Category Archives: Articles

The way forward on peace, after the July talks in Doha – Afghanistan Affairs

Professor Michael Semple

21 July 2019

Perhaps the most important aspect of the July intra-Afghan dialogue is that it took place without any major upset. It was important for the theatre of the broader peace process to maintain confidence that talks are making progress. But both the composition of the delegations and the substance of the discussions were also significant. The Taliban’s public stance of refusing to deal directly with the Government of Afghanistan forces them to come up with new devices allowing them to talk. Back in 2015, good stage-management by the Pakistani hosts ensured that the Taliban’s representatives held talks in Murree with an Afghan government delegation. This time round the device used was a formula that … Read More on Afghanistan Affairs

The Taliban’s Battle Plan By Michael Semple – Foreign Affairs

Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States’ envoy for Afghan reconciliation, has breathed new life into attempts to conduct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Having met with Taliban representatives in Qatar and lobbied leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Khalilzad now says he is “cautiously optimistic” about reaching a peace deal by April of next year.

Yet as far as Taliban leaders are concerned, the group has little reason to commit to a peace process: it is on a winning streak. The Taliban control key Afghan highways and are conducting targeted assassinations across the country. They have made important territorial gains and now have complete or partial control over some 250 of about 400 districts.

These gains are not sufficient to pose an existential threat to an Afghan government with U.S. backing, but they have emboldened the Taliban to keep fighting, in the hope of eventually eroding U.S. resolve. Even if Khalilzad manages to bring the Taliban to the table, don’t expect his efforts to …. Read More on Foreign Affairs

Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate Returns: Life Under a Resurgent Taliban – world politics review

Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016 (AP photo by Allauddin Khan).

In 1992, after groups of guerrilla fighters known as mujahideen succeeded in toppling Afghanistan’s communist government, which had been backed by the Soviet Union, they quickly turned on each other, kicking off a civil war. In response, a group of young clerics in the southern province of Kandahar took up arms themselves, promising to restore order and establish an “Islamic system.” The Taliban movement, as the clerics became known, spread rapidly across the south and east of the country until 1996, when they ousted the fractious coalition of mujahideen and conquered Kabul.

For the next five years, the Taliban governed most of Afghanistan. They extended their administration to all parts of the country under their control, which at the height of their power was about 90 percent …. Read More on world politics review

Top priorities for Haibatullah, new Afghan Taliban leader

(CNN)In the year that he openly led the Afghan Taliban Movement, Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who was killed by a U.S drone strike Saturday, proved to be a consummate political actor.

After seizing power in a rapidly summoned conclave, he proceeded to consolidate his hold over the movement, deflect attempts by the pro-Taliban clergy (ulema) to question his authority, co-opt or eliminate dissidents, renew the Taliban’s war strategy and defy all efforts to maneuver the Taliban into peace negotiations.
To achieve all of this, Mansour drew on a rich repertoire of stratagems.

Photos: Scene from reported strike on Taliban leaders

Read More on CNN–>

 

Copy of the post if the source Link does not work

The Taliban replaces its dead leader – and prepares for some tricky internal politics

The May 21 drone strike that killed Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansoorwas no ordinary assassination; it was an act of armed politics against an acutely political war strategist. The

The scene of the drone strike said to have killed the Taliban’s leader. EPA

Taliban has already named Mansoor’s successor, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, and is reassuring its members that the status quo will endure – but Mansoor

Read More–>

 

Copy of the post if the source link does not work

Black flags and balaclavas: how jihadists dress for imaginary war

Source Link:   Author: Michael SempleQueen’s University Belfast

Copy of the Post in PDF

The first thing that I noticed in the gruesome pictures of two gunmen fleeing the scene of their attack on Charlie Hebdo was that the men were dressed from head to toe in black.

It might sound strange, but terrorist couture is a surprisingly relevant detail from which to start making sense of what happened in Paris, and how it connects to other acts of jihadi terrorism worldwide.

The attackers dressed to look like members of a paramilitary force not to trick their way through a security check, but to symbolise their belonging to an army – albeit an imagined one.

Explainer: who are the Pakistani Taliban?

By Michael Semple, Queen’s University Belfast

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on a school in Peshawar that killed more than 130 children. The militants planned the

A scene of devastation after the Taliban attack in Peshawar. EPA/Bilawal Arbab

massacre to take revenge on the Pakistan army. They murdered the children of their enemy.

By executing these children, the attackers took Pakistan’s violence past a dreadful milestone. But the background to this massacre is a conflict spanning the frontier of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s a conflict that has dragged on for more than a decade.

The Pakistan Taliban Movement: An Appraisal

The Pakistan Taliban Movement: An AppraisalPolicy Research Papers
November 2014

In October 2014 the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) announced his movement’s backing for the “Islamic State” (IS) and its efforts to re-establish the Caliphate. The spokesman pledged that the Taliban would align their efforts with the Islamic State by sending fighters and military experts more…

 

Download copy of the post

Download copy of the publication