For the first time since 2001, the Afghan government has entered talks with the Taliban in an effort to achieve a lasting peace. The Taliban has proven itself to be a resilient insurgency, bolstered by the sanctuary and support it has received in Pakistan. It has also taken on the role of rebel governor, engaging in service provision, justice delivery, and taxation in Afghan territories under its control. Having governed Afghanistan in the 1990s, the group maintains its ambition to resume its political project in the form of an emirate, even as it acknowledges the unprecedented transformation in Afghan state-society relations since 2001.

This collection of papers examines the Taliban as an insurgency and as a prospective participant in the Afghan state-building project through an exploration of the organization’s military, political, and ideological orientations and experiences on their own terms, and in comparison with other relevant cases.

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Service Delivery in Taliban Areas report cover

Service Delivery in Taliban Areas

By Scott Smith

This report examines how the Taliban provide education, health, and other services to people who live in areas where they are the dominant power.