“The longer the war, the more resistance will last. You need to understand that the Taliban are not terrorists. They may use terrorist tactics, but they are a part of the Afghan people. You must acknowledge that your forces are now fighting with a section of the population, just as ours did.”
The coalition’s view, Butler pointed out, is that most Afghans are opposed to the Taliban and want rid of them. Only partly true, said Aushev. If the Taliban are so unpopular, who is feeding and harbouring them if not the locals? But there is an element of terror, Butler countered. “Why then aren’t they taking up arms against the Taliban to defend their own villages?” said Aushev.