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Emergence of Taliban rule in Afghanistan

The Taliban Militia's rule in Afghanistan is recognised only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 14:39 IST

Talib is an Arabic word meaning "one who is seeking" but the word has evolved to mean "someone who is seeking religious knowledge".

The Taliban Militia rules approximately two thirds of Afghanistan. It was established in 1994, shortly after the Pakistani government announced its intention to establish a trade route through Afghanistan to Central Asia.

At this time, Afghanistan was in a state of chaos and under mujahideen rule. The Taliban Militia's aim was to disarm Afghan warlords, return law and order to the country and enforce Islamic law over a united Afghanistan.

By February 1995 the Taliban Militia had captured half of the southern provinces of Afghanistan from mujahideen rebels and in September 1996 it took Kabul, the capital city, establishing a strict Islamic rule of law.

Initially, Taliban Militia rule was welcomed. It was successful at restoring law and order and reducing corruption.

However, the Taliban Militia has no desire to mold Afghanistan into a centralised state. It has no established foreign, economic or infrastructure policies. As a result, Afghanistan's standard of living has declined.

There are high levels of unemployment, hunger, malnutrition and disease. A high percentage of the population, especially those in urban areas, rely on foreign aid provided by the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations for their daily existence.

Furthermore, the United Nations and other international communities have condemned the Taliban Militia's enforcement of their extreme interpretation of Islamic law and subsequent human rights violations.

These violations include banning television, music and cinema, (considered Western decadences), public amputations and executions; closure of girls' schools; imposing restrictions on women's work, freedom of movement and dress.

The Taliban Militia's rule in Afghanistan is recognised only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

On October 10, 1999, the United States government imposed political and economic sanctions on Afghanistan for the Taliban Militia's refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden—the Saudi billionaire thought to be the mastermind behind the August 7, 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the September 11, 2001, bombings of the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.

Mullah Mohammed Omar, a 35-year-old cleric who fought against the mujahideen, founded the Taliban Militia in the Maiwand district of Southern Afghanistan.

Influential traders in Pakistan financed their early campaigns. The initial membership of the Taliban Militia was approximately 30 former students of madrassas who had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The Taliban militia was also supported by the madrassas in the Afghani refugee camps, businessmen and religious leaders with connections to the Pakistani religious party, Jamiat-I-Ulema Islami. The Taliban Militia has grown to approximately 10,000-15,000 men.

While the Taliban Militia came into existence in 1994, the Taliban are a group of Islamic fundamentalists who live in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Central Asia. Their origins have been traced back to the eighth century AD.

First Published: May 01, 2006 14:39 IST