I take a very skeptical position toward America’s alliance with Pakistan, whose elite, to put it as charitably as I can, have a myopic policy toward the Taliban and Islamist extremist groups. That said, the DoD has in previous decades, had standing mil-mil exchanges with Pakistan’s Army that were usually better and far more productive than our diplomatic relationship with Islamabad ( a situation that is mirrored in Latin American relations). This tradition generally involves talented Pakistani officers partaking in training and educational programs with their American counterparts or studying in our war colleges.
Going back through recent articles at SWJ leads me to recommend the following judicious analysis of the Taliban by LTC. Ehsan Mehmood Khan, currently a student at National Defense University. It’s an excellent survey of the Taliban’s strengths at formulating and implementing their political-military strategy within the context of different strategic schools of thought and it should have attracted more attention than it received when it was first published at SWJ Blog.
Taliban Warfare has occupied news headlines in the global information expanse for over a decade. It is also a topic of choice for academics and scholars. However, the subject is often viewed and analyzed in a subjective rather than objective manner. It is mostly looked at across the prism of terrorism – atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by a group of non-state, though not stateless, bandits. Seldom has a theorist or practitioner picked up the pen to draw on the military aspects of the war so as to reach correct conclusions as to how could this war come to an acceptable-by-all end. This line of thought and reasoning might hold good for a given category of politicians but the students of military strategy and those involved in kinetic operations in a counterinsurgency campaign remain bewildered on the nature of the war. There is a need to understand Taliban as people, not monster, and as warriors not gangsters. Likewise, Taliban Warfare is required to be understood in correct military perspective rather than a mere act of crime, terrorism or banditry.