The Taliban: A History Of Terror

If a man fears death, he will accept fever. - Afghan Proverb

Taliban fighters during the United States invasion in 2001
Mohammed Omar Leader of the Taliban
Mohammed Omar Leader of the Taliban

The Taliban, a group recently associated with terrorism and Islamic extremist violence, has no official beginnings. Some think they were formed by outside trade allies to secure central asian trade routes while others believe that they are a religious and moral group trying to free their country from terror, lawlessness, and corruption and re-uniting the Afghan people. The truth, however, is found somewhere in between. The Soviets, in the 1970's and '80's, threatened to take over Afghanistan. Countries like Pakistan and the U.S. were against this and supported a resistance. They supplied arms to various loosely-aligned opposition groups known as the Mujahideen. The Mujahideen , whose goals were strikingly similar to the modern-day Taliban, gained power as the Soviets fell. In the years after the fall of the Soviets, the Mujahideen became corrupt. BS

The Taliban were started to resist the Mujahideen by Mullah Omar, who was fed up with the corruption and rape. The official rise of military power for the Taliban was in 1994. They started in southern Afghanistan, capturing provinces with relatively little resistance. Within 2 years, most of Afghanistan was under Taliban control, including the capital city of Kabul. They are still fighting within Afghanistan and they seem to have made no significant strides in a positive direction. They still have corruption, rape, and even poorer treatment of women than before. BS

The name Taliban comes from the Arabic word, taleb which means student. The Taliban who are also known as Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. In 2001 the Taliban was ousted from power by the United States, NATO, and Afghani Opposition Forces. The Taliban is made up of mostly Sunni Muslims, from Afghanistan’s Pashtun tribes. The Mujahideen created the Taliban organization, along with many other groups, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Once the war ended the civil war in Afghanistan resumed, and though the Taliban were a major power their lack of unity prevented them from gaining any power. Mohammed Omar was the man who changed all this and in 1994 the Taliban began its quest for power. They would capture the city of Kandahar and then take Kabul in September 1996. TH

By the time the Taliban gained control of Kabul they would also control 90 percent of the country. With this new found power the Taliban launched genocidal campaigns against Afghanistan’s Shiites and Hazaras. Despite these actions the Afghani people loved the Taliban, because they had brought some order back to the country even though they failed to end the civil war. They would then go on to pass laws restricting all rights but especially those of women. For example they wouldn’t allow girls to go to school and women needed permission to leave the house. Islamic dress was the only permitted way to dress and they also banned all things western. In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed two enormous, centuries-old Buddha statues of Bamiyan. During their rule, the Taliban also gave refuge to Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda. As I said earlier but would like to reiterate the Taliban control of Afghanistan ended in December of 2001. TH

CIA World Factbook - Afghanistan

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