“Look at our own situation here in the U.S. and look at Democrats and Republicans—each one has its own factions,” Jeff Bardin, a former Air Force Arabic linguist and chief intelligence officer of Treadstone 71, a cyber intelligence company, told Newsweek. “The Taliban are kind of the same way.”
Within the Taliban, Bardin explained there are factions that hold different viewpoints on what the new government should look like, ranging from moderate to extreme in their interpretation of Sharia Law, the code of Islamic rule that is derived from the Quran. Right now, public messaging has come from the Taliban’s moderate wing. However, Bardin said, the extreme factions are currently heading to Kabul from their base in the southern city of Kandahar.
Bardin believes some strain could emerge within the group as the factions sit down to discuss the future of the country. Already, reports have indicated a potential split amongst these factions. The Times of India, an Indian English-language newspaper, shared a video allegedly showing the public execution of four Afghan soldiers at the hands of the Taliban members in a Kandahar sports stadium. While Newsweek could not verify the context behind this video, its circulation furthers the uncertainty surrounding how the new government may act.