The Taliban, which also refers to itself by the name of its state, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a Deobandi-Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist, militant Islamist, and jihadist political movement in Afghanistan. Wikipedia
In September 1994, Mullah Mohammad Omar and 50 students founded the group in his hometown of Kandahar. Wikipedia
The Taliban, or “students” in the Pashto language, emerged in the early 1990s in northern Pakistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. It is believed that the predominantly Pashtun movement first appeared in religious seminaries – mostly paid for by money from Saudi Arabia – which preached a hardline form of Sunni Islam.
The promise made by the Taliban – in Pashtun areas straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan – was to restore peace and security and enforce their own austere version of Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Who Is Responsible for the Taliban?
by Michael Rubin
Mar 1, 2002
The roots of the Afghan civil war and the country’s subsequent transformation into a safe-haven for the world’s most destructive terror network began in the decades prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
As the United States prepared for war against Afghanistan, some academics or journalists argued that Usama bin Ladin’s al-Qa’ida group and Afghanistan’s Taliban government were really creations of American policy run amok. A pervasive myth exists that the United States was complicit for allegedly training Usama bin Ladin and the Taliban. For example, Jeffrey Sommers, a professor in Georgia, has repeatedly claimed that the Taliban had turned on “their previous benefactor.” David Gibbs, a political science professor at the University of Arizona, made similar claims. Robert Fisk, widely-read Middle East correspondent for The Independent, wrote of “CIA camps in which the Americans once trained Mr. bin Ladin’s fellow guerrillas.”(1) Associated Press writer Mort Rosenblum declared that “Usama bin Ladin was the type of Soviet-hating freedom fighter that U.S. officials applauded when the world looked a little different.”(2)
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Who are the Taliban and why are they feared? Where did they come from and what do they want? As they make global headlines yet again, here is their story…
Taliban means students. Believe it or balk, this is what the word that spreads fear across the world originally means in Pashto. Pashto is the first language of an estimated 55 per cent of Afghanistan’s population, according to the Unesco. Pashto is also spoken in parts of Pakistan and Iran, both of which border Afghanistan.
Today, the word “Taliban” refers to a dreaded Islamic outfit that is taking back control of Afghanistan.
Today, the word evokes fear.
Afghanistan is famously called the “graveyard of empires”. History tells us that since the 11th century BC, different empires and forces have tried to gain control over Afghanistan. Despite being a landlocked country, Afghanistan continues to be a tempting spot in the greater game of geo-strategic powerplay.
The roots of Taliban’s origin lie in the rule of Afghanistan’s last princely ruler Mohammad Zahir Shah (1933-73). Zahir Shah was the third ruler of Afghanistan who tried to emulate the progressive ideas of communist Soviet Russia. The first ruler was Amanullah, who brought out a constitution of Afghanistan in 1923, incidentally the same year when the Islamic Caliphate was brought to an end in Turkey by revolutionary leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Amanullah’s constitution called for equality of gender and opportunity across religions. It hurt the powerful clergy, who rose in revolt and one faction led by a Tajik ethnic leader captured Kabul. Amanullah, who had earlier changed his title from “amir” to “padshah” (king) abdicated the throne instead of making an attempt to seize back the control of Kabul.
The Taliban’s ideology has been described as combining an “innovative” form of Sharia Islamic law which is based on Deobandi fundamentalism and militant Islamism, combined with Pashtun social and cultural norms which are known as Pashtunwali, because most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen.
The Taliban’s ideology has been described as an “innovative form of sharia combining Pashtun tribal codes”, or Pashtunwali, with radical Deobandi interpretations of Islam favoured by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and its splinter groups. Their ideology was a departure from the Islamism of the anti-Soviet mujahideen rulers[clarification needed] and the radical Islamists[clarification needed] inspired by the Sayyid Qutb (Ikhwan). The Taliban have said they aim to restore peace and security to Afghanistan, including Western troops leaving, and to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power.
According to journalist Ahmed Rashid, at least in the first years of their rule, the Taliban adopted Deobandi and Islamist anti-nationalist beliefs, and they opposed “tribal and feudal structures,” removing traditional tribal or feudal leaders from leadership roles.
The Taliban strictly enforced their ideology in major cities like Herat, Kabul, and Kandahar. But in rural areas, the Taliban had little direct control, and as a result, they promoted village jirgas, so in rural areas, they did not enforce their ideology as stringently as they enforced it in cities.
Taken from the 2003 documentary ‘Breaking The Silence: Truth And Lies In The War On Terror’, John Pilger explores how the US created the very powers he aimed to eradicate in the War On Terror. Watch the full documentary here: https://youtu.be/UJZxir00xjA