From Guerrilla to Maneuver Warfare: A Look at the Taliban’s Growing Combat Capability

Publication Date: 
June 2018

Modern War Institute

Civil Violence Project
Document Type: 
Articles and Op-Eds

The growing territorial reach exercised by the Taliban poses a notable threat to the stability of the Afghan government. The insurgents’ persistence and adaptability points to an underappreciated trend.  While guerrilla warfare has been consistently identified as a way for less powerful actors to counter much stronger fighting forces, treating the tactic as a “primitive’” weapon of the weak underestimates the complexity involved in fighting guerrilla wars, let alone transitioning into movement warfare. Guerrilla warfare requires reliable small units that can fire and maneuver to retain the tactical offensive against much stronger foes.