|Participant in the Civil war in Afghanistan, the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) and the Waziristan War|
|Leaders||Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
Mullah Obaidullah Akhund
|Afghanistan and Pakistan|
|Strength||45,000 (2001 est.)
11,000 (2008 est.)
25,000 (2009 est.)
|Originated as||Students of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam|
Islamic Emirate of Waziristan
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
|Opponents||United States Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
Military of Afghanistan
Military of Pakistan
ISAF (led by NATO)
Participants in Operation Enduring Freedom
The Taliban (Pashto: طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students"), also Taleban, is a Sunni Islamist political movement that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until they were overthrown in late 2001 during Operation Enduring Freedom. It has regrouped since 2004 and revived as a strong insurgency movement governing at the local level and fighting a guerrilla war against the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The movement is made up of members belonging to different ethnic Pashtun tribes, along with a number of volunteers from nearby Islamic countries such as Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens, Arabs, Pakistani Punjabi people|Punjabis]] and others. They operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly around the Durand Line regions. U.S. officials say their headquarters is in or around Quetta, Pakistan, and that Pakistan and Iran are supporting them, although both nations deny it.
The Taliban movement is headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, who is still in hiding. Mullah Omar's original commanders were "a mixture of former small-unit military commanders and madrasah teachers," and the rank-and-file made up mostly of Afghan refugees who had studied at Islamic religious schools in Pakistan. The Taliban received valuable training, supplies and arms from the Pakistani government, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and many recruits from madrasahs for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, primarily ones established by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI).
Although in control of Afghanistan's capital (Kabul) and much or most of the country for five years, the Taliban regime, which called itself the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan", gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It has gained some amount of political control and acceptance in Pakistan's border region, but recently lost one of its key leaders, Baitullah Mehsud, in a CIA missile strike. However Pakistan has launched offensive to force out the Taliban.
The Taliban implemented one of the "strictest interpretation[s] of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world", yet still occasionally updates its code of conduct. In mid-2009, it established an ombudsman office in northern Kandahar, which has been described as a "direct challenge" to the ISAF.
The word Taliban is Pashto, طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loan word from Arabic طالب ṭālib, plus the Indo-Iranian plural ending -an ان (the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb, whereas طالبان ṭālibān is a dual form with the incongruous meaning, to Arabic speakers, of "two students"). Since becoming a loanword in English, Taliban, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has also been used as a singular noun referring to an individual. For example, John Walker Lindh has been referred to as "an American Taliban" rather than "an American Talib". In the English language newspapers of Pakistan the word talibans is often used when referring to more than one taliban. The spelling 'Taliban' has come to predominate over 'Taleban' in English.
During the power vacuum created by the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 when Afghanistan was torn apart by warring mujahideen groups, the ISI of Pakistan grasped the chance to wield power in the region by fostering a previously unknown Kandahari student movement. They continued to support the Taliban, as Pakistani allies, in their push to conquer Afghanistan in the 1990s.
Taliban initially enjoyed enormous good will from Afghans weary of the corruption, brutality, and the incessant fighting of Mujahideen warlords. One is that the rape and murder of boys and girls from a family traveling to Kandahar or a similar outrage by Mujahideen bandits sparked Mullah Omar and his students to vow to rid Afghanistan of these criminals. Another motivation was that the Pakistan-based truck shipping mafia known as the "Afghanistan Transit Trade" and their allies in the Pakistan government, trained, armed, and financed the Taliban to clear the southern road across Afghanistan to the Central Asian Republics of extortionate bandit gangs.
Although there isn't any evidence that the CIA directly supported the Taliban or Al Qaeda, some basis for military support of the Taliban was provided when, in the early 1980s, the CIA and the ISI (Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency) provided arms to Afghans resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the ISI assisted the process of gathering radical Muslims from around the world to fight against the Soviets. Osama Bin Laden was one of the key players in organizing training camps for the foreign Muslim volunteers. The U.S. poured funds and arms into Afghanistan, and "by 1987, 65,000 tons of U.S.-made weapons and ammunition a year were entering the war." FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who has been fired from the agency for disclosing sensitive information, has claimed United States was on intimate terms with Taliban and Al-Qaeda, using them to further certain goals in Central Asia.
The first major military activity of the Taliban was in October-November 1994 when they marched from Maiwand in southern Afghanistan to capture Kandahar City and the surrounding provinces, losing only a few dozen men. Starting with the capture of a border crossing and a huge ammunition dump from warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a few weeks later they freed "a convoy trying to open a trade route from Pakistan to Central Asia" from another group of warlords attempting to extort money. In the next three months this hitherto "unknown force" took control of twelve of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, with Mujahideen warlords often surrendering to them without a fight and the "heavily armed population" giving up their weapons. By September 1996 they had captured Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.
Under the Taliban regime, Sharia law was interpreted to ban a wide variety of activities hitherto lawful in Afghanistan: employment, education and sports for women, movies, television, videos, music, dancing, hanging pictures in homes, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and beard trimming. One Taliban list of prohibitions included:
|“||pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards.||”|
Men were required to have a beard extending farther than a fist clamped at the base of the chin. On the other hand, they had to wear their head hair short. Men were also required to wear a head covering.
Possession was forbidden of depictions of living things, whether drawings, paintings or photographs, stuffed animals, and dolls.
These rules were issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice (PVSV) and enforced by its "religious police," a concept thought to be borrowed from the Wahhabis. In newly conquered towns hundreds of religious police beat offenders (typically men without beards and women who were not wearing their burqas properly) with long sticks.
Theft was punished by the amputation of a hand, rape and murder by public execution. Married adulterers were stoned to death. In Kabul, punishments were carried out in front of crowds in the city's former soccer stadium.
Closely tied with the JUI party in Pakistan, the Taliban received manpower from madrassas in Pakistan’s border region. After a request for help from Mullah Omar in 1997, Maulana Samiul Haq shut down his 2,500+ student madrassa and "sent his entire student" body hundreds of miles away to fight alongside the Taliban. The next year, the same religious leader helped persuade 12 madrassas in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province to shut down for one month and send 8,000 students to provide reinforcements for the Taliban army in Afghanistan.
The Taliban returned the favor, helping spread its ideology to parts of Pakistan. By 1998 some groups "along the Pashtun belt" were banning TV and videos, imposing Sharia punishments "such as stoning and amputation in defiance of the legal system, killing Pakistani Shia and forcing people, particularly women to adapt to the Taliban dress code and way of life." In December 1998 the Tehrik-i-Tuleba or Movement of Taliban in the Orakzai Agency ignored Pakistan’s legal process and publicly executed a murderer in front of 2,000 spectators Taliban-style. They also promised to implement Taliban-style justice and ban TV, music and videos. In Quetta, Pashtun pro-Taliban groups "burned down cinema houses, shot video shop owners, smashed satellite dishes and drove women off the streets". In Kashmir Afghan Arabs from Afghanistan attempted to impose a "Wahhabi style dress code" banning jeans and jackets. "On 15 February 1999, they shot and wounded three Kashmiri cable television operators for relaying Western satellite broadcasts."
|Part of the Politics series on|
| Islam Portal
The Taliban's extremely strict and anti-modern ideology has been described as an "innovative form of sharia combining Pashtun tribal codes," or Pashtunwali, with radical Deobandi interpretations of Islam favored by members of the Pakistani fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) organization and its splinter groups. Also contributing to the admixture was the Wahhabism of their Saudi financial benefactors, and the jihadism and pan-Islamism of sometime comrade-in-arms Osama bin Laden. Their ideology was a departure from the Islamism of the anti-Soviet mujahideen rulers they replaced who tended to be mystical Sufis, traditionalists, or radical Islamicists inspired by the Ikhwan.
Sharia law was interpreted to ban a wide variety of activities hitherto lawful in Afghanistan, see below. Critics complained that most Afghans were non-Pashtuns who followed a different, less strict and less intrusive interpretation of Islam. Despite their similarity to the Wahhabis, the Taliban did not eschew all traditional popular practices. They did not destroy the graves of pirs (holy men) and emphasized dreams as a means of revelation.
Taliban have been described as both anti-nationalist and Pushtun nationalist. According to journalist Ahmed Rashid, at least in the first years of their rule, they followed Deobandi and Islamist anti-nationalist belief and opposed "tribal and feudal structures," eliminating traditional tribal or feudal leaders from "leadership roles." According to Ali A. Jalali and Lester Grau, the Taliban "received extensive support from Pashtuns across the country who thought that the movement might restore their national dominance. Even Pashtun intellectuals in the West, who seriously differ with the Taliban on many issues, expressed support for the movement on purely ethnic grounds."
In any case, the Taliban were very reluctant to share power, and since their ranks were overwhelmingly Pashtun they ruled as overlords the 60% of Afghanistan which is home to other ethnic groups. At the national level, "all senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara bureaucrats" were replaced "with Pashtuns, whether qualified or not." Consequently, the ministries "by and large ceased to function." In local units of government like city councils of Kabul or Herat, Taliban loyalists, not locals, dominated, even when the Pashto-speaking Taliban could not communicate with the local Persian-speaking Afghans (roughly half of the population of Afghanistan spoke Dari or other non-Pashtun tongues). Critics complained this "lack of local representation in urban administration made the Taliban appear as an occupying force."
Like Wahhabi and other Deobandis, the Taliban do not consider Shias to be Muslims. The Taliban also declared the Hazara ethnic group, which totaled almost 10% of Afghanistan's population, "not Muslims."
Along with being very strict, the Taliban were averse to debate on doctrine with other Muslims. "The Taliban did not allow even Muslim reporters to question [their] edicts or to discuss interpretations of the Qur'an."
As they established their power the Taliban created a new form of Islamic radicalism that spread beyond the borders of Afghanistan, mostly to Pakistan. By 1998–1999 Taliban-style groups in the Pashtun belt, and to an extent in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, "were banning TV and videos ... and forcing people, particularly women to adapt to the Taliban dress code and way of life."
The Taliban ideology was not static. Before its capture of Kabul, members of the Taliban talked about stepping aside once a government of "good Muslims" took power and law and order were restored. The decision making process of the Taliban in Kandahar was modeled on the Pashtun tribal council (jirga), together with what was believed to be the early Islamic model. Discussion was followed by a building of a consensus by the believers.
However, as the Taliban's power grew, decisions were made by Mullah Omar without consulting the jirga and without Omar's visiting other parts of the country. He visited the capital, Kabul, only twice while in power. Taliban spokesman Mullah Wakil explained:
Decisions are based on the advice of the Amir-ul Momineen. For us consultation is not necessary. We believe that this is in line with the Sharia. We abide by the Amir's view even if he alone takes this view. There will not be a head of state. Instead there will be an Amir al-Mu'minin. Mullah Omar will be the highest authority and the government will not be able to implement any decision to which he does not agree. General elections are incompatible with Sharia and therefore we reject them.
In 1999, Omar issued a decree stating the Buddha statues at Bamyan would be protected because Afghanistan had no Buddhists, implying idolatry would not be a problem. But in March 2001 they were destroyed after the previous decision was reversed with a decree stating that "all the statues around Afghanistan must be destroyed."
The Taliban were criticized for their strictness toward those who disobeyed the (Bid‘ah) rule. Some Muslims complained that many Taliban prohibitions had no validity in the Qur'an or sharia. Another source of objection was that the Taliban called their 20% tax on truckloads of opium "zakat," when zakat is limited to 2.5% of the zakat-payers' disposable income.
The bestowing of the title of Amir al-Mu'minin on Muhammad Omar was criticized on the grounds that he lacked scholarly learning, tribal pedigree, or connections to the Prophet's family. Sanction for the title required the support of all of the country's ulema, whereas only some 1,200 Pashtun Taliban-supporting Mullahs had declared Omar the Amir. "No Afghan had adopted the title since 1834, when King Dost Mohammed Khan assumed the title before he declared jihad against the Sikh kingdom in Peshawar. But Dost Mohammed was fighting foreigners, while Omar had declared jihad against other Afghans."
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) was important to the Taliban because the "vast majority" of its rank and file and most of the leadership, (though not Mullah Omar), were Koranic students who had studied at madrassas set up for Afghan refugees, usually by the JUI. The leader of JUI, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, was a political ally of Benazir Bhutto. After Bhutto became prime minister, Rehman "had access to the government, the army and the ISI," whom he influenced to help the Taliban.
Journalist Ahmed Rashid suggests that the devastation and hardship of the war against the Soviet Union and the civil war that followed was another factor influencing the ideology of the Taliban. The young rank and file Taliban were Koranic students in Afghan refugee camps whose teachers were often "barely literate," and did not include scholars learned in the finer points of Islamic law and history. The refugee students, brought up in a totally male society, not only had no education in mathematics, science, history or geography, but also had no traditional skills of farming, herding, or handicraft-making, nor even knowledge of their tribal and clan lineages.
In such an environment, war meant employment, peace unemployment. Domination of women was an affirmation of manhood. For their leadership rigid fundamentalism was a matter not merely of principle, but of political survival. Taliban leaders "repeatedly told" Rashid "that if they gave women greater freedom or a chance to go to school, they would lose the support of their rank and file."
The Sharia does not allow politics or political parties. That is why we give no salaries to officials or soldiers, just food, clothes, shoes and weapons. We want to live a life like the Prophet lived 1400 years ago and jihad is our right. We want to recreate the time of the Prophet and we are only carrying out what the Afghan people have wanted for the past 14 years.
Instead of an election, their leader's legitimacy came from "Bay'ah" or oath of allegiance in imitation of the Prophet and the first four Caliphs. On 4 April 1996, Mullah Omar had "the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed," taken from its shrine "for the first time in 60 years." Wrapping himself in the relic, he appeared on the roof of a building in the center of Kandahar while hundreds of Pashtun mullahs below shouted "Amir al-Mu'minin!" (Commander of the Faithful), in a de facto pledge of support.
Also in keeping with the governance of early Muslims was a lack of state institutions or "a methodology for command and control" standard today internationally even among non-Westernized states. The Taliban didn't issue "press releases, policy statements or hold regular press conferences," and of course the outside world and most Afghans didn't even know what they looked like, since photography was banned. Their regular army resembled "a lashkar or traditional tribal militia force" with only 25,000 to 30,000 men, these being added to as the need arose. Cabinet ministers and deputies were mullahs with a "madrassa education." Several of them, such as the Minister of Health and Governor of the State bank, were primarily military commanders who left their administrative posts to fight when needed. If and when military reverses trapped them behind lines or led to their deaths, this created "even greater chaos" in the national administration. In the Ministry of Finance there was no budget or "qualified economist or banker." Cash to finance Taliban war efforts was collected and dispersed by Mullah Omar without book-keeping.
In 1997, the Taliban and Unocal had meetings in Texas to negotiate arrangements for CentGas to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. Reportedly, a deal was struck but later failed. The cause of the failure was rumored to be competing negotiations with Bridas, an Argentinian company.
The emerald mines in Pakistan's Swat valley (not a tribal area) have been taken over by the Taliban which has taken control of the once 'Switzerland of Pakistan' a popular tourist area for skiers. While the government of Pakistan did not react to the move, the Taliban has an agreement with the mining labor of the region wherein the Taliban deduct one-third of the miners' yield while the costs are shared equally by both. The Taliban does not take part in the mining operations.
Peace did not bring economic development to Afghanistan. The so-called "transportation mafia" operating out of Pakistan "cut down millions of acres of timber in Afghanistan for the Pakistani market, denuding the countryside as there was no reforestation. They stripped down rusting factories, ... even electricity and telephone poles for their steel and sold the scrap to steel mills in Lahore."
The Taliban have provided an Islamic sanction for farmers ... to grow even more opium, even though the Koran forbids Muslims from producing or imbibing intoxicants. Abdul Rashid, the head of the Taliban's anti-drugs control force in Kandahar, spelled out the nature of his unique job. He is authorized to impose a strict ban on the growing of hashish, "because it is consumed by Afghans and Muslims." But, Rashid told me without a hint of sarcasm, "Opium is permissible because it is consumed by kafirs in the West and not by Muslims or Afghans."
But in 2000 the Taliban banned opium production, a first in Afghan history. In 2000, Afghanistan's opium production still accounted for 75% of the world's supply. On 27 July 2000, the Taliban again issued a decree banning opium poppy cultivation. According to opioids.com, by February 2001, production had been reduced from 12,600 acres (51 km2) to only 17 acres (7 ha). When the Taliban entered north Waziristan in 2003 they immediately banned poppy cultivation and punished those who sold it.
Another source claims opium production was cut back by the Taliban not to prevent its use but to shore up its price, and thus increase the income of poppy farmers and revenue of Afghan tax collectors.
The official verdict of the Taliban however was otherwise. Mullah Amir Mohammed Haqqani, the Taliban's top drug official in Nangarhar, said the ban would remain regardless of whether the Taliban received aid or international recognition. "It is our decree that there will be no poppy cultivation. It is banned forever in this country," he said. "Whether we get assistance or not, poppy growing will never be allowed again in our country."
However, with the 2001 US/Northern Alliance expulsion of the Taliban, opium cultivation has increased in the southern provinces liberated from the Taliban control, and by 2005 production was 87% of the world's opium supply, rising to 90% in 2006.
Hashemi also detailed this in his March 2001 lecture in California.
In October 2009 an uncredited report, citing only 'American and Afghan officials', appeared in the New York Times asserting that the Taliban are now supporting the opium trade and deriving funding from it, seemingly counter to their documented prior banning and elimination of the drug trade in Afghanistan.
According to the testimony of Guantanamo captives before their Combatant Status Review Tribunals, the Taliban, in addition to conscripting men to serve as soldiers, also conscripted men to staff its civil service.
Taliban's strict policies and condescending behavior toward their local allied troops caused an uprising in which thousands of the Taliban's best troops were killed.
In 1997, Ahmad Shah Massoud devised a plan to utilize guerrilla tactics in the Shamali plains to defeat the Taliban advances. In collaboration with the locals, Massoud had deployed his forces to be stationed at civilian dwellings and other hidden places. Upon the arrival of the Taliban, some locals, who had vowed pacts of peace with the Taliban, as well as Massoud's forces came out of hiding and in a surprise attack captured the north of Kabul. Soon after, the Taliban put a major effort into taking control of the Shamali plains, indiscriminately killing young men, uprooting and expelling the population. Kamal Hossein, a special reporter for the UN, had written a full report on these and other war crimes that further insinuated and inflamed the issue of ethnicity.
In 8 August 1998 the Taliban again took Mazar-i-Sharif this time avenging their earlier defeat and creating more international controversy with mass killings of thousands of civilians and several Iranian diplomats. This offensive left the Northern Alliance in control of only a small part of Afghanistan (10–15%) in the north. The Taliban retained control of most of the country until the 2001 9/11 attacks. On 9 September 2001, a suicide bomber, posing as an interviewer and widely thought to be connected to Al-Qaeda, assassinated the Northern Alliance mujahideen military leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. Despite his removal, the Taliban were driven from most of Afghanistan by American bombing and Northern Alliance ground troops a couple of months later in the 2001 War.
During its time in power, the Taliban regime, or "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia all of whom also provided aid. Most states in the world, including Russia, Iran, India, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and later the USA, opposed the Taliban and aided their enemy the Northern Alliance.
The U.K in a new counterinsurgency strategy are going to pay Taliban fighters to switch sides or lay down arms; later in 2009 the United Kingdom government back talks with the Taliban. In 2010 a British General has said 'Taliban must join security forces'(Police or Army}.
For a period of seven years since their origin, Pakistan's government had been the Taliban's main sponsor. It provided military equipment, recruiting assistance, training and tactical advice that enabled the band of village mullahs and their adherents to take control of Afghanistan.
Officially Pakistan denied it was supporting the Taliban, but its support was substantial—one year's aid (1997/1998) was an estimated US$30 million in wheat, diesel, petroleum and kerosene fuel, and other supplies. The Taliban's influence in its neighbour Pakistan was deep. Its "unprecedented access" among Pakistan's lobbies and interest groups enabled it "to play off one lobby against another and extend their influence in Pakistan even further. At times they would defy" even the powerful ISI.
As late as 2009, U.S. commander of operations in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal and other officials say that the Taliban leadership is in Quetta, although the Pakistan government denies it. However U.S praises Pakistan military effort against the Taliban..Furthermore after the capture of Taliban No.2 leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan .The White house 'hails capture of Taliban leader' ; and said that this is a "big success for our mutual efforts(Pakistan and United States)in the region"..
Foreign powers, including the United States, were at first supportive of the Taliban in hopes it would serve as a force to restore order in Afghanistan after years of division into corrupt, lawless warlord fiefdoms. The U.S. government, for example, made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995 and expelled thousands of girls from schools. These hopes faded as the Taliban began to engage in warlord practices of rocketing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras) and restricting the rights of women. In late 1997, American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright began to distance the U.S. from the Taliban and the next year the American-based oil company Unocal, previously having implicitly supported the Taliban in order to build a pipeline south from Central Asia, withdrew from a major deal with the Taliban regime concerning an oil pipeline.
In early August 1998, the Taliban's difficulties in relations with foreign groups became much more serious. After attacking the city of Mazar, Taliban forces killed several thousand civilians and 10 Iranian diplomats and intelligence officers in the Iranian consulate. Alleged radio intercepts indicate Mullah Omar personally approved the killings. The Iranian government was incensed and a "full-blown regional crisis" ensued with Iran mobilizing 200,000 regular troops, though war was averted.
A day before the capture of Mazar, affiliates of Taliban guest Osama bin Laden bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa, killing 224 and wounding 4500 mostly African victims. The United States responded by launching cruise missiles attacks on suspected terrorists camps in Afghanistan, killing over 20 though failing to kill bin Laden or even many Al-Qaeda. Mullah Omar condemned the missile attack and American President Bill Clinton. Saudi Arabia expelled the Taliban envoy in Saudi Arabia in protest over the Taliban's refusal to turn over bin Laden and after Mullah Omar allegedly insulted the Saudi royal family. In mid-October the UN Security Council voted unanimously to ban commercial aircraft flights to and from Afghanistan and freeze its bank accounts worldwide.
In a new counterinsurgency strategy in October U.S is going to pay Taliban fighters to switch sides.
On November 26, 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a public plea to the United States to engage in direct negotiations with the Taliban leadership. In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Karzai said there is an "urgent need" for negotiations with the Taliban, and made it clear that the Obama administration had opposed such talks. There was no formal American response.
In early December, 2009, the Taliban offered to give the U.S. "legal guarantees" that they will not allow Afghanistan to be used for attacks on other countries. There was no formal American response.
In December 6 the U.S officials have not ruled out 'talks with the Taliban'; then several days later it has been reported that the 'Pentagon sees reconciliation with Taliban' ( said by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates) but not with Al Qaeda.Furthermore 'Gates said reconciliation would be the political end to the insurgency and war in Afghanistan. But he said reconciliation must be on the Afghan government's terms and the Taliban must commit to subject itself to the sovereignty of the government'.
In 2010 'McChrystal focuses on peace with Taliban ' he said this could be done by 'his troop surge could lead to a negotiated peace with the Taliban'.
India was one of the most outspoken critics of the Taliban-regime in Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah Massoud, who led the Northern Alliance's anti-Taliban operations, was particularly noted for his closeness to India. India was concerned about growing Islamic militancy in its neighborhood and refused to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
In December 1999, Indian Airlines Flight 814 en route from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked and taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Taliban moved its militias near the hijacked aircraft supposedly to prevent Indian special forces from storming the aircraft and also stalled the negotiations between India and the hijackers for days. The New York Times later reported there are credible links between the hijackers and the Taliban. As a part of the deal between the hijackers and the Indian government, India released three Islamist militants so as to secure the release of all the hostages on-board the Indian Airlines plane. The Taliban gave a safe passage to the hijackers and the three released militants. The links between Osama bin Laden, the hijackers and the militants released was also reported in Indian media.
Following the hijacking, India drastically increased its efforts to help Ahmed Shah Massoud in his operations against the Taliban. An arms depot for the Northern Alliance was setup by India in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. India also provided Northern Alliance a wide range of high-altitude warfare equipment, helicopter technicians, medical services and tactical advice. According to one report, Indian military support to anti-Taliban forces totaled — US$70 million in aid including two Mi-17 helicopters, three additional helicopters in 2000 and US$8 million worth high-altitude equipment in 2001.
Following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, India extensively supported the new administration in Afghanistan. India has led several reconstruction projects in Afghanistan to further undermine the influence of the Taliban and by 2006, India had emerged as the largest regional donor to Afghanistan.
A major issue during the Taliban's reign was its relations with the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Twenty years of continuous warfare, first with the Soviets and then between mujahideen, had devastated Afghanistan's infrastructure and economy. There was no running water, little electricity, few telephones, motorable roads or regular energy supplies. Basic necessities like water, food and housing and others were in desperately short supply. In addition, the clan and family structure that provided Afghans with a social/economic safety net was also badly damaged. Afghanistan's infant mortality was the highest in the world. A full quarter of all children died before they reached their fifth birthday, a rate several times higher than most other developing countries.
Consequently international charitable and/or development organisations (NGOs) were extremely important to the supply of food, employment, reconstruction, and other services in Afghanistan. With one million plus deaths during the years of war, the number of families headed by widows had reached 98,000 by 1998. Thus Taliban restrictions on women were sometime a matter not only of human rights, but of life and death. In Kabul, where vast portions of the city had been devastated from rocket attacks, more than half of its 1.2 million people benefited in some way from NGO charity, even for water to drink. The civil war and its refugee-creation processes continued during the entire time the Taliban were in power. During that time, more than three-quarters of a million civilians were displaced by new Taliban offensives in the north around Mazar, on the Herat front, and in the fertile Shomali valley around Kabul. The offensives used "scorched-earth" tactics to prevent civilians from supplying the enemy with aid.
Despite the receipt of UN and NGO aid, the Taliban's attitude toward the UN and NGOs was often one of suspicion, not gratitude or even tolerance. The UN operates on the basis of international law, not Islamic Sharia, and the UN did not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Additionally, most of the foreign donors and aid workers, who had tried to persuade the Taliban to change its strict policies and allow women more freedom, were non-Muslims.
As the Taliban's Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:
Let us state what sort of education the UN wants. This is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women which would lead to adultery and herald the destruction of Islam. In any Islamic country where adultery becomes common, that country is destroyed and enters the domination of the infidels because their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anyone who talks to us should do so within Islam's framework. The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people's requirements, people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran.
Frustrations of aid agencies were numerous. Taliban decision-makers, particularly Mullah Omar, seldom if ever talked directly to non-Muslim foreigners, so aid providers had to deal with intermediaries whose approvals and agreements were often reversed by Taliban higher-ups. Around September 1997 the heads of three UN agencies in Kandahar were expelled from the country after protesting over a female lawyer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees being forced to talk to Taliban officials from behind a curtain so her face would not be visible.
When the UN increased the number of Muslim women staff to satisfy Taliban demands for Muslim staff, the Taliban then insisted "all female Muslim UN staff traveling to Afghanistan to be chaperoned by a mahram or a blood relative." In July 1998, the Taliban closed down "all NGO offices" by force after those organization refused to move to a bombed-out former Polytechnic College as ordered. One month later the UN offices were also shut down.
As food prices rose and conditions deteriorated, the Taliban Planning Minister Qari Din Mohammed explained the Taliban's indifference to the loss of humanitarian aid:
We Muslims believe God the Almighty will feed everybody one way or another. If the foreign NGOs leave then it is their decision. We have not expelled them.
In 2009 a top U.N official calls for talks with taliban, later on in 2010 the 'U.N lift sanctions on Taliban to build peace in Afghanistan' U.N. say 'Reduce Taliban names on terror list' such as Taliban leaders.
In 2010 western aid donor 'Back Taliban plan'
In 1996, Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan from Sudan. He came without any invitation from the Taliban, and sometimes irritated Mullah Omar with his declaration of war and fatwa to murder citizens of third-party countries, and follow-up interviews, but relations between the two groups became closer over time, and eventually bonded to the point where Mullah Omar rebuffed its patron Saudi Arabia, insulting Saudi minister Prince Turki and refusing to turn over bin Laden to the Saudis as Omar had reportedly promised to earlier.
Bin Laden was able to forge an alliance between the Taliban and his Al-Qaeda organization. It is understood that Al-Qaeda-trained fighters known as the 055 Brigade were integrated with the Taliban army between 1997 and 2001. Several hundred Arab Afghan fighters sent by bin Laden assisted the Taliban in the slaughter at Mazar-e-Sharif. Taliban-Al-Qaeda connections, were also strengthened by the reported marriage of one of bin Laden's sons to Omar's daughter. During Osama bin Laden's stay in Afghanistan, he may have helped finance the Taliban. Perhaps the biggest favor Al-Qaeda did for the Taliban was the assassination by suicide bombing of the Taliban's most effective military opponent mujahideen commander and Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud shortly before 9 September 2001. This came at a time when Taliban human rights violations and extremism seemed likely to create international support for Massoud's group as the legitimate representatives of Afghanistan. The killing, reportedly handled by Ayman Zawahiri and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad wing of Al-Qaeda, left the Northern Alliance leaderless, and removed "the last obstacle to the Taliban’s total control of the country ..."
After the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, Osama bin Laden and several Al-Qaeda members were indicted in U.S. criminal court. The Taliban protected Osama bin Laden from extradition requests by the U.S., variously claiming that bin Laden had "gone missing" in Afghanistan, or that Washington "cannot provide any evidence or any proof" that bin Laden is involved in terrorist activities and that "without any evidence, bin Laden is a man without sin... he is a free man." Evidence against bin Laden included courtroom testimony and satellite phone records. Bin Laden in turn, praised the Taliban as the "only Islamic government" in existence, and lauded Mullah Omar for his destruction of idols like the Buddhas of Bamiyan.
By the end of 2008, the Taliban had severed any remaining ties with al-Qaeda.
As of early 2007, Taliban influence in Pakistan continues in conjunction with the Taliban insurgency. Citing a suicide bombing of a restaurant in Peshwar in retaliation for the arrest of a relative of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, the Associated Press states "... in Pakistan's frontier regions, ... scores of people have been executed over the past two or three years apparently for being too aligned with the Pakistani government or America — allies in the U.S.-led war on terrorism."
On February 18, 2009, the president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari signed a deal with the Taliban to implement Shariah law in some parts of Pakistan banning all the girls from school. On April 13, 2009, Zardari signed into law a peace deal for the nation's Swat Valley, implementing sharia law in the region.
On June 30, 2009, the Taliban withdrew from the peace deal to protest the continuing airstrikes by American drones. Soon after the announcement that the truce was no longer in play, approximately 150 militants attacked a Pakistani military convoy near Miramshah, killing an estimated 30 soldiers. An additional 4 people were killed in southwestern Pakistan by a car bomber who targeted NATO supply trucks.
Guerrilla attacks will be launched against the Pakistani military unless drone attacks are stopped and government troops are pulled out of North Waziristan. We will attack forces everywhere in Waziristan unless the government fulfills these two demands.—Ahmadullah Ahmadi, spokesperson for Pakistani Taliban faction, New York Times
The Pakistani government is also concerned about these attacks because they could indicate that the Taliban is preparing for a full-on assault. The government's plan to transport supplies through that region are stymied by the danger of guerilla attacks. The government remains vulnerable to attacks on multiple fronts, and the North Waziristan faction of the Taliban has given no indication of accepting a compromise. Pakistani leaders are concerned that Bahadur is not the only one planning to carry out attacks.
- Deliver to the US all of the leaders of Al-Qaeda;
- Release all imprisoned foreign nationals;
- Close immediately every terrorist training camp;
- Hand over every terrorist and their supporters to appropriate authorities;
- Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps for inspection.
Over the course of the investigation, the United States had petitioned the international community to back a military campaign to overthrow the Taliban. The United Nations Security Council and NATO had by this stage approved of such a campaign as self-defense against armed attack.
On 21 September 2001, the Taliban responded to the ultimatum, promising that if the United States could bring evidence that bin Laden was guilty, they would hand him over, stating there was no evidence in their possession linking him to the 11 September attacks.
On 22 September 2001, the United Arab Emirates, and later Saudi Arabia, withdrew recognition of the Taliban as the legal government of Afghanistan, leaving neighboring Pakistan as the only remaining country with diplomatic ties. On 4 October 2001, it is believed that the Taliban covertly offered to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial in an international tribunal that operated according to Islamic Sharia law, but Pakistan refused the offer. On 7 October 2001, before the onset of military operations, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan offered to "detain bin Laden and try him under Islamic law" if the United States made a formal request and presented the Taliban with evidence. This counter offer was immediately rejected by the U.S. as insufficient.
Shortly afterwards, on 7 October 2001, the United States, aided by the United Kingdom, Canada, and supported by a coalition of other countries including several from the NATO alliance, initiated military actions in Afghanistan, and bombed Taliban and Al-Qaeda related camps. CIA's elite Special Activities Division (SAD) units were the first US forces to enter Afghanistan. Their efforts organized the Afghan Northern Alliance for the subsequent arrival of US Special Operations forces. SAD, US Army Special Forces and the Northern Alliance combined to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan with minimal loss to Americans lives. They did this without the need for US military conventional forces.
The Washington Post stated in an editorial by John Lehman in 2006:
What made the Afghan campaign a landmark in the U.S. Military's history is that it was prosecuted by Special Operations forces from all the services, along with Navy and Air Force tactical power, operations by the Afghan Northern Alliance and the CIA were equally important and fully integrated. No large Army or Marine force was employed.
The stated intent of military operations was to remove the Taliban from power because of the Taliban's refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden for his alleged involvement in the 11 September attacks, and disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations. On 14 October the Taliban offered to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted bombing, but only if the Taliban were given evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in 9/11. The U.S. rejected this offer as an insufficient public relations ploy and continued military operations.
The ground war was fought mainly by the Northern Alliance, the remaining elements of the anti-Taliban forces which the Taliban had routed over the previous years but had never been able to entirely destroy. Mazari Sharif fell to U.S.-Northern Alliance forces on 9 November, leading to a cascade of provinces falling with minimal resistance, and many local forces switching loyalties from the Taliban to the Northern Alliance. On the night of 12 November, the Taliban retreated south from Kabul. On 15 November, they released eight Western aid workers after three months in captivity (see Attacks on humanitarian workers). By 13 November the Taliban had withdrawn from both Kabul and Jalalabad. Finally, in early December, the Taliban gave up their last city stronghold of Kandahar and dispersed in various directions.
As of 2009, a strong insurgency, in the form of a Taliban guerrilla war, continues. However, the Pashtun tribal group, with over 40 million members, has a long history of resistance to occupation forces in the region so the Taliban themselves may comprise only a part of the insurgency. Most of the post-invasion Taliban fighters are new recruits, drawn again from that region's madrassas. The more traditional village schools are the primary source of the new fighters.
In early December, the Taliban offered to give the U.S. "legal guarantees" that they will not allow Afghanistan to be used for attacks on other countries. There was no formal American response.
Before the summer 2006 offensive began, indications existed that Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan had lost influence and power to other groups, including potentially the Taliban. The most notable sign was the rioting in May after a street accident in the city of Kabul. The continued support from tribal and other groups in Pakistan, the drug trade and the small number of NATO forces, combined with the long history of resistance and isolation, led to the observation that Taliban forces and leaders are surviving and will have some influence over the future of Afghanistan. A new introduction is suicide attacks and terrorist methods not used in 2001. Observers have suggested that poppy eradication policies, which destroy the livelihoods of rural Afghans, and civilian deaths caused by the bombing campaigns of international troops, are linked to the resurgence of the Taliban. These observers maintain that counter-insurgency policy should focus on the battle for the hearts and minds of the Afghan people and on the reconstruction of the Afghan economy, which could profit from the licensing of poppies to make medicine rather than their eradication.
In September 2006, the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, an association of Waziristani chieftains with close ties to the Taliban, were recognized by the Government of Pakistan as the de facto security force in charge of North and South Waziristan. This recognition was part of the agreement to end the Waziristan War which had extracted a heavy toll on the Pakistan Army since early 2004. Some commentators viewed Islamabad's shift from war to diplomacy as implicit recognition of the growing power of the resurgent Taliban relative to American influence, with the US distracted by the threat of looming crises in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran.
Other commentators view Islamabad's shift from war to diplomacy as a means to appease growing discontent in Pakistan. Because of its leadership structure, the assassination of Mullah Dadullah in May 2007 will not significantly affect the Taliban, but it may set-back the incipient relations with Pakistan.
According to Human Rights Watch, bombings and other attacks which have led to civilian casualties are reported to have "sharply escalated in 2006" with "at least 669 Afghan civilians were killed in at least 350 armed attacks, most of which appear to have been intentionally launched at non-combatants." By 2008 the Taliban had increased its attacks using suicide bombers and the targeted killing of unarmed civilian aid workers such as Gayle Williams. The United Nations reports that the number of civilians killed by both the Taliban and the pro-government forces in the war rose nearly 50% since 2007. In the first six months of 2009 595 civilians died at the hand of the Taliban, and 309 at the hands of NATO and Afghan government forces. In the first half of 2008, the Taliban had killed 495 civilians and the allies 276. The high number of civilians killed by Taliban is blamed in part on their increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), "for instance, 16 IEDs have been planted in girls' schools" by the Taliban.
Talib is an Arabic word meaning "one who is seeking" but the word has evolved to mean "someone who is seeking religious knowledge."
Taliban (plural Taliban or Talibans)
The Taliban is a hardline Islamic movement. It emerged in 1994 in Afghanistan and was sponsored by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. During the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan (1996-2001), much of the Afghans experienced restrictions on their freedom and violations of their human rights. The civil wars and Taliban rule left Afghanistan in ruins.
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the United States overthrew the Taliban government for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden and several al-Qaida members, who were behind these attacks. Taliban are still active in the south of the country.