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How the Taliban Mobilized Popular Support to Survive the United States War in Afghanistan

A Research Paper by Irfan Yar


After fighting for nearly two decades and investing an enormous amount of blood and treasure, why could the U.S. and its allies not defeat the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan? While most of the literature attributes the Taliban’s success to foreign support, according to this paper, foreign support was insufficient; the insurgency mobilized domestic support that played a critical role in its survival. More importantly, the research focuses on and explains how the Taliban mobilized popular support during the insurgency period. Based on primary and secondary data, it is found that the Taliban gained domestic support with the help of an overarching discourse that has four key themes: Islam, Pashtun identity, nationalism, and the incompetence of the Afghan government. The research explains that the Taliban’s discourse was effective because the descriptions that the Taliban used widely resonated in the lives of the Afghan people. To read full or download pdf Click here

This is an academic paper originally published by the Journal of European and American Intelligence Studies (JEAIS)


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