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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaWill the Taliban Regime Survive?

Will the Taliban Regime Survive?

Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown

Affiliation: Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology and Director of Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors (Brookings) 

Organization /Publisher: Brookings Institution/ Washington DC 

Date/Place: August 31, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Blog

Word Count: 1500

Link: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2021/08/31/will-the-taliban-regime-survive/ 

Keywords: Taliban, United States, Afghanistan, International Community 

Brief:

The analysis focuses on the viability of the current Taliban Regime in Afghanistan where the international community and United States failed in the last 20 years. The author argues that the Taliban government’s survival depends on how it handles and prevents armed opposition to its rule, and how it manages the country’s economy and relations with external actors. The US failed in inducing good governance in Afghanistan and its efforts of constructing Afghan Security Forces at the cost of $88 billion were hollowed out. The armed opposition to the Taliban is a serious challenge to maintain with varied ideological and material interests. The author highlights and suggests to avoid previous mistakes—and not to be tempted to split off. The Taliban needs to ensure that its key commanders and rank-and-file soldiers retain enough income, such as through mining in Badakhshan and logging in Kunar. The ISK (Islamic State of Khorasan) may not be worrisome for the time being, but the previous brutalities and instigation of Suni-Shia conflict is an alarming sign for domestic and regional stability. In governance matters, the Taliban needs support from technocrats to at least stumble through higher-level policy challenges; and it needs foreign assistance, both advisory and on the ground, such as in the form of humanitarian NGOs. But if its rule centers on purges and revenge, the technocrats will continue to flee. The Taliban regime faces economic difficulties because of the loss of billions of dollars that had been allocated to Afghanistan — from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the US, and the European Union — because the country’s central bank reserves held in the US were frozen by the US government.  The author concludes that the West’s bargaining and engagement with the Taliban should focus on specific demands, such as reducing the most debilitating repression, and center on discreet and specific punishments and inducements for concrete policy actions in what will be a long, complicated, iterative, and turbulent process.

 

By: Razia Wadood, CIGA Senior Research Associate

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