ANALYSIS: An emerging split between al Qaeda and the Taliban?

Al Qaeda bloggers’ sparring with Taliban could signal key differences

An Internet-fueled squabble between Taliban leaders and influential Al-Qaeda sympathizers over nonviolent tactics and foreign influence in Afghanistan hints at deep disagreements that could alter counterinsurgency efforts in that country.

Islamic extremists who regularly post messages to a pro-Al-Qaeda website in Egypt are accusing Afghanistan’s Taliban of straying from the path of global jihad. Prominent Taliban have responded by lashing back with criticism of their own.

The development suggests a rift is emerging between the Taliban leadership and religious extremists in the Arab world — including the Al-Qaeda network that the Taliban had hosted in Afghanistan while it planned the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

Such a break could affect Afghan government efforts to convince Taliban fighters to lay down their weapons and peacefully resolve their differences with officials, which could in turn influence whether non-Afghan Al-Qaeda fighters continue to be welcomed among the Taliban. [complete article]

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