Despite international efforts to press for a more inclusive Taliban government in Afghanistan, that will not materialize, as it would not be in the interest of the Taliban’s survival or stability.
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The Taliban’s survival depends on how it handles and prevents armed opposition to its rule and manages the country’s economy and relations with external actors.
Short on options in Afghanistan, the United States is pressing the Taliban on several issues even as they cooperate on urgent priorities. The Taliban will not compromise on their core interests but could partner on narrowly defined mutual objectives.
Getting a clearer sense of the Taliban’s finances will help develop a more nuanced and balanced picture of the group.
The Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan will have significant consequences for Pakistan. Some of them might be dangerous.
China will focus on its own security while pushing narratives of American decline.
Pakistan can do more to push the Taliban to dial back violence in Afghanistan. Washington should pressure Islamabad to act on its leverage—and prepare to make big concessions for this ask.
Editor's Note: There is a popular misconception that the serious study of Islam is a step on the road toward radicalization and terrorism. Christine Fair, Jacob Goldstein, and Ali Hamza (all of whom I'm proud to say share my Georgetown University universe) come up with a heartening finding for those of us who believe knowledge is good: that those who know more about Islam are more resistant to extremist appeals.