How does Taliban survive in Afghanistan?
The world’s most powerful armies have struggled for more than a decade and yet have not overcome the enemy. Countries have spent over 500 billion dollars in this region to defeat the extremists with no luck. We are talking of Afghanistan where US has stationed over 90,000 troops in Afghanistan. The enemy is a bunch of illiterate and disparate groups of rag tag coalition who are united just by the virtue of their cause. All along the Taliban has been thinking that it winning the war and even the mightiest of the armies of the world have not been able to either decimate them or make them surrender. It would be fair to say that Taliban has won the war and has successfully been able to take Afghanistan back to stone age. Just last year over 3000 civilians died there and the death toll has been rising since the past 5 years. The efforts of coalition forces have started to yield diminishing returns.
The question which comes to mind is how does Taliban survive and how can they have the financial means to survive the onslaught of the world’s most powerful countries including US and the UK.
Instead of fighting the Taliban why have the best economic minds of the world not been able to suffocate these militants of their food and war supplies. Why is the army with the most sophisticated weaponry in the world not been able to defeat a rag tag coalition whose weapons are third grade and possibly a decade old which would have gone past by their use by date? Why are the NATO forces overtly focused on fighting the war with Taliban on the Afghanistan battle field? Why are we still fighting them on the ground in their territory instead of waging war with their suppliers and restricting their suppliers.
How long can a Taliban soldier stand guarding outside his post if he is not assured of supplies? The very fact that they are on guard indicates there is a proper supply chain which provides food, weapons, bullets and gear to him. Given that there is practically no industry in Afghanistan these supplies would have to cross the borders.
Dig deep and you would get the same answers what you have been hearing since the past decade, which is that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is porous and ISI and Iran are discretely helping the Taliban and money is coming through opium trade. Even if we assume that Taliban gets their money from extortions and kidnappings in Kabul and rich parts of Pakistan, the maths simply does not add up. This is not sufficient to feed an army of people spread across the length and breadth of Afghanistan.
It is assumed that the market value of Opium produced in Afghanistan in Western countries is 40 billion dollars. A certain portion out of this will need to be paid back to the local producers and the Taliban mafia back in Afghanistan. We need to find the channels of money supplies and stop this trade which definitely would be much cheaper than losing 2987 lives of NATO forces and 33 Australians.
It is time for everyone to brace themselves for the eventual return of Taliban to Afghanistan which will have its own geo-political security repercussions. There are serious implications for both Australia and India. The threat perception in India will increase as reinvigorated Taliban may strike at easy targets within India. Australia will see increase asylum seekers including more boats as some 30,000 Afghans would seek asylum abroad to save themselves from Taliban hoodlums.