Leadership: Taliban Factions Fuel Fanaticism


September 14, 2006: In Afghanistan, interrogations of the many Taliban prisoners taken recently indicates rifts among the inner-leadership of the Taliban. Apparently the more fanatically religious among the leaders (those who buy into the global Islamic revolutionary rhetoric of Al-Qaeda) are having a falling out with those leaders who are primarily focused on Afghanistan, either as nationalists or just opportunists. Drug gangs are generous donors to the Taliban cause, and various tribal leaders support it for different reasons, so there are many reasons for getting involved with the Taliban. All this appears to be one factor in the intensity of recent Taliban operations, as the various factions compete to prove which is the more effective in leading the movement. This enthusiasm is making life uncomfortable for millions of Afghans living along the Pakistani border. Building are being burned down, and roads blocked by gunmen demanding money, or looking to kill anyone working for the government. Hundreds of schools are shut down (because they are not religious enough, or because they teach girls). Thousands of Afghans are being threatened with death if they do not support the Taliban. The Taliban effort to provide vigilante justice often has the opposite effect, and the innocent are slaughtered. What most Afghans see is a return to the bad old days of feuding warlords and tribal warfare. The Taliban were never really a solution for that, just the victory of one oppressive faction, over all the others.




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