Who are the Taliban?

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The Taliban, a Sunni Muslim movement dominated by Pashtun ethnic identity, controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The group’s extremely conservative interpretation of Islam and Sharia led to limited women’s rights, cultural suppression, and high unemployment. The Taliban also supported terrorism and contributed to the expansion of the opium market in Afghanistan. In 2001, American troops invaded Afghanistan, ending the Taliban’s control.

The Taliban or Taliban are a Sunni Muslim movement dominated by people with Pashtun ethnic identity that controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Although the group’s move from government in 2001 greatly destabilized the organization, it still has active members, including people from other parts of the world who traveled to Afghanistan to support his work. During the Taliban’s years of control over Afghanistan, most governments around the world did not recognize it as a legitimate government, due to concerns about human rights abuses.

The name comes from the Arabic word talib, which means “student”. The organization was founded by Mullah Mohammed Omar, a highly enigmatic individual who went into hiding in 2001 after the organization’s fall from power. Taliban members were originally religious students who have developed a very conservative interpretation of Islam and Sharia, or Islamic law. During Afghanistan’s long and bitter civil war, members of the group began a slow rise to power and eventually took control of most of Afghanistan, vowing to end infighting between various gangs of mujahideen, or groups of soldiers led by warlords, to make the country a safer place.

Initially, the Taliban’s rise to power was indeed greeted with enthusiasm by many Afghans. The group said it would restore Muslim values ​​in Afghanistan, winning the support of many Muslim nations, and pledged to end the violence. However, the regime quickly hardened. The movement’s extremely conservative interpretation of Muslim traditions and values ​​has become a major stumbling block for many people in the country.

Under the Taliban, women’s rights were severely limited, and the “modesty police” enforced strict rules on what women were allowed to wear, study and do. Men were expected to grow traditional beards, and cultural expression in Afghanistan became virtually non-existent. Afghans were not allowed to play music, fly kites, clap at sporting events, or engage in a variety of other activities permitted in other Muslim nations. Unemployment skyrocketed under the Taliban, greatly increasing social unrest.

In addition to being extremely conservative, the Taliban has also drawn global ire by supporting terrorism, both directly through training camps and indirectly through financial assistance. The group has also contributed to the expansion of the opium market in Afghanistan, exporting this agricultural product by the ton. Under the depressed economy, some Afghans turned to opium to make a living, leading Afghanistan’s opium exports to account for about 75% of the global supply by the 2000s.

In 2001, the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan ended with an invasion led by American troops. Though the organization was quickly routed, troops remained in Afghanistan to deal with insurgents and the low-level civil war that erupted after the government fell. These troops have also sought out Taliban members to bring them to justice for human rights abuses and alleged war crimes.

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