Afghanistan and Taliban 2.0 International Security and Geopolitical Implications
The return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan—following a swift advance and complete and sudden capitulation of the Ghani government in Kabul— is likely to carry with itself significant regional and international security risks. They include the possibility of the Taliban continuing to provide a degree of patronage, albeit covert, to old compatriots including known transnational terrorist organizations. These organizations include those who have demonstrated intent and capability to harm American and Western interests across the world, including in the Indian subcontinent. At the same time, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors—Iran, Pakistan, and several Central Asian countries—remain cautious about what Taliban 2.0 means for their own security, even though some of them continue to view the new regime in instrumental terms, within a larger geostrategic frame. The same holds for major regional powers such as China, India, and Russia.
In this edition of the DRI Monthly Report—the second and concluding part of a major Diplomat Risk Intelligence project on Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15, and based on exhaustive in-house research and interviews with 10 leading experts— we look at the Taliban’s relationships with key terrorist organizations and Afghanistan's neighbors. We also examine the Taliban’s convoluted relationships with major regional powers who could prove to be key in granting the new regime in Kabul a veneer of international legitimacy provided, of course, that their own interests are guarded by Taliban 2.0.