The Taliban reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Taliban

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The Taliban (also transliterated as Taleban) is an Islamist movement which ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, despite having diplomatic recognition from only three countries (United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia). The most influential members, including Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the movement, were simple village ulema—Islamic religious scholars, whose education was extremely limited and did not include exposure to most modern thought in the Islamic community. Taliban is the Pashtun word for religious students.

Table of contents
1 Rise to Power
2 Culture
3 Life Under Taliban Rule
4 Relationship with Osama bin Laden
5 U.S. invasion
6 See also
7 External link
8 Further reading

Rise to Power

After the fall of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1992, Afghanistan was thrown into a chaos of war between competing mujahideen warlords. The Taliban emerged as a force able to bring order to this power vacuum. It brought economic benefits by eliminating the numerous payments that were required to different warlords; it brought political benefits by reducing fighting between factions (although the Taliban fought aggressively against its enemies, its relative hegemony reduced the number of factions); and it brought social benefits by imposing welcome, set of norms on a chaotic society. The Taliban enjoyed considerable support from Pashtun Afghans and from some neighboring countries during its initial development. Although the radicalization of the Taliban would soon alienate many, the international community, including the United States, also considered the emergence of the Taliban as a positive development during its early years.

Image:mmomar.jpg
Mullah Omar, the Taliban's spiritual leader, and Head of State

Taliban legend has it that in the spring of 1994, upon hearing of the abduction and rape of two girls at a mujahideen checkpoint in the village Sang Hesar near Kandahar, local mullah Mohammed Omar, a veteran of the Harakat-i Inqilab-i Islami faction of mujahideen, gathered thirty other taliban into a fighting force, rescued the girls and hanged the commander of the mujahideen. After this incident, Taliban legend goes, the services of these pious religious fighters were in much demand from villagers plagued by unruly mujahideen, and thus the Taliban were born.

Following this incident, Omar fled to the neighboring Balochistan province of Pakistan, from where he emerged in the fall, reportedly with a well-armed and well-funded militia of 1,500 taliban, who would provide protection for a Pakistani trade convoy carrying goods overland to Turkmenistan. However, many reports suggest that the convoy was in fact full of Pakistani fighters posing as taliban, and that the Taliban had gained considerable arms, military training, and economic aid from the Pakistanis.

After gaining power in and around Kandahar through a combination of military and diplomatic victories, the Taliban attacked, and eventually defeated, the forces of Ismail Khan in the west of the country, capturing Herat from him on September 5, 1995. That winter, the Taliban laid siege to the capital city Kabul, firing rockets into the city and blockading trade routes. In March, the Taliban's opponents, Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ceased fighting one another and formed a new anti-Taliban alliance. But on September 26, 1996 they quit the city of Kabul and retreated north, allowing the Taliban to capture the seat of government and establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

On May 20, 1997, brother Generals Abdul Malik Pehlawan and Mohammed Pehlawan mutinied from under Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum's command and formed an alliance with the Taliban. Three days later, Dostum abandoned much of his army and fled from his base in Mazar-i-Sharif into Uzbekistan. On May 25, Taliban forces, along with those of the mutinous generals, entered the undefended Mazar-i-Sharif. That same day, Pakistan recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, followed by recognition from Saudi Arabia the following day. However, on May 27, fierce street battles broke out between the Taliban and Malik's forces. The Taliban, unused to urban warfare, were defeated heavily, with thousands losing their lives either in battle or in mass executions afterward.

On August 8, 1998, the Taliban re-captured Mazar-i-Sharif. However, international attention on the Taliban shifted light considerably on August 20, when the United States fired cruise missiles on four sites in Afghanistan, all near Khost. The sites included one run by Osama bin Laden, who was fingered as the force behind the August 7 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

At its height, the Emirate was recognised by Pakistan, by the United Arab Emirates and by Saudi Arabia. It then controlled all of Afghanistan, apart from small regions in the northeast which were held by the Northern Alliance. Most of the rest of the world, and the United Nations continued to recognize Rabbani as Afghanistan's legal Head of State, although it was generally understood that he had no real influence in country.

The Taliban received aid from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's ISI, including logistical and humanitarian support during its rise to power, and a continued commitment afterward. An estimated $2 million came each year from Saudi Arabia's major charity, funding two universities and six health clinics and supporting 4,000 orphans. The Saudi King Fahd sent an annual shipment of dates as a gift. The relationship with Iran was very bad because of the Taliban's strong anti Shia policy.

Culture

In the languages spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Taliban (also Taleban) means those who study the book (meaning the Qur'an). It is derived from the Arabic word for seeker or student, talib. The Taliban belong to the Deobandi movement, a Sunni Islam movement which emphasizes piety and austerity and the family obligations of men. They emerged from the ethnically Pashtun areas of Afghanistan.

Life Under Taliban Rule

Main article: Life under Taliban rule

Once in power, the Taliban instituted the Islamic law. The Taliban did lead a reform of the government, the replacement they created had lots of governmental experience. Many had training of ulema, learned scholars on Islamic Law.

Many Anti-Islamic groups feared the rise of Islam once again, as Afganistan was the only country to implemented complete Islamic Law. As a result, these groups started propaganda campaigns since 2000, many of which were in the form of so-called women abuses, drugs etc. The Taliban forbade the cultivation of opium poppies in 2000, due to religious reasons. The production fell from 4000 tons in 2000 (about 70% of the world's supply) to 82 tons in 2001, most of which was harvested in parts of Afghanistan controlled by the Northern Alliance. After the Taliban lost power in late 2002, the opium cultivation increased dramatically.

Here is what the religion minister, Al-Haj Maulwi Qalamuddin, had to say to the New York Times: "To a country on fire, the world wants to give a match. Why is there such concern about women? Bread costs too much. There is no work. Even boys are not going to school. And yet all I hear about are women. Where was the world when men here were violating any woman they wanted?" This is what the Taliban has to say about Education: "Contrary to reports about girls education in the press , the figures obtained from the education sector in Afghanistan, reveal that girls education in rural Afghanistan is increasing. According to a survey conducted by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), almost 80 per cent of the girls schools located in rural areas under the administration of the Islamic State of Afghanistan are operating in full swing. Ms. Pia Karlsson , education advisor at the Education Technical Support Unit ( ETSU) of SCA , said in a recent interview published by the Frontier Post , a Peshawar based English daily that only in Ghazni province, where the Islamic State under the leadership of TIMA has control for the last two years, approximately 85 per cent of the girls are still in schools. Ms. Karlsson says, "The picture outside the cities is totally different."

The SCA which has been supporting elementary education in Afghanistan since 1984, currently supports 422 boys schools, 125 girls schools and 897 mixed schools ( co-education ) in the forms of primary schools and home schools. During the survey , she concentrated on 100 SCA supported girls schools in the nine provinces: Kabul, Kunar , Laghman , Ningarhar, Ghzani , Logar , Paktika, Paktya and Wardak All these provinces are under the administration of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. According to the survey, female attendance was at 94 per cent and of the 7834 girls enrolled, 7341 were found present. More significantly, at least 170 female teachers were found teaching in these schools. Similarly, In Kunduz province, 122 schools are operating with 390 female teachers teaching at the schools. The Islamic State is ready to open girls and boys schools with appropriate foreign assistance."

This is what the Taliban has to say about women: "Health facilities for women have increased 200% during Taliban administration. Prior to the Taliban Islamic Movement's taking control of Kabul, there were 350 beds in all hospitals in Kabul . Currently, there are more than 950 beds for women in exclusive women's hospitals. Some hospitals which have specifically been allocated to women include Rabia Balkhi Hospital, Malali Hospital, Khair Khana Hospital, Indira Gandhi Child Health Hospital, Atta Turk Hospital, Kuwait Red Crescent Hospital, Contagious Disease Hospital, and T.B. Hospital, . Moreover, there are 32 mother and child health clinics. In addition to this, women receive treatment at ICRC and the Sandy Gal Orthopedic Centers. In all these hospitals and clinics, women work as doctors and nurses to provide health services to female patients."

"In Kabul Taliban are giving monthly salaries to 30,000 job free women sitting at home. These are the women who were associated with the anti-Islam mixed system of the Communist and Rabbani era. They had been appointed in offices, colleges and other institutions by the so-called Islamic Government of Rabbani, and were working side by side with men without the Sharee`ah-prescribed purdah (veil)."

"Taliban are also being criticized of suspending the women of Afghanistan from duties, who represent approximately fifty to sixty per cent of the population. These are completely false and fabricated accusations being propagated against the Taliban. Until present day no Taliban representative has hinted at this policy. However. they have certainly said that they would give the women the nights that Allah Ta'ala and his messenger Muhammad Al-Mustafa (peace be upon him) have given them. I would like to say that the rights that Allah Ta'ala and his final Messenger have given to women the followers of western culture can not contemplate. What rights can the west or western systems offer'? "

People have also expressed that the Taliban are against the education for women. This is completely false because they are not against education. However. you must know that the Taliban are a revolutionary government who has brought dear principles. As long as they cannot provide an educational syllabus based on their principles neither males nor females will receive any form of education. When they have prepared their syllabus then both sexes will receive education."

It is never suggested that the depression and the other problems plaguing Afghani women could very well be the result of dire poverty, years of the Soviet war, and then civil war, the bad economy, and the fact that many were left war widows, and can no longer provide food for their families without some sort of International Aid.

Buddhas of Bamiyan

Main article: Buddhas of Bamiyan

In March 2001, the Taliban ordered the destruction of two statues of Buddha carved into cliffsides at Bamiyan, one 38m tall and 1800 years old, the other 53m tall and 1500 years old. The act was condemned by UNESCO and many countries around the world, including Iran.

Relationship with Osama bin Laden

In 1996, the Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan upon the invitation of the Northern Alliance leader Abdur Rabb ur Rasool Sayyaf. When the Taliban came to power, he was able to forge an alliance between the Taliban and his Al-Qaeda organization. This led to rumors in the Western media that he exerted considerable influence on the Taliban leaders.

U.S. invasion

Main article: U.S. invasion of Afghanistan

On September 22, 2001, in the wake of growing international pressure following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the United Arab Emirates and later Saudi Arabia withdrew their recognition of the Taliban as the legal government of Afghanistan, leaving neighboring Pakistan as the only remaining country which recognized them, when the US blamed Taliban for the attack.

The U.S., aided by the United Kingdom and supported by a broad coalition of other world governments, initiated military action against the Taliban in October 2001. The stated intent was to remove the Taliban from power because of the Taliban's refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden for his involvement in the September 11 attacks, and in retaliation for the Taliban's aid to him. The ground war was mainly fought by the Northern Alliance, the remaining elements of the anti-Taliban forces which the Taliban had routed over the previous years.

Mazar-i-Sharif fell to US-Northern Alliance forces on November 9, leading to a cascade of provinces falling with minimal resistance, and many local forces switching sides from the Taliban to the Northern Alliance. On the night of November 12, the Taliban retreated south in an orderly fashion from Kabul. On November 15, they released 8 Western aid workers after 3 months in captivity (see Attacks on humanitarian workers).

The UN Security Council, on January 16, 2002, unanimously established an arms embargo and the freezing of identifiable assets belonging to bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the remaining Taliban.

The Taliban later retreated from Kandahar, and regrouped in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most post-invasion Taliban fighters are new recruits, drawn again from Pakistan's madrassahs(madrassah means "school" in Arabic). The types that are churning Taliban fighters are more traditional Quranic schools. For more on Taliban activities following their fall from power, see [[1].

On December 6 2003, Taliban abducted two Indian workers in southern Afghanistan. On December 20, 2003, the Taliban offered to release them in exchange for 50 militants. Later on December 24, Taliban released them unconditionally.

See also

External link

Further reading