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From Gaza to Kabul – A look at Hamas and Afghan Taliban

It is safe to say that the year 2023 can be considered as the age of anarchy where multiple powers are on the rise with several rogue actors challenging the might of the current world order. Today we will take a look at both Hamas and Afghan Taliban, rockstars and poster boys for rogue outfits around the world and a menace to the current world order. Here’s a comparison between the two, Hamas is a Sunni Islamist militant organization operating in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The organization was established in the year 1987 during the First Palestinian uprising also known as “Intifada” as a response to aggressive military campaigns launched by the Israel Defense Forces against the people of Palestine. Whereas Afghan Taliban was initially an Islamic Fundamentalist and Pashtun nationalist militant organization which was the dominant force within Afghanistan in the late 1990’s. The organization was removed from power in Afghanistan by the US led invasion in 2001 but later on it established a government once again when US forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021.

When it comes to the main goals of the two groups, Hamas’s sole objective is to counter Israel’s aggressive military campaigns launched against the people of Palestine. Its prime objective is to liberate people of Palestine from Israeli occupation often using both political and military means. Afghan Taliban on the other hand is actively a government ruling a nation where their main objective is to establish an Islamic Emirate by enforcing its interpretation of Islamic Law and generate influence within South and Central Asia. Many nations view Hamas as a banned militant organization where nations like the United States and EU see Hamas as a hostile force. Many powers do support Hamas behind the scenes especially nations that see United States as the threat to their national interest. The Afghan Taliban which initially was a rebel outfit has over the years managed to establish an organized leadership structure, policies and extensive military power projection. Taliban is now slowly getting recognized as the legitimate ruling government of Afghanistan by nations such as Islamic Republic of Pakistan, People’s Republic of China and to some extent Russian Federation.

From tactical perspective rebel outfit like Hamas is known for its hostility against an organized military outfits such as the Israel Defense Force. The recent attack on the IDF launched by Hamas, where many see it as a more complex and multipronged assault launched by Hamas indicates that their tactics are evolving.  Similar to Hamas the Afghan Taliban were also known for their insurgent activities against a much stronger NATO military but ever since the withdrawal of US, the tactics of the Taliban have changed over the years. It is now leading a much more organized military with its own Special Operation Forces and Airforce. Taliban have also managed to acquire billions worth of western military equipment left by the US military. It’s important to understand that the classification and perception of these organizations can vary by country and political context. Additionally, both groups have evolved over the years, adapting to changing circumstances and regional dynamics.

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