New Delhi: The year 2001 saw the fall of the five-year-old Taliban regime and the beginning of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Umar by international forces. Five years on, both are still at large.
Most members of the Taliban escaped to villages in the frontier areas of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan and with the help of local tribals, the Taliban have regrouped.
They are no longer on the run. Their collaboration with al-Qaeda is robust again and the seminaries in Pakistan have once again become recruitment centres for Taliban.
With new bases spread from Zabul and Kunar in south Afghanistan to Paktia in the east, the Taliban are now active in 15 per cent area of the country.
There are many reasons for this resurgence. One is the bonds shared by the predominantly Pushtoo Taliban with the tribals in Eastern and Southern Afghanistan. Secondly, the failure of the new Afghan government to disarm the warlords is another important factor.
And thirdly, the presence of foreign troops continues to motivate youth to join this jehad.
The Taliban are waging a guerrilla war against the Karzai-led government. In 2005 alone, more than 1,600 people were killed, among them were soldiers, government officials, international contractors, social workers and people on the street.