The Taliban are scarcely a spent force. Despite their serious losses of fighters, commanders and territory in southern Afghanistan, they continue to strike back with suicide bombings, IED explosions and attacks like the rocket-propelled grenade strike that took down an American helicopter this month, killing 38 U.S. commandos and Afghan special forces. With 63 coalition troops killed so far in August, it’s shaping up to be the year’s deadliest month yet for the Americans’ side.
But now the Taliban have begun fighting each other, with their ranks splintered by tribal rivalries and quarrels over funding and other limited resources. The internecine struggle is highlighted by an internal clash that took place in July. Before it was over, The Daily Beast has learned, one of the Taliban’s top five commanders had been beaten, kidnapped and held prisoner by members of another faction within the group.