No threat to Taliban’s unity despite differences: Experts

Islamabad: A divide between pragmatists and traditionalists within the Taliban will remain but are less likely to end up in revolt anytime in the future. The ideological bonding of the Afghan Taliban seems impervious to existing differences between them. The contemporary tussle is because of the Taliban’s transition from insurgency to a political movement.

These were the views expressed by experts at the roundtable discussion organized by the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad, on ‘Political Power Struggle within Afghanistan and its spillover effect on the region’.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Slaman Javed, DG, Pak-Afghan Youth Forum said the economic struggle was graver than the political struggle right now in Afghanistan, adding that, the ethnic challenges were there for a long but were not of existential nature. Mr. Javed opined that there would be no foreign intervention in Afghanistan particularly from the U.S. in the future. He also stated that the Afghan Taliban probably would start working on establishing a security framework as agreed in the Doha agreement to curb militancy in Afghanistan, for that, capacity building of the National Resistance Forces was essential, he stressed.

Mr Abdul Basit, a Research Fellow at Rajaratnum School of International Studies, Singapore, said that the Taliban was currently interplaying between traditionalism and pragmatism and this would remain a challenge for the Taliban how they successfully navigate through this transition, he added. In case the Taliban failed to adopt a flexible approach there would be more chaos in Afghanistan, he cautioned.

Earlier, Mr Syed Imran Sardar, from IRS argued that if the tussle within Taliban as well as between Taliban and several other groups was real and growing, there would be more tensions in the region, particularly in the bordering areas.

Mr Nizamuddin Khan Salarzai, Executive Director at Khorasan Diary, dispelled the impression that there was a trust deficit between the Taliban leaders which was often highlighted in the international media. He maintained that this was the Taliban’s ideology that continued binding them despite differences on several political and governance issues and there were no cracks as such on the ideological front, he added. However, ISK’s presence in Afghanistan was the only threat to the Taliban as the said organization was maintaining a rigorous network in the country.

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