. 19 Nov 09 <https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/sharia_1.shtml>.  Gilles Dorronsoro. Op. cit., p. 8.  28 Oct 09 <https://www.ceolibrary.org/quotes/organizationquotes.htm>.  Formal organisation is defined by an established, clear and permanent set of structures, rules and procedures. The informal organisation is the cumulative set of intertwined social structure that defines how people actually work together and how their loyalties to their colleagues and the organisation are organised. John Meyer and Brian Rowan. Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony. University of Chicago.11 Aug 09 <https://ssr1.uchicago.edu/ PRELIMS/ Orgs / orgs2 .html>.  “ Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism. Taliban. 22 Oct 09 <http///www.8.janes.comlibproxy.nps.edu>.  Vinod Anand. Pakistan Taliban and The Hierarchy Of Jihadi Causes. 12 Sep 09 <https://ipcs.org/ article/afghanistan/pakistan-taliban-and-the-hierarchy-of-jihadi-causes-2482.html>. Major Shahid Afsar, Major Chris Samples, Major Thomas Wood. The Taliban: An Organisational Analysis. 12 Sep 09 <https://www.afghanconflictmonitor.org/2008/05/the-taliban-an.html>. Barbara Elias. The Taliban Biography: Documents on the Structure and Leadership of the Taliban 1996-2002. 12 Sep 09 <https://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB295/Taliban_Structure.pdf>.  Daan Van Der Schriek. Weaker but Not Wiser: The Taliban Today. Terrorism Monitor. 12 Sep 09 <https://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369093>.  Syed Saleem Shahzad. A Political Curtain-Raiser for the Taliban. Asia Times (2007), 23 Sep 09 <https://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IB03Df01.html>.  Matt DuPee and Haroon Azizpour. Blood in the Snow: The Taliban’s Winter Offensive. Afghanistan News, 07 Dec 2006. 15 Nov 09< https://www.afgha.com/?q=node/1589>.  Matt Dupee. Analysis: Taliban Replace Dadullah. Afghanistan News, 15 May 2007. 15 Nov 09 <https://www.afgha.com/?q=node/2947>.  Victor Korgun. Afghanistan’s Resurgent Taliban, Terrorism Focus.12 Sep 09 <https://www.jamestown .org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=23404>.  John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt. Swarming and the Future of Conflict. RAND National Defense Research Institute. 23 Oct 09<https://www.rand.org/pubs/ documented_ briefings /2005 /RAND _DB311.pdf>.  Mullah Dadullah, in an interview with the BBC’s Pashtu service in March 2003, said of Mullah Omar, “We have appointed leaders and commanders based on his handwritten letter; we have started jihad based on his handwritten letter, and we work based on his orders. Countering Afghanistan’s Insurgency: No Quick Fixes (Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2006), 14 Sep 09<https://www.unhcr.org/home/RSDCOI/4565e7fe4.pdf>.  Tim Foxley. The Taliban’s Propaganda Activities. 24 Oct 09 <https://www.sipri.org/ contents/ conflict/foxley_paper.pdf>.  Thomas H. Johnson. The Taliban Insurgency and an Analysis of Shabnamah (Night Letters). 27 Nov 09 < www.nps.edu/Programs/CCS/Docs/ Pubs/Small_Wars_% 20 Pub. pdf>.  Seth G. Jones. Afghanistan’s Local Insurgency. 25 Oct 09 <https://www.rand.org/commentary/ 013107IHT.html.>  Jihadi Layeha- A Comment . National Centre for Policy Research. 23 Sep 09<https://www.ncpr.af/ Publications/LayehaJihad.pdf>.  BBC News. Taliban Sack Military Commander. 21 Sep 09 <https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/ 7164277.stm>.  27 Sep 09<https://www.napoleonguide.com/maxim_war.htm>.  Kristian Berg Harpviken. The Transnationalisation of the Taliban. 12 Nov 09 <https://www.prio.no/files/file49469_harpviken_kb_the_transnationalization_of_the_taliban__paper_11mar07_.pdf >. Caliphate: An Islamic form of government in which political and religious leadership is united, and the head of state (the Caliph) is a successor to the Prophet Muhammad.  Julia Voelker McQuaid. The Struggle for Unity and Authority in Islam: Reviving the Caliphate? 13 Sep 09 <https://www.cna.org/documents/d0016777.a2.pdf>.  24 Nov 09 <https://www.thestar.com/News/Columnist/article/427330>.  Nic Robertson .Senior International Correspondent,. 25 Nov 09 <https://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD /asiapcf/05/04/robertson.interview.zabiullah.mujahid/index.html>.  Antonio Giustozzi. One or many? The issue of the Taliban’s unity and disunity. Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU). 09 Nov 09<https://spaces.brad .ac.uk:8080/download/ attachments/748/Brief +48.pdf>.  Marko Ze?evi? & Enio Jungwirth. The Influence Of Geology On Battlefield Terrain And It’s Affects On Military Operations In Mountains And Karst Regions. Ministry Of Defence Institute. 29 Nov 09 <[email protected]/* */ >.  Tehran Times International Daily. U.S. soldiers: Afghan war more challenging than Iraq. 29 Nov 09 <https://www.tehrantimes.com/PDF/10750/10750-6.pdf>.  Thomas H Johnson. Taliban Insurgency and Analysis of Shabnamah (Night Letters) , ed seriatum.  Peter Marsden. Op cit., pp. 79 – 86.  Kathy Gannon. Taliban Gains Money, Al-Qaida Finances Recovering. 29 Nov 09<https://www.world-check.com/media/d/content_pressarticle_reference/AP_Taliban_June09.pdf >.  Clint Lorimore and Ryan Clarke. Obama’s Afghan Arm Twisting: Weakening Karzai To Give Him Strength?, 29 Nov 09< https://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/Perspective/RSIS0212009.pdf>.  Thomas H,Johnson. On the Edge of the Big Muddy: The Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan. 29 Nov 09 <https://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/docs/CEF/Quarterly/May_2007/Johnson.pdf>.  Peter Marsden. Op. cit., pp 87-99.  Ibid. pp 85-86.  Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan is a Sunni militant sectarian organisation that primarily targets Shia Muslims. It operates mainly in Pakistan and Afghanistan and was banned by the Pakistani government in January 2002 as a terrorist outfit. Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. South Asia Terrorism Portal, 30 Nov 09<https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Ssp.htm>.  Rahimullah Yusufzai. The Impact of Pashtun Tribal Differences on the Pakistani Taliban. Terrorism Monitor. 30 Nov 09 <https://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373954>.  Peter Marsden, Op. Cit., pp 114-124.  General Charles R. Holland, Commander in Chief, United States Special Operations Command. Emerging Threats and Capabilities. 30 Nov 09< https://www.globalsecurity .org /military /library/congress/2002_hr/holland312.pdf,>.  Kenneth Ballen. Inside the dreams of Mullah Omar. 29 Nov 09 <https://www.terrorfreetomorrow .org/upimagestft/FT%20Comment%20Inside%20the%20dreams%20of%20Mullah%20Omar.pdf >.  Pascale Combelles Siegel. Taliban Graduation Ceremony Demonstrates Change of Tactics. Terrorism Focus. 01 Dec 09 <https://jamestown.org/terrorism /news/article.php? articleid= 2373516 >.  Daan Van Der Schriek. Weaker but Not Wiser: The Taliban Today. Terrorism Monitor. 01 Dec 09 <https://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369093>.  ‘Afghan Officials Accuse Pakistan of Indian Embassy Attack. The News, 9 July 2008.  Times of India, 10 May 2009. 01 Dec 09 < https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/About-3000-terrorists-in-Swat-Valley-would-be-killed-Zardari/articleshow/4504965.cms>.  Harinder Singh. Profiling the Taliban Threat to India. IDSA. 01 Nov 09 <https://www.idsa.in/node/ 120>.  The Hindu. 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Israeli-Indian-Russian Cooperation on Counter-Terrorism. 19 Nov 09<https://www.ict. org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=449>.  Nirmala Joshi. India-Russia Relations and the Strategic Environment in Eurasia. 27 Nov 09 <https://src-h.slav.hokudai.ac.jp/coe21/publish/no16_1_ses/10_joshi.pdf >.  Imtiaz Gul. Op. cit., pp. 65 – 80. India Today, 20 Jun 2000, Nepal: Wake-Up Call, 28 Nov 09<https://www.india-today.com/itoday/ 20000619/neighbours.html>.  Bhure Lal. Op. cit., pp. 73-74.  The Times of India. Pakistan’s Secret State. 28 Nov 09 <https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com /articleshow / 1132700.cms>.  Sanjay K Jha. Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management. The Neglected Naxalite Arsenal. 28 Nov 09 < https://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?220851>. Majid Jahangir. Indian Express. Taliban presence felt in Kashmir valley. 28 Nov 09 <https://www .indianexpress .com/news/taliban-presence-felt-in-kashmir-valley/444616/2>.  PM Manmohan Singh. 28 Nov 09 <https://www.business-standard.com/india/news/therelimits-tocentre-can-provide/21/13/367821/>.  01 Dec 09 <https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/adolf_hitler.html>.  Centre for Research and Security Studies. Invaders from North and Fear of Taliban Taking Control of Pakistan. 02 Dec 09<https://www.crss.pk/wpager09/we22feb09.pdf>.  Animesh Roul. Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict (SSPC). India: Impending Taliban Threat and Response. 02 Dec 09 <https://sspconline.org/article_details.asp?artid=art186>.  Carl Hammer, Op. cit., p 45. Abdullah Azzam founded Maktab al- Khidamat in 1984 to recruit and assist Arabs fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Abdullah Azzam is described as an ideological mentor for Osama bin Laden. 27 Dec 09 <https://www.globalsecurity.org /security/ profiles/ abdullah_azzam.htm>.  Edwina A. Thompson. The Nexus of Drug Trafficking and Hawala in Afghanistan. 14 Nov 09 <https://siteresources.worldbank.org/SOUTHASIAEXT/Resources/Publications/448813-1164651372704/UNDC_Ch6.pdf>.  Ibid.  28 Dec 09 <www.fatf-gafi.org>.  28 Dec 09 <https://business.rediff.com/report/2009/jun/19/india-to-become-financial-action-task-force-member.htm>.  29 Dec 09 <https://fiuindia.gov.in/pmla2002.htm>.  C. Raja Mohan. Barack Obama’s Kashmir thesis! 10 Nov 09<https://www.indianexpress.com /news/ barack-obamas-kashmir-thesis/380615/>.  The Times of India. Deoband: A Fatwa Against Terror. 12 Nov 09 <https://timesofindia.indiatimes. com/India/Deobands_first_A_fatwa_against_terror/articleshow/3089161.cms>.  Muhammad Qasim Zaman. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam. 12 Nov 09 <https://press.princeton .edu/chapters/i7383.pdf >.  Counterinsurgency Manual. Headquarters, Department of the United States Army, 04 Jan 2010 <https://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24fd.pdf>.  Karl A. Slaikeu, Ph.D. Winning the War in Afghanistan: An Oil Spot Plus Strategy for Coalition Forces. Small Wars Journal. 04 Jan 2010<https://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/227-slaikeu.pdf >.
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