August 8, 2012
Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 869

Anti-Taliban Uprisings Gaining Strength In Southeastern Afghanistan

By: Tufail Ahmad*


Anti-Taliban fighters in Afghanistan

Introduction

Over the summer of 2012, southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan have witnessed an increase in and intensification of small-scale anti-Taliban uprisings. The uprisings began in the southern province of Ghazni and expanded into areas of the southern and eastern provinces of Paktia and Laghman. Similar uprisings have also been reported in the eastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. In addition to these armed uprisings, anti-Taliban youth protests have also been staged in several other provinces, e.g. Badakhshan, Faryab and Ghor.

These uprisings differ from those staged by anti-Taliban militias, formed in recent years by the U.S. and Afghan governments. Such government-backed militias have failed to register gains against the Taliban, due to corruption and militant infiltration of the ranks of the Afghan security forces. The fresh waves of anti-Taliban uprisings appear to have begun without the Afghan government's support, though in some areas, local police are siding with the uprisings.

While the uprisings appear to be the result of popular anger against the Taliban's decision to close schools and hospitals, it is also possible that some local elders – who have joined the uprisings – are seeking to assert their traditional authority, in view of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan slated for 2014. Some former Afghan leaders, who fought against the Soviets in the 1980s and are now sensing a new opportunity to claim a stake in power, might also be behind these uprisings.

Ghazni Province – The Center Of Anti-Taliban Uprisings

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