Afghanistan: Should NATO Rethink Its Strategy In Fighting The Taliban? (RFE/RL)

NATO has thus far responded to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan with brute military force. There are signs, however, that this approach underestimates the complexity of the enemy, and reinforces the resentment Afghanistan’s Pashtun communities feel against foreign domination…

My many conversations with Afghan National Army soldiers in the south reinforce the view that an overwhelming majority of the Taliban insurgents are not itinerant mercenaries, but members of local communities which, for some reason, resent the ISAF presence…

In Oruzgan Province, which has seen heavy fighting in recent years, Dutch officer Captain Tjip "Chip" Prins told me there is no such thing as a single, uniform "Taliban."

"You cannot describe the Taliban as [just] ‘the Taliban’" Prins said. "There is one form of Taliban being a local farmer wanting to settle a score with his neighbor; and on the other side of the entire spectrum is the Taliban commander actually believing in what he is doing and controlling a group of several other people."

Prins argues these "multiple layers" need to be addressed differently. He said more than half of the fighters are locals who believe they are defending their livelihoods, or are following guidance they receive from their mullahs and elders, reacting against corruption among local officials, or seeking redress for other local or personal grievances. He says ISAF must not use a "one size fits all" policy for all local problems.

ins also says that whenever possible the Dutch contingent tries to talk to the locals and avoid resorting to violence….

Afghanistan: Should NATO Rethink Its Strategy In Fighting The Taliban? (RFE/RL)

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