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‘No threat to Taliban’s unity despite differences’

By Our Correspondent
March 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A divide between pragmatists and traditionalists within Afghan Taliban will remain but are less likely to end up in revolt anytime in the future.

These were the views expressed by experts at the roundtable discussion organised by the Institute of Regional Studies on ‘Political power struggle within Afghanistan and its spillover effect on the region” here Thursday.

They observed that 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.

Speaking on the occasion, Salman 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. He claimed that there would be no foreign intervention in Afghanistan particularly from the US in the future. He also stated that the Afghan Taliban probably would start working on establishing a security framework as agreed in the Doha accord to curb militancy in Afghanistan for which capacity building of National Resistance Forces was essential.

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

Earlier, 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.

Nizamuddin Khan Salarzai, Executive Director, Khorasan Diary, dispelled the impression that there was a trust deficit between 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. However, the presence of ISK (Islamic State Khorasan) in Afghanistan was the only threat to the Taliban as the said organisation was

maintaining a rigorous network in the country.