Most journalists do not understand how the Taliban come mainly from the Pushtu.
The Pushtu populations is primarily in central and eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan, which includes Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan. The Pashtuns are typically characterized by their usage of the Pashto language and practice of Pashtunwali, a traditional set of Islamic ethics guiding individual and communal conduct.
According to Wikipedia, the Pashtuns are the world’s largest (patriarchal) lineage ethnic group. According to Ethnologue, the total population of the group is estimated to be around 50 million but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979. Estimates of the number of Pushtu tribes and clans range to about 350.
The Taliban have been mostly Pashtun since the fight against Soviet occupation and now fight the U.S. occupation.
The frayed alliance between Pakistan and the U.S. hurts U.S. plans to draw down troops in Afghanistan and leave behind a stable country. WDC needs better cooperation from Pakistan in shutting down Taliban havens on both sides of the border, which fuel the conflict. Without Pakistan’s cooperation, a U.S. troop withdrawal could lead Afghanistan into a renewed civil war.
Unfortunately, the Pakistani military and ISI see the situation very differently. Mostly they attribute their militant problem to U.S. errors in Afghanistan. They are unwilling to shut down havens for the Afghan or Pakistan Taliban (whom they trained in the 1990s to fight the Soviets) because they want a friendly, and anti-Indian, regime to take over in Kabul after the U.S. exit. They believe the Taliban may provide their best option.
Until the Pashtuns are ready to accept a divided allegiance to Afghans and Pakistan– there will be no peace in Afghanistan.