Badal: A Culture of Revenge – The Impact of Collateral Damage on the Taliban Insurgency

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The ever-useful Combined Arms Research Library (CARL) has published a report – written by Raja G. Hussain of the US Naval Postgraduate School – that examines the role played by collateral damage in exacerbating the Afghan insurgency.

Abstract:

This thesis examines the impact of collateral damage on the Taliban insurgency. It reveals the relationship between death of innocent civilians and the tribal concept of badal (revenge). Research also analyzes Taliban propaganda leaflets to illustrate the compromise of popular support caused by collateral damage stemming from the Coalition’s tactics.

Research probes into the historical Anglo-Afghan wars and the 1979 Soviet invasion to draw parallels to the current insurgency. In doing so, it highlights the rising role of religion and FATA, Pakistan. FATA is analyzed to show the effects of intrusions by outside actors as well as historical and recent events that have shaped the populace and structure of these tribal regions.

Lastly, the research concludes by offering non-kinetic solutions to curbing the Taliban insurgency. The solutions focus on FATA and offer socio-economic and political remedies to hinder with the Taliban recruitment efforts and cross-border incursions. Thesis recognizes FATA and reduction in collateral damage as pivotal factors to fostering stability in the region.

Access the report here.

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