Recently, the Taliban ordered an indefinite ban on university education for the country’s women, the ministry of higher education said in a letter issued to all government and private universities. Before this drastic decision last year, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs was dissolved. And the sinister Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has been re-established. This clearly illustrates that the Taliban will carry on with its medieval conservative interpretation of Islam; they are nothing more than an extremist group that has grabbed power. In addition to that, the Taliban is still nurturing global jihadi elements; they just outright lie that they don’t have any global ambitions. This was clearly illustrated when, in August last year, a U.S. drone killed al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a Kabul apartment reportedly owned by the Taliban’s senior leader and interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani. Afghanistan, after the Taliban’s takeover, has become a haven for global and regional terror outfits like Al Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, which seek the overthrow of the Pakistani state, and the anti-Beijing Turkistan Islamic Party (formerly the East Turkestan Islamic Movement), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Jamaat Ansarullah, which targets Tajikistan. The Islamic Emirate has literally turned the country into a sanctuary for global jihadist organizations. Taliban 2.0 has proven to be not much different from its previous version in terms of harboring an ultra-conservative ideology, policies, and practices. Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader, has regularly emphasized in his speeches that the struggle does not end in Afghanistan but goes beyond its borders to help all oppressed Muslims throughout the world. Taliban 2.0 has proven to be not much different from its previous version in terms of harboring an ultra-conservative ideology, policies, and practices. Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader, has regularly emphasized in his speeches that the struggle does not end in Afghanistan but goes beyond its borders to help all oppressed Muslims throughout the world. So, if the international community does not want Afghanistan to become a hub for terrorism, the best option is to support the anti-Taliban resistance groups, which will also be a cheaper option than maintaining any form of armed presence. Around 40 Afghan warlords and exiled politicians convened a meeting and formed the High Council of the National Resistance in Ankara in May 2022 to showcase that their respective anti-Taliban resistances could form a united front. The members include former Balkh province governor Atta Mohammad Noor, National Resistance Front (NRF) member Ahmad Wali Massoud, and Shia leader Mohammad Mohaqiq. The most important group leading the resistance is the National Resistance Front (NRF), which is the biggest anti-Taliban armed group. It’s believed to have several thousand fighters and is led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. Despite the limited resources, the NRF is gaining ground, mainly due to Taliban failings and their successful operations. This was showcased by the killing of Mullah Zakir Qayyum, an important Taliban commander, by the NRF in September last year. It has become self-evident in Afghanistan that once an armed resistance group gains a foothold in an area, it is hard to root it out. This is especially true if it can mobilize a degree of local support and operates in a geographically remote area. Since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamists, the NRF appears to have achieved just that in the provinces of Panjshir, Baghlan, and Parwan in the country’s northeast. This has been done despite significant odds and without much outside support. Ideologically, NRF embraces a moderate, central Asian Islamic tradition espousing reason and cultural propagation. It advocates a decentralized political system in Afghanistan based on elections as well as promoting equality regardless of gender, ethnicity, sectarian affiliation, or linguistic origin. The NRF has the potential to establish territorial enclaves if provided with money and armaments in its northeastern strongholds. With assistance from the United Nations, it could restore some public services as well. Most importantly, it could bring back education for girls and provide refuge for those at immediate risk of persecution, like Afghanistan’s Shia community. International humanitarian help in NRF-controlled areas might also offer a solution to the likely migration of millions of Afghans to neighbouring regions and Europe. With domestic and outside support, perhaps the NRF could play its part not only in bringing down the Taliban but in establishing a more moderate and representative government to take its place. In a recent interview with Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Mr Ali Nazari, the head of foreign relations of the National Resistance Front said that they are pursuing a resistance strategy divided into various phases. He said now they are in the first stage of gathering strength in the countryside while exhausting their enemies. The NRF hopes to move soon to the next stage of the insurgency by liberating select regions of the country, which would allow them to gain the resources for the final stage of fighting large-scale battles to overthrow Taliban rule. Manish Rai is a columnist for the Middle East and Afghanistan-Pakistan region and Editor of the geo-political news agency ViewsAround.