from a DISTaNCE_ you mIghT ThINk ThE TalIbaN IS a moNolIThIC ENEmy by ert634


									                                                                                                                    Al Qaeda                                                                              Hezb-i-Islami
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Key figure: Gulbuddin

                                                                                                                    Key figures: Osama bin Laden, Ay-
                                                                                                                    man al-Zawahiri                                                                       Hekmatyar
                                                                                                                    Size: 50-100 in Afghanistan, 300 in                                                   Size: Unknown, but the
                                                                                                                                                                                                          weakest of the three                                                                                          Loose connection:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          primary Taliban factions in                                                                                   mostly ideological links
                                                                                                                    Base: Pakistan’s tribal areas, primar-
                                                                                                                    ily North Waziristan                                                                  Afghanistan
                                                                                                                    Modus operandi: Training and                                                          Base: Kunar, Nangarhar, in                                                                                    Solid connection: opera-
                                                                                                                    inspiring other militants, attacks on                                                 Afghanistan; Afghan refugee                                                                                   tional and ideological links
                                                                                                                    U.S. and nato forces in eastern                                                       camps outside Peshawar,

                                                                                                                    Afghanistan and Pakistan
                                                                                                                    Connections: Al Qaeda’s role is mostly inspi-                                         Modus operandi: Attacks
                                                                                                                    rational at this point, though it works with the                                      on U.S., nato, and Afghan
                                                                                                                    ttp and the Haqqanis to conduct attacks locally                                       targets in Afghanistan
                                                                                                                    and continues to plot attacks abroad. Bin Laden                                       Connections: Hezb-i-Islami
                                                                                                                    broke his pre-9/11 religious oath of obedience                                        has long been linked to al
                                                                                                                    to Mullah Omar by attacking the United States                                         Qaeda and the Taliban in
                                                                                                                    and today supports attacks on Pakistan over the                                       Afghanistan but is also con-
                                                                                                                    Taliban leader’s continued and public objections.                                     sidered the group most likely
                                                                                                                    Major attack: Cooperated with ttp to                                                  to reconcile with the Afghan
                                                                                                                    attack a cia base in Khost, Afghanistan, in                                           government.                                         Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muham-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              madi (tnsm)/Swat and Bajaur
from a DISTaNCE, you mIghT ThINk ThE                                                                                December 2009, killing seven cia employees
                                                                                                                    and contractors
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Key figures: Sufi Muhammad,
TalIbaN IS a moNolIThIC ENEmy. far from IT.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Maulana Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir
By PeTer BergeN, BriaN FiSHMaN,                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Size: Unknown
aNd KaTHeriNe TiedeMaNN                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Base: Swat Valley and Bajaur
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and nato forces in Afghanistan and
           fter a summer of shifting leadership and                                                                                                                                                                                                           Pakistani Army
           souring reports on the state of the war in                                                                                                                                                                                                         Connections: The tnsm predates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the Taliban movement by several
           Afghanistan, the “surge” of 30,000 addi-                                                                                                                                                                                                           years and was founded by radical
           tional U.S. troops is now in place. And not                                                                                                                                                                                                        cleric Sufi Muhammad in the late                         Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1980s. Although there are reports                        Key figure: Hafiz
           a moment too soon: U.S. President Barack                                                                              Haqqani Network                                                                                                                                                                       Muhammad Saeed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              of coordination with the ttp, the tnsm and
           Obama has already pledged to make a                                                                                   Key figures: Jalaluddin                                                                                                      the Swat Taliban have no known operational               Size: Several
           decision in July 2011 about how many                                                                                  Haqqani and son,                                                                                                             connections with the Quetta Shura, despite               thousand
                                                                                                                                 Sirajuddin                                                                                                                   the groups’ leaders’ admiring comments about             Base: Pakistani
troops to pull out of Afghanistan. So the window                                                                                 Size: Unknown, but                                                                                                                                                                    Kashmir and Punjab
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mullah Omar in the past.
of time in which to contain or sufficiently weaken                                                                               a large faction of the                                                                                                                                                                Modus operandi: Primarily
the Taliban is rapidly closing. The problem is, the                                                                              Taliban in Afghanistan                                                                                                                                                                attacks on Indian targets,
                                                                                                                                 Base: North Waziristan,                                                                                                                                                               growing interest in Western
“Taliban” doesn’t really exist—or at least, not in the                                                                           Pakistan                                                                                                                                                                              targets
way the term is normally used.                                                                                                   Modus operandi:                                                                                                                                                                       Connections: Although LeT
  The original movement was a Pakistan-supported                                                                                 Attacks on U.S., nato,                                                                                                                                                                was traditionally a Kashmir-
                                                                                                                                 Afghan, and Indian targets in                                                                                                                                                         focused militant group, its
militia built around a core of well-armed Afghan                                                                                 Afghanistan                                                                                                                                                                           November 2008 coordinated
religious students (“Taliban” means “students” in                                                                                Connections: Jalaluddin and                                                                                                                                                           attacks on expat spots in
Pashto) that took power in Kabul in the mid-1990s.                                                                               Sirajuddin hold positions in                                                                                                                                                          Mumbai demonstrated its
                                                                                                                                 the Quetta Shura, the ruling                                                                                                                                                          growing interest in attacking
But today the term has become nearly meaningless,                                                                                body of Mullah Omar’s Taliban,                                                                                                                                                        Western targets, under the
used to describe virtually any militant organization                                                                             and their network supplies                                                                                                                                                            influence of al Qaeda. Certain
in Afghanistan and many in Pakistan.                                                                                             90 percent of the fighters in                                                                                                                                                         cells within the group also
                                                                                                                                 eastern Afghanistan. But the                                                                                                                                                          have connections to the ttp.
  Although most of these groups pay lip service to                                                                               group operates independently,          Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (ttp)                                                                                                                Major attack: Mumbai, 2008
Afghan Taliban head Mullah Omar’s leadership and                           Taliban in Afghanistan                                harbors al Qaeda, and some-            Key figure: Hakimullah Mehsud
                                                                           Key figure: Mullah Omar                               times protects ttp members.            Size: Up to 20,000 allied fighters                                Unaffiliated Sectarian and
share some aims, they diverge widely in their alle-                                                                                                                     across the fata
                                                                           Size: 25,000-30,000                                   It has also cooperated with                                                                              Criminal groups
giances, targets, and strategies, most importantly over                    Base: Quetta, Pakistan                                Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intel-       Base: North/South Waziristan/                                     Key figures: Mangal Bagh, Omar
whether to attack the Pakistani state or plan terrorist                    Modus operandi:                                       ligence to attack Indian targets       Orakzai                                                           Khalid                                                   Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan,
                                                                           Insurgency in southern                                in Afghanistan.                        Modus operandi: Attacks on                                        Size: Unknown, but likely several                        Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ),
attacks outside South Asia. And the closer one looks,                                                                                                                   U.S. and nato forces in Afghanistan and                                                                                    Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
                                                                           Afghanistan                                           Major attack: July 7, 2008,                                                                              hundred to low thousands
the more complex the web becomes. It’s critical to un-                     Connections: Nearly all                               bombing of the Indian Embassy          Pakistani Army                                                    Base: Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand                            Size: Several hundred in the fata
                                                                                                                                                                        Connections: An umbrella group of local                                                                                    Base: Punjab, but all have some
derstand that the militants arrayed in Talibanistan are                    militants in Pakistan’s Federally                                    
                                                                                                                                 in Kabul that killed 54
                                                                                                                                                                        militant organizations that joined together
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Modus operandi: Includes two rival
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   presence in the fata
not monolithic and combating them requires a varied                        Administered Tribal Areas (fata)                                                                                                                               groups in Khyber, Lashkar-e-Islam
                                                                                                                                                                        in December 2007 under the late Baitullah                         and Ansar-ul-Islam, which aim to im-                     Modus operandi: Attacks on U.S.,
                                                                           nominally defer to Mullah Omar’s
approach far more complex than simply “defeating                           leadership, but the Taliban in                                                               Mehsud. Throughout its three years of                             pose sharia locally and raid convoys in                  Pakistani, Shiite, and Indian targets
the Taliban.” It’s a matter of understanding one’s en-                                                                                                                  formal existence, the ttp has provided                            the Khyber Pass. The Kurram groups                       Connections: These largely sectar-
                                                                           Afghanistan’s operational reach is
                                                                                                                                                                        suicide bombers to the Haqqanis and the                           are more focused on attacking Shiites.                   ian groups have historical ties to
emies: not the Taliban, but the Talibans.                                  strongest in southern Afghanistan.
                                                                                                                                                                        Quetta Shura.                                                     Connections: Loosely allied with ttp                     Pakistani intelligence and links to al
                                                                           Protected by Islamabad, Mullah
                                                                                                                                                                        Major attacks: December 2007 assassina-                                                                                    Qaeda and the ttp.
                                                                           Omar does not support attacks
                                                                                                                                                                        tion of Benazir Bhutto, October 2009 attack                                                                                Major attack: 2002 murder of
                                                                           within Pakistan.
                                                                                                                                                                        on Pakistani Army headquarters (with LeJ)                                                                                  Daniel Pearl (LeJ/JeM)
                                                                           Major attacks: Responsible
Peter Bergen is a senior research fellow and Brian Fishman and Katherine
                                                                           for the majority of U.S. military
Tiedemann are research fellows at the New America Foundation.              casualties in Afghanistan

                                                                           map by Gene Thorp; headshoTs: GeTTy imaGes; (omar, s. haqqani)

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