There has been a lot of talk about bringing in the Taliban from the cold in order to “stabilize” the country. Ferguson’s Unknown Enemy champions this position arguing that the Taliban are an integral part of Afghanistan, unlike al-Qaeda. Whereas al-Qaeda was a terror network based out of Afghanistan and largely comprised of foreign jihadists, the Taliban are a homegrown movement with a nationalist outlook, not an internationalist agenda like al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda can be targeted effectively, but, according to Ferguson, the Taliban have roots in the Pashtun ethnic community and represent a large segment of Afghan society. This al-Jazeera video seems to highlight that that position may be gaining traction as the Taliban are being gradually and incrementally brought into the process in order to bring an end to a war that seems without end as the Taliban have proved, at least until now, resilient.
The book also argues that the Taliban did not sponsor al-Qaeda but that al-Qaeda sponsored a cash-strapped Taliban and that because of the post-9/11 wars, should the Taliban either come to share in state power in the future or seize it all together, it is very unlikely that they will house foreign jihadists again. I’m not sure if I agree with all that but it’s good food for thought.