The Taliban in Afghanistan has many things in common with the Kurds in the region. Countries (to include the US) have “used” them to check Iran’s influence over Iran. Like the Kurds, the relationship hasn’t always worked out well.
After the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan the country was left in social and economic distress. 1.5 million dead, millions of refugees and a huge political vacuum. Afghanistan’s warlords attempted to fill the gap.
The Taliban, made up of orphans who never knew Afghanistan, but schooled in Pakistan filled the gap. They brought law and order to a country that sorely needed it.
Pakistan supported them, as did the US Clinton administration. This was a switch for us, as previously our support for the mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Union created al-Qaeda.
Although we Americans aren’t famous for identifying distinctions between different cultures, there are more than one group of the Taliban, with the Afghanistan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban being two of the more notorious different groups.
The important lesson for us is that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are not the same groups. The Afghanistan Taliban are an extreme religious group that is very internally focused on Afghanistan.
We share a common enemy with the Taliban in al-Qaeda. Perhaps we can agree to leave them alone. Read more here.