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طالبان Taliban

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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The طالبان Taliban's closest links were with Pakistan where many of them had grown up and studied in madrassas run by the mercurial Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI), a fundamentalist party which had considerable support amongst the Pashtuns in Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). More significantly Maulana Rehman was now a political ally of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and he had access to the government, the army and the ISI to whom he described this newly emerging force. Rashid, p 26


Mujahideen Failures


Divergent groups realize the failures of the mujahideen leadership, and عمر Omar emerges as a local mullah who gained support for his belief in restoring peace, disarming the population, enforcing Sharia law and defending the integrity of Islam in افغانستان Afghanistan. (Rashid, p 22)

Freeing Young Girls

Spring 1994

A commander had abducted two teenage girls and shaved their, then taken them to a military camp where they were repeatedly raped. عمر Omar's neighbors in Singesar told him of this. "We were fighting against Muslims who had gone wrong. How could we remain quiet when we could see crimes being committed against women and the poor?" Omar said later (NYT, 1996). عمر Omar enlisted some 30 الطلاب talibs who had only 16 rifles between them. They attacked the base, freed the girls, hung the commander from the barrel of a tank, and captured arms and ammunition. (Rashid, p 25)

Freeing Young Boy

Summer 1994

Civilians died when two commanders brawled in كندهار Kandahar over a young boy they both wanted. عمر Omar led his الطلاب talibs to free the boy. "عمر Omar had emerged as a Robin Hood figure, helping the poor against the rapacious commanders. His prestige grew because he asked for now reward or credit from those he helped, only demanding that they follow him to set up a just Islamic system." (Rashid, p 25)

1994 11 04

A 30-truck Pakistani convoy to Central Asia waylaid by warlords near كندهار Kandahar, 20 dead in fighting. Taliban emerge.

1994 11 05

Taliban take control of كندهار Kandahar and free convoy. Fifty dead in four days of clashes.

Rise of Taliban

1994 - 1996

Islamic Emirate

1996 - 2001

Relations with Pakistan

Networks with other militant organizations and Pakistan were an effective alternative international community to the official one. The deterioration of relations with the mainstream world was mirrored in the improvement of relations with fundamentalists. Also, as a Pashtun movement the طالبان Taliban had links between many parts of Pakistani society.

[طالبان Taliban] decision-making process included routine consultation with Pakistani Deobandi religious leaders. Their foreign relations deepened on access to the outside world through Pakistan and on Pakistani advice and logistical assistance. Their military force recruited fighters from Pakistani مدرسة madrass, whose students were estimated to form as much as 20-30 percent of the total. Extremist Pakistani Deobandi organizations (Sipah-i Sahaba, Lashkar-i Khangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahidin) had bases in areas under their control. Rubin, p xvi

Relations with القاعدة al-Qaeda

On the role of القاعدة al-Qaeda in the طالبان Taliban (IEA), which deepened due to the personal relationship between ملا عمر Mullah Omar and بن لادن bin Laden, and also military assistance from بن لادن bin Laden.

القاعدة Al-Qa'ida provided most of the manpower of Brigade 055, originally a military unit based in Khairkhana, in northern كابل Kabul. Service in this unit constituted part of the training of militants who came to Afghanistan, and, as Afghans became increasingly reluctant to fight for the طالبان Taliban in an inter-Afghan war, the unit also supplied the most committed and effective part of the طالبان Taliban military. Rubin, p xv

Relations with Transnational Fundamentalists

Evolution: Insurgency



2010 -

The Taliban have begun using increasingly subversive techniques, coupled with sporadic flashy coordinated attacks. Subversive approaches rely primarily on suicide bombings and planted bombs, though a bottleneck of fodder for suicide bombings has led increasingly to the purchase of children (2 July 2009, Washington TImes). Baitullah Mehsud (Pakistan Taliban leader) bought children as young as seven, turning suicide bombing into a "production output, not unlike Toyota outputs cars ... [Mehsud] produces these suicide bombers, which are sold or bartered, which can be used by Omar's Taliban or ... other groups," according to an anonymous US official. The going price for a child bomber is $7000 - $14000 (per capita income is $2600 annually), with the children sometimes coming into Mehsud's hands after being kidnapped by middlemen. Though even pre-adolescent mujahideen existed during the Soviet occupation, that is a stark contrast to the Taliban's intense child trafficking: according to a mujahideen who took up arms against the Soviets at thirteen, "Fighting is not the issue. What is unusual is making these young fighters into suicide bombers. That was not common in Afghanistan, even in the past. These children are brainwashed to believe things that are not even true. It is a crime against God."

The طالبان Taliban opened a Twitter account (@alemarahweb, not to be confused with the Emirate's own Twitter account @alsomood) and re-launched its failed website at a new domain name Their first English tweet went out on 12 May 2011. This was a long way from its days in 2001 using a 56k modem and a Pakistani ISP (link).

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan joined Twitter about six months ago," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP, using the group's name from its time in power. "We did it because we know Twitter is a popular social network in the West, and we want to make our voice heard. They used to hear only one-sided news about us from the invaders, but now they can know the reality." Mujahid said that an official Taliban page on Facebook had been shut down by the company earlier this year, but supporters still host personal pages passing on news and information. "We regard modern technology including the Internet as a blessing of God," he said, declining to explain the Taliban's change of attitude since they were toppled for sheltering Al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks. (14 May 2011, AFP)