From the American Interest: There is a hard core of committed Islamist ideologues centered on Mullah Omar and based in Quetta, but much of the Taliban’s actual combat strength consists of an array of warlords and other factions who often side with the Taliban for reasons of profit, prestige or convenience. Depending on the circumstances, they may not follow orders from the leadership in Quetta. We often lament the challenges to unity of effort flowing from a divided NATO command structure, but the Taliban face difficulties on this score at least as severe as ours and potentially much worse. No NATO member would ever switch sides and fight for the Taliban, but one or more component factions of the Taliban might well leave the alliance for the government side. This makes it difficult for the Taliban to mount large-scale, coordinated offensives of the kind needed to conquer a defended city, for example. (photo: Reuters)