Muhami al-Dawla (“Defender of the State”) has written an essay on Ekhlaas titled, “The Connection between the State of Islam and the Taliban is the Strategy of the ‘Chameleon.'” His argument is that the Taliban’s recent successful surge in Afghanistan is the result of using “chameleon cells,” which are small, well-organized, armed bands that 1) blend into the population, 2) do not take orders from a commander, and 3) have penetrated the state security apparatus.
Muhami claims that the Taliban borrowed the strategy from the Islamic State of Iraq, which used it after the tribal Awakenings. The chameleon groups in Iraq are able to carry out attacks on Awakening leaders because of their infiltration of the Awakening security forces. Moreover, their presence in these forces means that they can undertake attacks for which the Awakening leaders get blamed.
Muhami argues that the Taliban has adopted this strategy because it is working so well in Iraq (is it?). The group’s successful use of the strategy in Afghanistan is linked to its increased proficiency at gathering intelligence.