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Inside View of Taliban Underscores Afghanistan’s Complexity

As the conflict in Afghanistan heats up, how much is truly known about the Taliban and what are the prospects of negotiating with them? GlobalPost's Charles Sennott offers insight.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now a conversation about the Taliban, the insurgent forces, and — the insurgent forces the U.S. and coalition forces are fighting in Afghanistan. Jeffrey Brown has our story.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    As the war in Afghanistan heats up, how much is really known about the Taliban, how they've been able to take control of territory, and what are the prospects of negotiating with them?

    For that, we turn to Charles Sennott, the executive editorial editor of GlobalPost, a new Web-based international news organization. He's covered the Taliban for over 15 years and recently returned from a reporting trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    And welcome to you.

  • CHARLES SENNOTT, GlobalPost:

    Thank you.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Who are the Taliban? This question that we ought to know, we ought to ask. What is it that we need to know?

  • CHARLES SENNOTT:

    I think what we need to know is the Taliban are stronger than we've realized. And I think the other thing we need to know is the Taliban are at least two things.

    They're actually many things, but they're the Pakistani Taliban, which has really become a unique movement that was part of the Taliban that fractured on the Pakistani side and took hold in the Pashtun belt on the Pakistan side.

    And then there is the Taliban that we know that held power in 2001 when the U.S. came in after the September 11th attacks…

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In Afghanistan.

  • CHARLES SENNOTT:

    … and toppled that government in Afghanistan. So the Taliban in Afghanistan is still very close ideologically, theologically, and militarily to that original Afghan Taliban that was in power in Kabul. So we really have two different Talibans with several different permutations.

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