The tale of the taliban
The tale of the taliban

The word Taliban translates to ‘students’ in Pashto. To stop Afghanistan from turning into a soviet ally and a place of occupation, the US supported the opposing ideology existing in Afghanistan that is the Islamists. Mujahideen’s, opposing the communist occupation in Afghanistan, and were backed by the CIA which funded them by providing money as well as weapons. The United States financed the mujahideen under the code name ‘operation cyclone’. The Soviet occupation in Afghanistan continued for almost a decade. However, the US through Pakistan continued funding the Mujahideen with a variety of weapons and finances. Finally, in 1989, the Soviet-supported government toppled resulting in chaos for the next few years and the US also ended its funding. Mujahideens took over Afghanistan in 1992 and a civil war started due to disagreement amongst them.

Taliban took place in this situation with the ideology that it also supports Pashtuns along with Islamic groups. A faction of mujahideen’s also joined the Taliban and from different countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arab etc people started joining it. Initially, there were 50 students who came back to Afghan from Pakistan and became part of it. These people taught themselves from the books published when the US was funding Mujahideens noting in detail the techniques and methods to fight and theories. Pakistan migrated people also helped them in learning new techniques to what they learned in Pak madarsas.

1994 was the year that saw the emergence of the Taliban and within two years it took over Afghanistan. They started capturing small villages in the region, about 13 villages were under their control and finally, in 1996 they took over Kabul and established the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan marking their rule from 1996-2001. 

Their arrival was accepted on the basis of their promises to the innocent Afghans who were exhausted with the preceding chaos of the soviets. They promised to build roads, erase crimes, bringing safety and stability to the country. They started forcing people to join them. The reason, why the Taliban was able to grasp control over the country; was their Finances and peoples unstableness due to no proper governance. Taliban makes 1.5 billion dollars a year on an estimate through several different ways like drug trade of opium, exports, taxes, real estate, minerals and also foreign income.

From 1996 to 2001 when the Taliban took over, life in the country was bound by fear, uncertainty, and distress all around. They imposed sharia in the country with their extreme conservative interpretations of Islamic law. They inflicted severe restrictions on the people. There was no space for things like music, cinema or movies, dance etc. Men were required to bear a beard but the hardest hit was women. Women practically had their freedom taken away; they were not allowed in public unless they had a male blood relative accompanying them, had to wear a burqa when in public, education was denied only girls under ten could go to school, also could not work or hold command of positions, the only exception being women allowed to study and practice medicine.

Taliban has a well-organized hierarchy of power. The utmost power remains with the Supreme leader, under him falls the leaders and deputy leaders. Other formal leadership includes executive leaders and a leadership council or shura. They also have specialized commissions assigned to different tasks. Like the military commission, education commission, political commission etc. there is also a council of Ulema.  Taliban also run their own justice system which includes Sharia courts.

The world was taken aback in 2001 when the infamous world trade Centre terrorist attacks occurred. These attacks were the doing of Al-Qaeda, another terrorist organization, led by Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden was reported to seek refuge in Afghanistan with the assistance of the Taliban. The U.S urged the Taliban to hand over Osama bin laden to them however the Taliban refused to do so, antagonizing the United States. This triggered the U.S. to invade Afghanistan. Taliban rejected handing over bin Laden as they requested proof of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. This was seen as an unnecessary delay by the U.S; they then along with their ally the United Kingdom, who gave military support, attacked Afghanistan by a series of bombings at places where Taliban and al-Qaeda were believably taking refuge.

Taliban was driven out of power by the end of the year. Later the year, when the Al-Qaeda leader had supposedly escaped to Pakistan, the U.S. government plans to reconstruct Afghanistan. An interim government was put into place with Hamid Karzai as the president of the country. U.S intervention in the country has been constant until the present; when the Biden government decided to withdraw the troops and end the almost 20-year war in the country.

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