Is the Taliban Fading Away?

U.S., Afghan and even some former Taliban officials say the insurgency increasingly looks like a spent force

Remember the terrifying Taliban? A year ago, fighters loyal to the former Afghan regime were so active that half the country was off limits to foreign aid workers. But the Afghanistan that First Lady Laura Bush visited for the first time last week is a much different place. U.S., Afghan and even some former Taliban officials say the insurgency increasingly looks like a spent force. Taliban fighters used to slip into Afghanistan from their Pakistani hideouts in groups of 60 to 100; today each group numbers five or fewer. Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his 10 loyal commanders still direct military...

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