Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

How exile changed the Taliban

< 1 min

Financial Times, 25 August 2021

AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here on the controversial issue whether the Taleban have changed or not:

Thomas Ruttig, a founder of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network, said the Taliban had always been a “learning organisation” well aware of its past failures. Some former officials of the Taliban’s 1990s government admit their time in power was disastrous. 

The determination of then-leader Mullah Omar to continue to host al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan split the movement and guaranteed global isolation. The imposition of harsh rules also made the Taliban unpopular, including among Afghans who had at first welcomed them. “They understand now that they cannot rule the entire country with repression,” said Ruttig. “But that doesn’t mean they are the Liberal party of the UK.” A movement that once banned television has come to master social media, video production and websites in multiple languages. It still disapproves of both television and smartphones, Ruttig said. But the technologies are now too pervasive and too useful not to use.