Guistozzi argues that the Taliban of today is not the fragmented conventional force it was. In 2002, the conventional Taliban government forces were defeated quickly. The fight then passed to small, ineffective guerrilla groups. The guerrilla effort was low key, disorganized, and limited. Over time, insurgency efforts resulted in the formation of hardened Taliban forces which became better led, better trained, and better organized. The Taliban command and strategy restructured completely from top to bottom. Guistozzi calls the current insurgency the Neo-Taliban. The Neo-Taliban was created by some of the old guard of the original Taliban. These few leaders began to change tactics from conventional to unconventional warfare. They knew that to defeat a more technologically and numerically superior enemy, they had to exploit the weaknesses in the new government. They q...
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...y the time the counter insurgency strategic goal of reaching out to rural villages began, the locals had already felt abandoned by the government and had sided with the Neo-Taliban, which hampered the counter insurgency yet again.
Guistozzi argues that the Taliban insurgency would not have become anything more than a minor aggravation if it had not been able to exploit the weaknesses of the Afghan government. Without the strongholds, deep in south Afghanistan, the leadership of the insurgency could not have spread its influence. This influence eventually spread through rural villages that were utilized for recruitment, safe areas, and for the Taliban’s main strategy of destabilization of the new government. The slow realization of the Taliban strategy and the slower movement of action to deal with the insurgency is the key weakness of the counter-insurgency effort.
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