Taliban extend sphere of influence, expert says
Afghanistan's Taliban militants are expanding their influence further into regions outside their traditional power base, the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) said, dpa reported.
"Their intake from non-Pashtun ethnic groups is growing, from where the Taliban hardly recruited in the past," AAN co-director Thomas Ruttig said.
That trend was particularly obvious in Kunduz province in north-eastern Afghanistan, where German troops are based, he said.
In a report released Tuesday, the AAN criticized a significant lack of understanding about the nature of the Taliban movement by the international community.
The Taliban were no longer a tribal Pashtun movement, but have turned into a political Islamist movement in which ethnicity no longer plays a role, which opened the Taliban to non-Pashtuns, Ruttig said.
An increasing number of Afghan Tajik and Uzbek commanders were joining the Taliban movement, the German analyst said.
In the north-east, historically not Taliban territory, the militants have gained a foothold. "In Kunduz [province] they have fundamentally changed the situation," Ruttig said.
The increased Taliban influence in the province made the use of non-Pashtun tribal militia against the militants insufficient.
"Tribes do not function any longer as closed units," he said.
There were also indications that the Taliban are trying to establish a presence in central Afghanistan.
"This would be a step toward being active again in the whole country," Ruttig said.