As the Afghanistan government and Taliban resumed peace talks, several Afghans feel that the Taliban has failed to change its ways and that its fighters still believe in the rebel groups "medieval, totalitarian and dogmatic ideologies". According to an article titled ‘Taliban 2.0 - Have the Taliban really changed and learnt their lesson' by Tamim Asey, Afghan people are caught in between and they are experiencing two realities on the ground -- new Afghanistan that is supported by almost two decades of US and Western support and newly emboldened Taliban, with their sympathisers and regional supporters who believe that they have finally prevailed and are on the verge of military and political victory.
The US lawmakers believe that the Taliban has changed and have learnt the important lessons during the years of war. Asey said, "This American premise of a changed Taliban is based on a number of converging interests and developments. Chief among these are the military stalemate of the Afghan conflict and the United States' rush to exit Afghanistan."
He added, "This view is also influenced by the negotiating skills of the group's political office in Doha during the US-Taliban talks, their quick adaptation of tools like social media, drones, and other technological innovations to pursue their political and military ends, and finally, their media savvy spokespersons."
In the article, Asey said that the Americans believe that the Taliban is adapting to the changes and will be able to bring in the change in their ideology, political approach, and military strategy. The US believes that the changes will transform the Taliban from a military force into an acceptable and legitimate political movement able to play by the script of democracy, which will no longer present a threat to the US and the West.
Asey also noted that the US Special Envoy for Peace Zalmay Khalilzad had also said that the Taliban have changed and have acknowledged their past mistakes with women’s education, their relations with the world, and in harbouring of terror groups. However, according to the Afghans, the Americans' belief in "legitimising of a brutal force" to make the Taliban ready for governance will fail. According to Asey, the Afghan people believe that the Taliban is of the opinion that it has "finally prevailed over the US, NATO and its Western allies".
While concluding the article, Asey said, "Taliban has failed to spell out a specific vision for the future of Afghanistan, and are once again unable to present a program for governance, service delivery, or maintenance of rule of law."