Re: Tom Hardy as Bane XXX
Alfred: He's a mercenary. No other known names. Him and his men were behind a coup in West Africa that secured mining operations for our friend John Daggett.
Bruce Wayne: Now Daggett's brought them here.
I think it's pretty clear that Bane had his own operation going until Talia brought him in. The fact that he's implied to have men of his own makes me wonder if they were assimilated into the LOS along with him. His men were willing to die for him, and his right hand man Barsad was shown to clearly be enamored with him. Not to mention the LOS seemed decidedly less "ninja" and more like a band of mercenaries in this film. Bane was no puppet. If anything, his strong leadership skills are his greatest asset and Talia knew this.
Talia may have been behind the curtain, but she didn't have her hand up Bane's butt. There's a big difference there.