Asatryan: Tensions rise within the Taliban

The Taliban has established tight control over almost all provinces of Afghanistan. To date, their power has practically no serious alternatives. No one opposition force in the country could pose a serious and real challenge to the Taliban. From the military, political, and even economic resources, the Taliban have no opponents capable of destroying their power. At the same time, there were no significant changes in the radical ideology of the Taliban. It is still a dangerous terrorist organization, which also now has power over a UN member state,” told …. the associate Professor of Moscow University Georgi Asatryan.

At the same time, the interlocutor noted that the threats of destabilization of the Afghan state remain and grow, but they have other formats. “Contradictions within the Taliban movement are growing. In fact, we can talk about the presence of two opposing groups. The first is, say so, modernists or allies of finding a compromise with the international community. They are led by Mullah Baradar and his allies. These are primarily people who were integrated into the Doha process, participated in international negotiations, and have contacts with the outside world. They mostly head the humanitarian and economic ministries. Their links with Pakistan and with their ISI intelligence service are quite strong, but not contradictory,” Asatryan said.

The expert noted that “the second group, in my view, represents radicals, allies of the Emirate and a return to the practices of the 1990s.” “This group is under the total control of Pakistani specialists. This group is led by the leaders of the Haqqani Network organization. They are headed primarily by law enforcement agencies,” the expert said.

The interlocutor added that contradictions are also growing along the lines of the Pashtun tribes. “One group primarily consists of eastern Pashtuns, the second – southern. In particular, a process of struggle for power within the Taliban movement may begin in Afghanistan between the tribal confederations of Durrani and Ghilzai, which are allied with the Pashtuns from the Zadran Confederation and the Pashtun tribes from Pakistan,” the expert said.

According to the expert, Russia has generally forgotten about the crisis in Afghanistan and does not pay due attention to the processes there. “It seems that official Moscow has some relief. There is a feeling that everything is under control, the Americans have left, and it’s good. It seems that there is some misunderstanding of the processes that may come soon or, most likely, in the long term. Destabilization is no longer a headache for NATO or the United States. They have left,” the expert said.

The Russian military operation in Ukraine has become a disaster for its economy and image. Therefore, Moscow will not be able to focus on security issues in Central Asia in the near future. Moscow’s influence will decrease. 

Georgi Asatrian
Georgi Asatrian
Georgi Asatryan, associate professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University and Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.