The Taliban (of Arabic ṭālib (طالب) for “student”) is a political-religious armed Islamist movement founded in Kandahar in 1994 and ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996-2001.
The Taliban movement is a mainly Pashtun organization that follows a fundamentalist form of deobandilara, an ancient South Asian variant of sunniislam, combined with strict devotion to pashtunwali, the traditional lifestyles and cultural norms. The Taliban has its origins in the rugged Pakistani refugee camps where Afghans fled to after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 and today, they have a great influence on the Pakistan side of the border.
Many members are trained in the ultra-conservative madrassor, Koranic schools, which are very common in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Taliban has its origins in the religious warriors (Mujahedeen) who fought the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’s Government and the Soviet forces in the country from 1979 to the end of the cold war. The religiously conservative general Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq took power after a military coup in the neighboring Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1977 and feared that the Soviet Union would invade Pakistan, so he sought help in Saudi Arabia while the United States has already encouraged the Saudi royal family to support armed rebel groups in the country. Through its allies, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were able to contribute significant amounts of arms to the conflict and General Zia-ul-Haq did equip insurgents in training camp provided by the CIA. Powerful religious scholars in Saudi Arabia encouraged young Muslims around the world to go to Afghanistan and waging holy war against the “godless Communists”, but besides these foreign fighters, there were indigenous Afghan groups of varying ideological conviction but united in opposition to the Government and its Soviet allies.
In April 1992, religious warlords seized power and formed the Islamic State of Afghanistan. Almost immediately Afghan civil war broke out, in which Islamic Republic of Pakistan supported the continuation of uprising against the new Government (mainly by Hezb-i-Islami). Various groups of newly-allied warlords took up arms against each other, the already weakened state apparatus fully collapsed and lawlessness spread all over the country. The Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia also took advantage of the power vacuum by supporting the various guerrilla groups in the country. It was in this climate when the country underwent a total collapse and Mullah Mohammed Omar formed its own militia of 50 students from Pakistani madrassa in the southern city of Kandahar. The movement grew in a few months from a few hundred poorly armed students to over 15,000, thanks to the return of Afghan refugees from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In the spring of 1994, they took first armed actions against the corrupt local authorities.
The hallmarks of the Taliban movement is a ultraconservative vision of women with a basis in strict interpretation of religious law (sharia) that was implemented throughout the areas that were under their control. Among others, women considered to be obliged to wear the burqa, a garment that covers the body and your face with only a veiled gap for the eyes. Women were forbidden even to work and attend school after the age of eight, to drive or take a taxi without a male guardian, and have separate hospital facilities to treat men and women. In April 1998, the Taliban issued a decree which completely prohibited the women leaving home and decreed that the window to the House which was attended by women would be shaded, in order to avoid the looks from the street. Teachers who educated women secretly risked the death penalty.
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