Key findings

  • Since taking control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban have attempted to monitor and control small. arms at the national level. They have not, however, developed any major new policies on these areas. Instead, the Taliban have continued to use the existing policies and procedures implemented under the previous Government of the Republic of Afghanistan, making modifications as needed.
  • The Taliban’s capacity to control and manage stockpiles has increased over time, with weapons in the major bases largely kept secure. Personal connections, however, trump rules and procedures: influential commanders can often obtain weapons without following formal approval procedures.
  • An additional challenge for the Taliban is that many commanders refuse to register weapons they possessed before August 2021. Commanders and fighters generally view such weapons as personal property, rather than that of the Taliban or the state.
  • Power dynamics within the Taliban at the subnational level shape the management of weapons, which varies considerably from province to province. While the Taliban can act in a unified manner in certain circumstances, its central authorities tend to leave much of the day-to-day running of affairs to the local officials—both for political reasons and due to capacity issues.