10 Lessons I Learned From The Taliban

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1- Unattachment
I used to be an interrogator with the objective of finding out more information about “terrorists” and their plans. We had to use “sanctioned” emotional techniques in order to get information.
Let’s just say none of the techniques we used would work on the Taliban. Why?
These dudes were so unattached to any of the shit that we here in the West are attached to. It may sound like they are cold, but they didn’t care about the dumb shit we do. Why?
Because they didn’t have any of the dumb shit we do. We couldn’t threaten his position in a corporation, or his job in general, which would then put his family at risk… because he didn’t have one.
We couldn’t threaten his social position, or his bank accounts, or his house, or anything really for that matter, because they didn’t have the same pain points that we do here in the West. Furthermore, due to their religion and culture,
they were just generally more unattached from possessions and more connected to their cause, Allah, and their fellow warriors.
2- Warrior Culture
Now, some would say, “you could threaten his position in the Taliban”. These dudes knew we would do that so they trained against that defense.
The fact is, captured Taliban were more scared of what the Taliban would do to them, if they ratted, than what we would do to them. This is where the warrior culture came in.
Taliban were raised to be warriors from childhood, and most Taliban had a lineage of fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers who were also part of the warrior class. Pashtuns were the tribe that most of these men belonged to, and that’s the Tribe they were warriors for.
The Taliban were in essence just Pashtuns fighting a new battle against us, the invaders.
Due to their warrior culture, these men were more concerned with their reputation within the tribe than within our model.
These men were also tough, and had been through far worse than anything we Americans have been through, so spending time away from their mud hut wasn't that big of a deal. The only thing they had to do was not rat so when they came home they were still welcomed as a brother.
3- Higher Purpose
As crazy as this sounds to us Westerners, these men were driven by the “divine”. That was their purpose. They were willing to go toe to toe with the baddest Military in the world because they believed they were ordained through God to protect their land.
They were also driven by the belief that their way of life, through Islam, was far better and they were willing to fight and die to defend it.
This just goes to show that the spirit of man is the greatest fighting force and tool in the Universe.
When the spirit is aligned with a higher purpose, there is no stopping the men who are on that mission. The greatest armies can fall to tribesmen whose beliefs are so pure in their purpose and calling. Compare this to the US’ purpose and you can understand the outcome.
4- Decentralize
The Taliban, or Afghans in general, are very decentralized people. They are scattered in different tribes and towns all throughout Afghanistan. They don’t have banking institutions, they don’t have malls, they don’t have neighborhoods.
Everything they do is decentralized to the core. When they want to connect and achieve something together, it is done through low level communication.
This low level communication is either done through walkie talkie, cell phone, or in person, and they are very good at being disciplined in this manner.
If they want to move money, they call people and tell x person to give it to y person, then they will have a courier bring more money to repay x person. They have a system of trust and word.
Because it is all people and communication oriented, a man must keep his word or be ousted from the system.
Because the system is established through reputation, word, and face to face interactions, it makes it very difficult for other people to enter into it and corrupt it, and due to the warrior culture, if someone does try to harm this system, they are killed and it’s justified
5- Know Your Enemy
When I got out to the more kinetic environments, I began to really witness and understand how the Taliban fought. As I would speak to my sources, or interrogate guys we busted, I began to learn more about what they knew about us.
Nothing is more demoralizing than knowing that your enemy knows all your tactics, timelines, movements, and objectives. These guys would tell me all those things about us.
“You can only hold me for 3 days before you have to move me or let me go, I can hold out longer”
“You Americans can’t beat me, you have to feed me 3x a day, and you have to let me pray 5x a day. I’m happy here”

“You found me digging a hole, but I didn’t have any weapons or anything, you have to let me go”
These men knew everything about our operations because we publicized everything. We had zero advantages over them, and they knew it.
6- Own Your Land
The Taliban were always watching us, every hour of every day they had someone watching our bases, our patrols, and all of our movements. When we weren’t patrolling, they were planting IEDs along the path that we patrolled earlier.
24/7/365 these men observed and moved around their terrain to get the advantage on us while we sat in our FOBs and rested, ate food, lifted weights, and cleaned our gear. They were always 3-5 steps ahead of us because of this.
The Taliban were so good at dominating the land, that in Sangin AFG we were practically isolated to our base.
The Taliban had practically surrounded our base with IEDs that every patrol we went on, either on foot or in a vehicle, we would hit one or two, either causing damage to our vehicles or killing/injuring our men. They owned the land.
7- “We have the Time”
I was in a Shura at one point, talking to key Taliban leaders in the area and key Afghan tribesmen and diplomats.We were attempting to find out what they needed, from a Western mindset, to see if we could reach a ceasefire, and help build infrastructure
Needless to say, it didn’t pan out well because they didn’t want our Western way of life and looked at us as invaders. They said they wanted us out! To which we said that wasn’t going to happen any time soon so we needed to work together.
Then this one Taliban leader spoke up and said…
“We have pushed the Soviets from these lands before, we are not worried. You see, you Americans may have the watches… but we have the time”
Right there I realized the game they were playing versus the game we were playing and we weren’t ready to play that game.
8- Use What You Got
Let’s be honest, when it came to equipment and technology, the Taliban were hundreds of years behind us, but why were they so effective? Why were they able to win? It’s because they used what they had to the fullest extent.
The L-shaped ambush spawned from a detonated IED was their main attack and we knew it, but we couldn’t do anything to stop it. The IED was their main means of attack, and it was massively effective.
Their IEDs were made from fertilizer put into palm jugs with little metal and buried properly to evade detectors. The pressure plates were hidden so well we couldn’t see them and the pressure plate itself was the perfect device for vehicles and foot soldiers.
Once an IED would go off, the Taliban would engage from well hidden locations in a specific formation at a max effective range. They would rarely engage openly.
This method may not seem effective to most, but what it was meant to do is keep us busy and isolated enough where our injured from the blasts would most likely die, and due to the pressure, would cause us to make mistakes. It was a war of attrition, not a direct battle.
9- Pick Your Battles
The Taliban used this same strategy to know when to fight openly and when not to. They mostly operated from the IED/L shape, but would also know when to fight and emasse to cause a bigger stir.
These guys knew the politics and played it well to their hand. They would only attack en masse when they needed to push something politically or there were optics.
This would then lead to the media having some presence, and from there, they would claim the US killed X amount of civilians. Even if it weren’t true, they would make a spectacle of it.
The Taliban also knew when they were outgunned and out classed and they wouldn’t engage. Furthermore, they would implement tactics which they knew we were not willing to engage in.
They were there to win at all costs, we weren’t, and they knew how to bring the fight to their terms.
10- Merit Based
This is the last thing I truly noticed about their organization which I was really impressed with.
Of course they had a rank structure and hierarchy like any other organization did, but what was different about them versus us is that they allowed for anyone who was a true leader to rise up.
There was one leader in Sangin who was my age at the time, 26 years old, and he was the best fighter amongst the Taliban in Sangin. Most of the Hajis were older with grey beards and such but not this guy.
He rose up quickly due to his merit and was highly esteemed by the community. He was also a tough SOB. The biggest factor about this guy was his ability to inspire and he motivated the Taliban to fight harder and keep going.
His reputation for not being killed or captured grew him an even bigger reputation. Younger men quickly became inspired to be like him and took up cause.
This led to more and more foot soldiers for the Taliban in the area and the promotion of other men into leadership roles. The more these men achieved, the more funding and prestige they would garner. It was one of the best strategies the Taliban implemented!
I hope you enjoyed this thread as I was able to learn a lot from my experience. If you are interested in being coached by me to overcome your personal fears to learn to strive in the direction you want to grow, send me a DM for a personal consult!

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