The Taliban has taken Afghanistan – but can it keep control?

A cross-country network of 'eyes' helped the group bring down the Afghan government – but insurgents like Isis-K are a different prospect, writes Borzou Daragahi

Sunday 29 August 2021 12:16
<p>Taliban fighters stand guard outside Kabul airport</p>

Taliban fighters stand guard outside Kabul airport

To anyone else, he was a nondescript middle-aged Afghan man driving a 20-year-old Toyota Corolla along the highway from Baghlan to Mazar-i-Sharif.

But to the Taliban scouts and operatives watching the road that day in 2019, he was special. They somehow knew he was a senior officer of the Afghan National Directorate of Security—the Kabul government’s intelligence branch.

The rocket-propelled grenade that struck him near Pol-e-Khomri seemed like it came out of nowhere. It was followed by a spray of gunfire. Minutes later, the man’s remains were discovered by a convoy of Afghan army recruits that the Taliban didn’t bother with, according to an account provided by the dead man’s son, who is now in exile in Turkey.

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