Friday, 3 August 2012

How the Taliban recruits - info for asylum officials

The European Asylum Support Office has published a report on Afghanistan aimed at providing information to support government officials who assess asylum applications from Afghan nationals.
Based on open source information, the report, Afghanistan: Taliban Strategies - Recruitment gives an overview of Taliban strategy for the recruitment of fighters. This is particularly important as fear of recruitment by the Taliban remains an important motive for Afghans seeking asylum in the EU.
Much of the historical section of the report is based on well-known sources - Thomas Ruttig, Mullah Zaeef, Antonio Giustozzi, etc - and is reasonably accurate, if a little jumpy.
There is some useful information on Taliban recruitment. For example, a Danish Immigration Service fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in February/March this year found that the Taliban is trying to recruit more educated people to help expand their communication and propaganda efforts and to operate more advanced weapons systems. They also want medical staff. 
Whereas in the past recruits were deployed away from their home areas, now they are deployed locally. According to most reports, coercion is seldom a factor today in recruitment of Taliban fighters. Not surprisingly in a country with high unemployment, money plays a factor, although not in the long term. Kinship and tribal connections remain important factors.
Many interesting little nuggets in this report which also contains a very detailed bibliography.

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