The Taliban's War: The Other Side of the Afghan Conflict, 2001-2015

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: War Studies

Abstract

In a lightning war in 2001-02, the United States (with British support) invaded Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power. Since then, the West has spent over a trillion dollars and well over a decade battling the Taliban and trying to rebuild the Afghan state. Despite this, the insurgency remains undefeated. In explaining this state of affairs, analysts have mostly focused on deficiencies in the international and Afghan effort. Lack of progress has been blamed on the failings of Western leadership and strategy, on the hubris and incoherence of the international community, on Afghan government corruption, and on flaws in the tactical conduct of operations.

This project will examine the Afghanistan War from the Taliban perspective. Through oral history, we will reconstruct how the Taliban planned, fought and experienced the war. We will examine the evolution in Taliban strategy, structures and tactics since 2001. We will explore how the Taliban re-established itself in the south and the east from 2004 on, and steadily expanded its presence in the north and the west of the country. Finally, we will assess the impact of the withdrawal of international combat forces on the Taliban military campaign. Overall, we will assess Taliban adaptability in the conflict and the roots of Taliban resilience.

The picture is an immensely complex one, with great local variation in the politics, pressures and personalities driving the conflict on the ground, and a dynamic interactions between various factions within the Taliban leadership and between the warring parties, international, Afghan and insurgent. The research team brings together three researchers with extensive in-country fieldwork experience and extensive expertise on Afghan and Western perspectives of the war. The project methodology has been tested in an ESRC-funded pilot study that reconstructed the Taliban campaign in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan from 2004-2012, using interviews with 53 Taliban commanders and 27 local elders.

This project will expand that study to eight more provinces, covering all the regions of Afghanistan. Provinces have been selected for their importance to the Taliban, and to enable assessment of variation in terms of the impact of local dynamics, clerical support, geographical location, and other armed groups on the Taliban campaign. Using experienced Afghan field researchers, this project will conduct 275 interviews; 195 with Taliban commanders and cadres and 80 with local elders. The project also draws on the research team's own extensive research on the international military campaign and on Taliban shadow government.

An innovative feature of this project is that in addition to studying the closing stages of the current conflict, it will also seek to positively shape the conflict endgame through engagement with senior Taliban leaders. This will build on two sets of ESRC funded talks with senior Taliban leaders; in July 2012 to explore Taliban perspectives on reconciliation and communicate these perspectives to Western policymakers, and in March 2013 to scope out the possibilities for ceasefires.

The project will result in four high-quality publications; a book, two scholarly papers in leading academic journals, and an essay in the leading US policy journal. Interim project findings will inform Western policy from mid 2014 onwards; this is a critical year with the withdrawal of Western forces and the Afghan Presidential elections opening up the potential for progress in peace talks but equally the potential for an intensification in the conflict. Final project findings will also inform the learning of lessons from this war by Western militaries for doctrine and capability development and military education, and by wider policy communities for future Western military interventions.

Planned Impact

ISAF Command
2014 will be an immensely challenging year for ISAF. The force drawdown is ever-reducing ISAF's ability to see and influence events on the ground. In this context, there will be increasing need to draw on all sources of information concerning the insurgent campaign. Our research will produce original insights into the disposition of the Taliban leadership and field commanders to negotiate versus intensify the military campaign. Farrell's previous research has been extensively briefed to ISAF commanders and so we anticipate that this project will likewise prove useful for ISAF Command.

British and US Policymakers
By December 2014, all Western combat forces will have withdrawn from Afghanistan. Thus, Western policymakers perceive a closing window of opportunity to influence the conflict endgame. Previous research by Farrell and Semple on Taliban perspectives on reconciliation has been briefed to British and US policymakers at the most senior level - with written briefs to Director CIA, Commander of ISAF, Chief of the UK General Staff, and briefs in person to senior officials in the White House, Cabinet Office and ISAF HQ. We anticipate that the follow-on series of meetings with Taliban leaders and commanders proposed in this project will likewise prove useful for senior British and US officials.

Afghan peacemakers
This project aims to support those Afghans on both sides - Taliban and government - that are seeking a negotiated end to the conflict. It will do this through two confidential meetings with Afghan stakeholders. One meeting with senior Taliban figures will explore views within the Taliban leadership on the prospects for peaceful reconciliation, in the context of the 2014 Presidential elections and withdrawal of Western combat forces. The other meeting involving senior Taliban field commanders and pro-government Afghan stakeholders, will seek to develop understandings within the Taliban, Afghan government and Western policy communities of the various opportunities to build on local de facto ceasefires towards formal ceasefire agreements and possibly peace talks. These meetings with Taliban build on similar meetings held in 2012 and 2013, funded by the ESRC, the findings of which attracted very wide policy and public interest.

British and US Militaries
Our project findings and outputs will be received by the British Army's Land Warfare Centre (LWC) and the US Army's Center for Military History (CMH). LWC will shortly begin a large lessons learned exercise to draw out tactical lessons from Afghanistan for doctrine and capability development. LWC also prepares British commanders and units for operational deployment. The paper published from our pilot study (Farrell and Giustozzi 2013) has been incorporated in the pre-deployment study pack for British units going to Afghanistan. CMH is a repository of key resources that are drawn on by the Combat Studies Institute in producing the campaign histories, the Center for Army Lessons Learned, and the Army War College and Command and General Staff College in their education of military officers. CMH has already widely disseminated our pilot study (Farrell and Giustozzi) to CSI, CALL, AWC and CGSC.

UK Parliament and wider policy communities
In the coming years, there will be various studies by policy communities to draw out broader lessons for future interventions. Widely expected is a parliamenary inquiry into British involvement in the conflict. Farrell has testified to three previous Commons enquiries on Afghanistan, and we would expect that our project would similarly inform other future parliamentary inquiries.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/L008041/1 15/07/2014 11/08/2016 £328,096
ES/L008041/2 Transfer ES/L008041/1 12/08/2016 11/01/2017 £42,552
 
Description Our project seeks to produce a history of the war in Afghanistan from the Taliban perspective, based on a large number of original interviews with Afghans. We trialed our methods and Afghan research team in a pilot study of Helmand province. This project aimed to conduct interviews with 140 Taliban commanders, 55 Taliban cadres, and 80 non-Taliban Afghans in eight other provinces, as well as Kabul, Pakistan, and Dubai. Our Afghan researchers conducted multiple interviews in all of these locations. The final tally of interviews was: Taliban commanders 98; Taliban cadres 90; non-Taliban Afghans 70; others (women, security officials) 10. Included in this were a number of high value interviews with very senior Taliban leaders (e.g., one member of the Quetta Shura, three former deputy ministers, two former provincial governors, and a former northern front commander).
The project aims to chart the evolution of the Taliban from the collapse of the Emirate in late 2001, following the US invasion, up to the first fighting session in 2015 following the end of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in December 2014. We seek to understand how the Taliban have adapted their command structure and fighting techniques, and evolved their insurgent governance, under military pressure from ISAF and Afghan security forces. Our research has resulted in four significant findings, that offer a wholly new picture of the Taliban at war from 2001 to 2015.

1. The fragmentation of the Taliban - It was commonly recognized that from 2003 onwards, the Taliban re-organised the Emirate as an insurgent government, and from 2006 onwards, the Quetta Shura (the central Taliban ruling body) undertook a number of measuers to improve command and control over over Taliban fronts (networks of fighting groups) in Afghanistan. In July 2015, it was revealed that the Emir of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, had been dead for two years, and this triggered a succession struggle, leading to the appointment of Omar's deputy, Akhtar Mohammed Mansour, who was himself killed in a US drone strike a year later, leading to the appointment of the current Emir, Maulawi Haibatullah Akhundzada. This period from mid 2015 on, is commonly recognized as one where the Taliban begins to fragment.

Our research reveals that the process of internal fragmentation of the Taliban started far earlier, and no later than 2010. The arrest of the then deputy to Omar, Abdul Ghani Baradar, by Pakistan authorities in February 2010 was the unleashing factor. Our research shows how, in the years that follow, the Peshawar Shura asserts its autonomy from the Quetta Shura, and how it gains more influence across the whole of Afghanistan by channeling resources to Taliban fronts. The open leadership struggle in results in the emergence of the Rasool Shura in November 2015, as an alternative leadership shura challenging the Quetta Shura. This group losses much influence following the subsequent arrest of its leader, Muhammed Rasool, by Pakistan authorities. Our research highlights instead the growing influence of the Mashhad Office with Iranian support, and the Mansour network based in Helmand.

2. External support for the Taliban - Our research reveals the extend of continued Pakistan support for the Taliban throughout the war, including military supplies and training. We also show how the Taliban enjoyed more and wider external support than commonly assumed, beyond the usually accepted Pakistani involvement; China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran were all involved to various degrees. The financial resources of the Taliban as a whole probably exceeded $1 billion a year at its peak. This allowed for the massive expansion of the Taliban's rank and file, but also made the Taliban dependent on external patrons.

3. Taliban military organization - Our earlier published work showed how the Taliban leadership sought to professionalise their fighting groups, with support from Pakistan, and that the Peshawar Shura was driving this effort from 2009 onwards. The project research reveals the evolution of the Taliban's military organisation to be far more contentious than previously realised, with attempts to 'modernise' and centralise being widely resisted by Taliban fronts, often successfully. Moreover, the introduction of some new tactics - especially the use of suicide bombers - has been resisted by many Taliban commanders, who consider such tactics to be unIslamic. The further militarisation of the movement during the war has created deep friction between military leaders and political leaders, adding another layer of fragmentation.

4. The prospects for reconciliation - Since 2010, the United States and other western states have been attempting to engage in direct talks with the senior leadership of the Taliban, to facilitate reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government. US talks with the Taliban office in Doha collapsed in 2013. The new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, attempted to work with Pakistan to re-start peace talks, resulting in talks between Taliban and Afghan government officials in China and Pakistan in 2015. However, these talks have also stalled, and relations between Ghani and the Pakistan government have broken down. The dominant view among western analysts is that the Taliban have no incentive to engage in peace talks because they are enjoying growing success on the battlefield, following the withdrawal of western combat forces in 2014. Our research reveals the extent of disenchantment within the Taliban towards the war, especially as with relatively few western forces left in Afghanistan, it has turned into a war pitting Afghan against Afghan. Moreover, Taliban gains on the battlefield have come at great cost in Afghan lives, and the Taliban recognize that even if they capture major urban centres (such as the city of Kunduz, as they did in 2015 and 2016), they are unable to hold such areas for long. This leads many in the Taliban to question the political utility of such major operations. Added to this is widespread disillusionment within the Taliban towards the new Emir, Haibatullah, who is seen as weak and ineffective, and towards a leadership that is seen as divided and largely out for self-gain. Thus, few Taliban have confidence that their leaders have a plan to end the war on successful terms. In this context, our research reveals scope to develop an alternative peace-process, one that circumvents the top leadership of the Taliban that is currently opposed to peace, and instead involves the mid-level leadership of the Taliban.
Exploitation Route Our research provides key insights for policymakers and scholars on (1) the trajectory of the armed conflict in Afghanistan, and potential for conflict termination and (2) insurgency and counter-insurgency - in particular, the sources of insurgent resilience and how insurgencies adapt.
Sectors Security and Diplomacy

 
Description In our original ESRC application, we outlined three pathways to impact for this project. 1. Promote policy understanding - among Western policymakers of the disposition of the Taliban, both to undertake talks aimed at concluding the conflict, and to continue the fighting. 2. Develop possibilities for conflict termination - in particular, up-bottom initiatives for peace-building. 3. Lessons learned from the Afghanistan war - to support military and policy communities in drawing out broader lessons for future interventions. To date, the project team (Farrell, Guistozzi, and Semple) have conducted 26 engagement activities, which have enabled project research to achieve impact along all three pathways outlined above. Promote policy understanding - As listed in our Researchfish submission, from 2015-17, we gave multiple confidential briefings on our project research to: • UK Cabinet Office and Foreign Office officials • US National Security Council, State Department, and Defense Department officials • British and other European ambassadors to Afghanistan • Other officials (e.g., Chair of UK Commons Defence Committee). We know from feedback that our research has directly shaped the thinking of Afghan analysts and policy officials in the US and UK National Security Councils, in particular with regard to the evolving nature of Taliban leadership, the fighting will and capabilities of the Taliban, and the potentialities for peace talks. Develop possibilities for conflict termination - This element of the project involves a confidential Track II process that is ongoing. If successful, it could have a material impact on conflict-reduction. We are unable to discuss it in this report but can provide a confidential brief in person to senior ESRC officials. Lessons learned from the Afghanistan war - We have briefed our research to formal and informal fora for learning lessons from the war. In 2015, Farrell, Guistozzi and Semple provided expert briefs in person to the Norwegian Official Commission of Inquiry on Afghanistan, and Farrell and Semple also presented to the UK Stabilisation Unit's seminar series on lessons learned from Afghanistan. In 2016, Farrell presented project research at an official lessons learned conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, and to the contemporary conflicts team in the UK Imperial War Museum (IWM); Farrell acted as advisor to a major IWM exhibit on the Afghanistan war. In all these fora, our briefings provided insight into the evolution of the Taliban insurgency, the sources of Taliban resilience, and how the Taliban adapted processes and tactics in response to the ISAF campaign.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Creative Economy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description Briefing for Afghan teams of FCO, US National Security Council, State Department, October 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Semple provided expert briefing on project research for Afghan teams of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, US National Security Council, State Department/Special Representative for Afghanistan & Pakistan, at FCO, London, October 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Briefing for Amnesty International South Asia team, November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Semple provided expert briefing on project research for Amnesty International South Asia team, London, 24 November 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Briefing for Chair of House of Commons Defence Committee, February 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell provided confidential expert briefing for Julian Lewis, Chair of House of Commons Defence Committee, 11 February 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing for Swedish Ambassador to Afghanistan, June 2015. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Giustozzi provided confidential expert briefing on project research for the new Swedish Ambassador to Afghanistan, Anders Sjöberg, 15 June 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Briefing for UK Ambassador to Afghanistan, July 2015. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Giustozzi provided confidential expert briefing on project research to UK Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karen Pierce, 14 July 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Briefing for new UK Ambassador to Afghanistan, January 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell provided confidential expert briefing on project research for Dominic Jeremy, new UK Ambassador to Afghanistan, 11 January 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing for new UK Ambassador to the United States, December 2015. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell provided confidential expert briefing covering project research for Sir Kim Darroch, new HM Ambassador to the United States, London, 16 December 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Briefing for the Canadian Ambassador in Kabul, January 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Giustozzi provided expert briefing on project research for the Canadian Ambassador in Kabul, Deborah Lyons, 17 January 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing to Cabinet Office and Foreign Office officials, London, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell provided a confidential briefing in the Cabinet Office to senior officials in the UK National Security Council and to Foreign and Commonwealth Office Afghanistan team on 14 November 2016, on the findings from our week of interviews with senior Taliban in mid November 2016. The briefing provided a new picture of the state of the Taliban insurgency, in particular the failure of the new Taliban leadership and a growing view within Taliban ranks favouring a end of the conflict.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing to Office of the Special Representative of Afghanistan and Pakistan, US Department of State, Washington, DC, 22 February 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell provided confidential briefing on our November interviews with Taliban to officials in the Office the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) in the US Department of State on 22 February 2017. The research reveals the Taliban to be in disarray, notwithstanding gains on the battlefield over the past two years, and suggests that there are a sizeable body of dissenting leaders with the Taliban who wish to see a political solution to ending the conflict. Our research also outlined what such a peace process might look like. The new Trump administration had just begun a review of the strategy for Afghanistan, and SRAP feeds into this review as the office formally charged with leading on peace talks with the Taliban. From Farrell's discussions with officials, we have good reason to believe that our research will influence this review.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Briefing to Office of the US Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC, February 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell provided confidential briefing on our November interviews with Taliban to the Afghanistan team (including the Principal Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Country Director for Afghanistan) in the Office of the US Secretary of Defence on 21 February 2017. Also in the audience were members of U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Joint Staff. The research reveals the Taliban to be in disarray, notwithstanding gains on the battlefield over the past two years, and suggests that there are a sizeable body of dissenting leaders with the Taliban who wish to see a political solution to ending the conflict. Our research also outlined what such a peace process might look like. The new Trump administration had just begun a review of the strategy for Afghanistan and from Farrell's discussions with officials, we have good reason to believe that our research will influence this review.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Briefing to US National Security Council officials, Washington DC, December 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Semple gave confidential briefing to or US National Security Council Afghanistan team, in Executive Office of the President Building, on 8 December 2016, on the findings from our week of interviews with senior Taliban in mid November 2016. The briefing provided a new picture of the state of the Taliban insurgency, in particular the failure of the new Taliban leadership and a growing view within Taliban ranks favouring a end of the conflict.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing to US National Security Council officials, Washington DC, March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Semple confidential expert briefing on project research for US National Security Council Afghanistan team, in Executive Office of the President Building, Washington DC, 11 March 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing to acting Afghanistan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell gave confidential briefing to Mr Ameri Liaquet, the acting Afghan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, on 23 November 2016 on the findings from our week of interviews with senior Taliban in mid November 2016. The briefing provided a new picture of the state of the Taliban insurgency, in particular the failure of the new Taliban leadership and a growing view within Taliban ranks favouring a end of the conflict.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing to the Afghan Ambassador to the United States, December 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Semple gave confidential briefing in Washington DC to Mr Mohib Hamdullah, the Afghan Ambassador to the United States, on 1 December 2016, on the findings from our week of interviews with senior Taliban in mid November 2016. The briefing provided a new picture of the state of the Taliban insurgency, in particular the failure of the new Taliban leadership and a growing view within Taliban ranks favouring a end of the conflict.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Briefing to the European Ambassadors in Kabul, March 2015. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Giustozzi provided expert briefing on project research to the European Ambassadors in Kabul, 29 March 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Expert presentation to UK Stabilisation Unit in UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell and Semple presented the preliminary findings of project research to the UK Stabilisation Unit at a specially convened seminar at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 24 November 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Oral testimony to official inquiry, April 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Entire project team (Farrell, Giustozzi, and Semple) were invited to provide oral testimony to Norwegian Commission of Inquiry into Norway's Involvement in Afghanistan, 2001-2014, Royal Norwegian Embassy, London, 27-28 April 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Panel presentation at Chatham House, November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Semple contribution to panel at conference on "Combating Radicalization: International Security Policy from the Bottom Up", Chatham House, 10 November 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at Annual German Afghanistan Conference, Dortmund/Dusseldorf 28 November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Semple presentation on "Afghanistan reconciliation revisited", Annual German Afghanistan Conference, Dortmund/Dusseldorf 28 November 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at Transatlantic Opinion Leaders - Afghanistan (TOLA) Workshop, NATO Headquarters, Brussels, 27-28 April 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell presented project research an invitation-only workshop on lessons learned from the TOLA programme, at North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels. In attendance in the audience were senior staff working on Afghanistan and Pakistan from the NATO Secretariat and from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation at US Institute for Peace, Washington DC, March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Semple presentation on "Peace talks in Afghanistan, an update" at US Institute for Peace, Washington DC, March 11 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC, February 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Farrell presented our RUSI paper to the US Institute of Peace on 22 February 2017. The paper reports publicly on findings from our interviews with Taliban leaders in November 2016. It reveals the Taliban to be in disarray, notwithstanding gains on the battlefield over the past two years, and suggests that there are a sizeable body of dissenting leaders with the Taliban who wish to see a political solution to ending the conflict. Our research also outlined what such a peace process might look like. The audience included a number of national security officials (including the Director for Afghanistan on the US National Security Council staff) and intelligence officials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation to Imperial War Museum staff, London, 8 June 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Farrell made presentation on project research to the Contemporary Conflicts team at the Imperial War Museum, London; presentation will inform forthcoming IWM exhibit on the Afghanistan War to be curated by Contemporary Conflicts team. Following the presentation, PI was asked to act as consultant for this exhibit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at US Institute of Peace, Washington DC, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Semple gave a public talk to US Institute of Peace on 1 December 2016, on on the findings from our week of interviews with senior Taliban in mid November 2016. The briefing provided a new picture of the state of the Taliban insurgency, in particular the failure of the new Taliban leadership and a growing view within Taliban ranks favouring a end of the conflict.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at the Royal United Services Institute, London, January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation by Farrell and Semple at the Royal United Services Institute, reporting on interviews with senior Taliban in late 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://rusi.org/publication/briefing-papers/ready-peace-afghan-taliban-after-decade-war