The only thing that the two groups have in common is a Salafist (“Islamist”) ideology, but apart from that, any other comparison is superficial and ignores the many differences between them.
Trump’s “new Afghan strategy” was really a formalization of the ongoing Hybrid War on CPEC, which at this stage seeks to drive the Taliban (banned in Russia) out of the Afghan-Pakistani border and replace them with ISIS-K terrorists, after which the US plans to manufacture a “plausible” “anti-terrorist” pretext via false flag attacks and cross-border infiltration for striking CPEC and later sanctioning it. The renewed global attention on Afghanistan as the staging ground for this grand operation has also brought the Taliban back into focus, seeing as how it’s the most effective anti-government fighting force and already controls or influences approximately half of the country’s territory, if not more.
The US has been fighting against the Taliban for 16 years now, yet it’s been unable to defeat them, and it’s doubtful that a paltry 4000 extra troops will make much of a tangible difference in the overall battlefield dynamics. In any case, the US is once again emphasizing the supposed anti-terrorist origins of the War on Afghanistan, bearing in mind that it and many other countries have classified the Taliban as a terrorist group. Be that as it may, however, the Taliban is nothing like Daesh (which is also banned in Russia), and the two regularly fight against one another in Afghanistan. In fact, despite their shared Salafist ideology, there’s actually quite a lot that differentiates these two groups and contradicts any superficial comparison between them.
Critics of this approach claim that both were “created by the US”, but that’s not true in the case of the Taliban. The US did in fact provide military, material, and managerial support to their Mujahedeen forerunners from mid-1979 onwards with the intent of provoking the Soviet intervention that would later take place by the end of that year, but this doesn’t mean that it created the Taliban movement that emerged from that conflict. While it’s responsible for crafting the structural conditions of chaos that gave rise to what eventually came afterwards, one shouldn’t get confused and automatically believe that this simplistic “cause-effect” relationship means that the Taliban is, therefore, an agent of American hegemony.
It’s not, and the reality is that the Taliban is emblematic of perhaps the greatest example of blowback in American history, so let’s take a closer look at what makes this group so different from Daesh:
Indigenous vs. Foreign
For starters, the Taliban is comprised of indigenous Afghan fighters, not the foreign jihadists who flocked to the battlefield to join Daesh.
Genuinely Popular vs. Unpopular
This makes the Taliban genuinely popular in Afghanistan, compared to the unpopularity of Daesh in “Syraq”.
Historical Roots vs. New Creation
The Taliban embody the millennia-old Afghan nationalist tradition of resisting foreign military forces from as far back as the time of Alexander of Macedon, whereas Daesh formed just a few years ago.
No Foreign Support vs. Heavy International Backing
There have been speculative but unverified reports that Pakistan supports the Taliban, but that’s it, while Daesh enjoyed heavy international backing prior to becoming the “pariah” that it is today.
Insurgency vs. Conventional Tactics
Because it has no external backing, the Taliban have been forced to wage an insurgency, but Daesh’s foreign support allowed it to develop into a semi-conventional army with tanks and Humvees.
National Focus vs. Internationalism
The Taliban only care about regaining control of Afghanistan, which is totally unlike Daesh’s plans to establish an international “caliphate” across most of the Eastern Hemisphere in Afro-Eurasia.
National Liberation Movement vs. Forcible Occupation
The above-mentioned factors advance the argument that the Taliban is actually a National Liberation Movement, which is a world apart from the forcible occupiers that Daesh is.
Anti-US vs. Pro-US
The Taliban have never willingly or inadvertently been a pawn of the US’ geopolitical goals, but Daesh just so happens to always conveniently be corralled in the direction of the US’ grand strategic interests.
Winning vs. Losing
And finally, the Taliban is on the upswing and is indisputably winning the war, which is the complete opposite of Daesh’s rapid retreat and imminent defeat.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Sputnik News