OSINT – Afghan Taliban

Also Known As: The Students; The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan; Quetta Shura

Description: The Taliban is a Pashtun Islamist political party in Afghan, which governed the country with a draconian interpretation of Shariah law between 1996-2001, and provided Al-Qaeda with a safe-haven to plot attacks against the United States. A key institution of the Taliban is conservative madrassas on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which indoctrinate potential fighters.

Targets: Key targets of the Taliban include Afghan and Pakistani military and civic members, as well as ISAF targets of opportunity.

Activities: The Taliban has executed numerous attacks against its targets, including cross border raids and bombings. The terrorist group has been known to assault its high value targets in Kabul, including the U.S. Embassy, the Presidential Palace, and ISAF Headquarters, as noted in the April 15, 2012 attacks.

Diplomacy: The Taliban’s leadership, such as its chief Mullah Omar, has a mutually beneficial relationship with AQ. The Taliban receives ideological guidance and best practices from AQ, while the Taliban governed areas provides AQ with a safe-haven. Moreover, the Taliban is able to work pragmatically with other Pshtun groups on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Taliban has also conducted joint operations with the Haqqani Network.

Strength:  Estimated to be around 20,000

AO: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Funding and External Aid:  The Taliban uses TNOC, such as extortion and narcotics trafficking, to fund its operations.

Afghan Taliban's AO, courtesy of the NCTC

Afghan Taliban’s AO, courtesy of the NCTC

Local Media:

Afghan Islamic Press. Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Afghan War News. “Quetta Shura Taliban (QST).” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Afghanistan Times. Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Associated Press of Pakistan. “Taliban.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Bakhtar News. Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Daily Times. “Taliban.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Dawn. “Taliban.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

The Friday Times. “Taliban.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

The Frontier Post. “Taliban.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Khaama Press. Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

The Nation. “Taliban.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

The News International. “Taliban.” Accessed  November 25, 2014.

Pajhwok. Taliban.” November 25, 2014.

Tolo. Taliban.” November 25, 2014.

Global Media:

Al Jazeera. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

BBC. Taliban Conflict.” November 24, 2014. Accessed January 4, 2015.

BBC. Who are the Taliban?” November 1, 2013. Accessed January 4, 2015.

CNN. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Foreign Affairs. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Foreign Policy. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

The Guardian. “Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

NPR. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

NYT. Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Reuters. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

VICE News. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

VOA. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

WaPo. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Think Tanks / Academic:

AEI. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Afghan Analyst Network. Accessed January 4, 2015.

Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. Accessed January 4, 2015.

Brookings. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

CFR. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

CFR. “The Taliban in Afghanistan.” July 4, 2014. Accessed January 4, 2015.

CRS. “Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy.” December 2, 2014. Accessed January 4, 2015.

CRS. “Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy.” November 21, 2008. Accessed January 4, 2015.

CRS. “Major Islamist Militant Groups in Pakistan.” February 2013. Accessed January 4, 2015.

CSIS. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

CTC. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

ICG. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

ISW. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Jihadology. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

SITE. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

Stanford University. “Taliban.” Mapping Militant Organizations. November 28, 2012. Accessed January 4, 2015.

TRAC. “Taliban.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

Government:

Defense Department. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

DIA. “Annual Threat Assessment.” February 11, 2014.

ISAF. Accessed January 4, 2015.

NCTC. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

State Department. “Afghan Taliban.” Accessed January 4, 2015.

State Department. “Afghan Taliban.” Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Country Reports on Terrorism 2013.

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