The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan governing the country since 2021. It waged a successful war (an insurgency, or jihad) from 2001 to 2021. From 1996 to 2001, it held power in Afghanistan and enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, of which the international community and leading Muslims have been highly critical. Until his death in 2013, Mullah Mohammed Omar was the supreme commander and spiritual leader of the Taliban. Mullah Akhtar Mansour was elected as his replacement in 2015. Since 2016, the Taliban's leader has been Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.
A - E edit
- When the Taliban asserted their control over Kunduz, they claimed to be bringing law and order and Shari'a to the city. But everything they've done has violated both. I don't know who can rescue us from this situation.
- Amnesty International, "Afghanistan: Harrowing accounts emerge of the Taliban's reign of terror in Kunduz", 1 October 2015.
- Pakistan has repeatedly denied that it was the architect of the Taliban enterprise.
But there is little doubt that many Afghans who initially joined the movement were educated in madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan.
Pakistan was also one of only three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which recognised the Taliban when they were in power in Afghanistan from the mid-1990s until 2001.
It was also the last country to break diplomatic ties with the Taliban.
- “Who are the Taliban?”, BBC, 26 May 2016
- Look for a moment at the Taliban regime. It is undemocratic. That goes without saying. There is no sport allowed, or television or photography. No art or culture is permitted. All other faiths, all other interpretations of Islam are ruthlessly suppressed. Those who practice their faith are imprisoned. Women are treated in a way almost too revolting to be credible. First driven out of university; girls not allowed to go to school; no legal rights; unable to go out of doors without a man. Those that disobey are stoned. There is now no contact permitted with western agencies, even those delivering food. The people live in abject poverty. It is a regime founded on fear and funded on the drugs trade. The biggest drugs hoard in the world is in Afghanistan, controlled by the Taliban. Ninety per cent of the heroin on British streets originates in Afghanistan. The arms the Taliban are buying today are paid for with the lives of young British people buying their drugs on British streets. That is another part of their regime that we should seek to destroy.
- Tony Blair, Address to the 2001 Labour Party Conference, (7 October 2001)
- The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda's vision for the world. Afghanistan's people have been brutalized -- many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough. The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid -- but we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder. And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.
- George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress (20 September 2001)
- Well, I was myself recently also in Afghanistan, and I sat down with the mothers in these displacement camps around Kabul. And I asked them, “What about the future? What do you think of the future?” And they told me very clearly, “We believe we will starve and freeze to death this harsh winter, unless there is an enormous aid operation coming through and unless there is a public sector again that is able to provide services.” It is as acute as that. Forty million civilians were left behind when the NATO countries went for the door in August.
- Money should not go to the military political group called the Taliban that took power by force. The money should go to the people, and it is possible. So, number one, there has to be trust funds, as we call it, that is held by U.N. agencies, that funnel money directly to the hospitals, that you just showed, where people are dying at the moment. It can go straight to the teachers that were on the payroll of the World Bank previously, can go straight to them. So, the money can go through us, international organizations, straight to the people.
Secondly, unfreeze those funds that will enable banks to function again. At the moment, we cannot even buy relief items in Afghanistan. We have to ship them over, take them over from Pakistan and Iran, which means that employment is dying in Afghanistan.
And thirdly, donors, come down from the fence. See that we are there. We are reliable channels for funding. The money will go to the people. Transmit funding, not just come with pledges. This will not become Switzerland in a long time. You have to share the risk with us to save lives this winter.
- Under Taliban rule, the remaining hundreds of Hindus in Kandahar, who had taken to inconspicuous dress in order not to stand out among their Muslim neighbours, were forced to wear a yellow strip to make themselves recognizable.
- Koenraad Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, in: Elst, K. The Problem with Secularism (2007)
- We strongly condemn the events that happened in the United States at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We share the grief of all those who have lost their nearest and dearest in these incidents. All those responsible must be brought to justice. We want them to be brought to justice, and we want America to be patient and careful in their actions.
- Embassy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Islamabad (12 September 2001)
- As the Taliban held some talks with the US, it should hold these talks with Turkey much more comfortably. Because Turkey has nothing that contradicts their beliefs.
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 07/22/2021 , attributed in Turkey “Has Nothing That Contradicts The Taliban’s Beliefs”
F - L edit
- We are deeply troubled by the Taliban’s continual repression of its people. Particularly painful, with its unavoidable connections to history, is the order requiring all Hindus in Afghanistan to wear an identity label ontheir clothing. This is an extension of the Taliban’s policy of religious intolerance and a stark reminder of the exclusionary tactics employed by the Nazis as a precursor to genocide. The Taliban rulers in Afghanistan have adopted a policy that more than 60 years ago spelled the beginning of the end for six million Jews. The Holocaust began with the ostracizing of the Jewish people and their forced separation from society, which can be the only purpose of labeling "others" as outsiders. In Nazi-occupied Europe, the badge of shame was the yellow Star of David worn as a patch. In Afghanistan, the Taliban rulers today are ordering Hindus to wear a similar label to enable Muslims to identify them. This is a clearly a policy founded on intolerance, mistrust and religious hatred. One would hope that we have learned from history. Following the recent desecration ofstatutes in Afghanistan, it has now progressed to marking people. We cannot help but ask, "What comes next?" We call on the international community and all religious leaders to immediately speak out against this practice.
- The U.N. should refuse to allow the Taliban to represent Afghanistan,” Haley said. “The U.N. already has a terrible track record when it comes to giving human rights abusers a seat at the table, but this would be a new low. A barbaric group like the Taliban that harbors some of the world’s worst terrorists and sets off suicide bombs in marketplaces has no place in an organization founded to maintain international peace and security.
- The Taliban at least brought peace to the country.… Where were they [Hollywood personalities] when all these women were being raped, when women were being killed because they were not following the Muslim Brotherhood? Where were they before the war when women didn't have rights? Where were they throughout the war when women were rotting in the refugee camps? For nearly 20 years in Afghanistan there has been no law, no order. We lost almost 2 million people to the Russians. The women don't want to be saved.… Finally they have peace, and people in America find religion on the issue of women in Afghanistan?
- Leila Helms, in Washington Post (30 March 1999) "A Cause Unveiled" by Sharon Waxman
- No possible future government in Kabul can be worse than the Taliban, and no thinkable future government would allow the level of Al Qaeda gangsterism to recur. So the outcome is proportionate and congruent with international principles of self-defense.
- Christopher Hitchens, "The Ends of War", The Nation, 21 December 2001
- Like Hamas in Gaza, the Taliban in southern Afghanistan are masters at shielding themselves behind the civilian population and then melting in among them for protection. Women and children are trained and equipped to fight, collect intelligence, and ferry arms and ammunition between battles. Female suicide bombers are increasingly common. The use of women to shield gunmen as they engage NATO forces is now so normal it is deemed barely worthy of comment. Schools and houses are routinely booby-trapped. Snipers shelter in houses deliberately filled with women and children.
- Richard Kemp in "The UN Goldstone Commission: A Lesson in Farcical Hypocrisy, Defense Update. By David Eshel". Defense-update.com. Retrieved (September 2, 2012).
- When it comes to the next phase of the struggle, all eyes are on Afghanistan. Al Qaeda, ISIS, and a number of other groups maintain operations in the country, but they are overshadowed by the larger conflict playing out between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which are both struggling for control of the country in the wake of the United States' withdrawal. In 2020, the United States and the Taliban reached a peace agreement in which the Taliban promised "to prevent any group or individual, including al-Qa'ida, from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies." Will the Taliban make good on their promise? Judging by the Abbottabad papers, not all Taliban members were equal in the eyes of al Qaeda, which had long suspected that some Taliban factions had been seeking rapprochement with the United States. As early as 2007, Atiyah wrote to bin Laden that "forces within the Taliban are distancing themselves from al Qaeda to elude the terrorism accusation." And in 2010, Zawahiri expressed alarm in a letter to bin Laden that the Taliban seemed "psychologically prepared" to accept a deal that would render al Qaeda impotent. Owing to the Taliban's factionalism since 9/11, it may be difficult for the group's leaders to enforce compliance with the terms of their agreement with the United States. The Taliban's factionalism may prove to be an intractable problem for the United States. But al Qaeda's experiences after 9/11 suggest that the same factionalism will also complicate matters for terrorists seeking refuge in Afghanistan. Even a sympathetic host regime is no guarantee of safe haven. Bin Laden learned that lesson the hard way, and Baghdadi later found out that controlling territory was even harder. But Washington and its allies have come to realize (or at least they should have) that an open-ended war on terrorism is futile and that a successful counterterrorism policy must address the legitimate political grievances that al Qaeda claims to champion--for example, U.S. support for dictatorships in the Middle East. Washington cannot quite claim victory against al Qaeda and its ilk, which retain the ability to inspire deadly, if small-scale, attacks. The past two decades, however, have made clear just how little jihadi groups can hope to accomplish. They stand a far better chance of achieving eternal life in paradise than of bringing the United States to its knees.
- Nelly Lahoud. "Bin Laden's Catastrophic Success: Al Qaeda Changed the World--but Not in the Way It Expected." Foreign Affairs, vol. 100, no. 5, Sept.-Oct. 2021, pp. 10+.
M - Q edit
- America is a big country — they need to have a big heart.
- Amir Khan Mutaqi, the foreign minister in Afghanistan’s new Taliban-run Cabinet. Sep 2021 Taliban calls on US to show ‘heart,’ thanks world for $1.2 billion in aid
- Similar to the October 22, 1996 Intelligence Information Report (IIR), this IIR reiterates how "Pakistan's ISI is heavily involved in Afghanistan," but also details different roles various ISI officers play in Afghanistan. Stating that Pakistan uses sizable numbers of its Pashtun-based Frontier Corps in Taliban-run operations in Afghanistan, the document clarifies that, "these Frontier Corps elements are utilized in command and control; training; and when necessary – combat. Elements of Pakistan's regular army force are not used because the army is predominantly Punjabi, who have different features as compared to the Pashtun and other Afghan tribes."
According to the document, Pakistan's Frontier Corps provide some of the combat training in Kandahar or Herat provided to Pakistani madrassa students that come to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. The parents of these students apparently know nothing regarding their child's military involvement with the Taliban "until their bodies are brought back to Pakistan."
- "Documents Detail Years of Pakistani Support for Taliban, Extremists", National Security Archive, 2007.
- By 2007, the UN’s Afghanistan Opium Survey found that the country’s then-record opium harvest of approxinamtely 8,200 tonnes provided 93% of the world’s illicit heroin supply. Significantly, the UN stated that Taliban guerrillas have “started to extract from the drug economy resources for arms, logistics, and militia pay”. In 2008, the rebels reportedly collected $425m in “taxes” levied on the opium traffic, and with every harvest they made enough funds to recruit a new crop of young fighters from the villages. Each of those prospective guerrillas could count on monthly payments of $300 – far above the wages they would have made as agricultural laborers.
- Alfred W McCoy, “How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan”, The Guardian, (9 Jan 2018).
- Capitalism’s gratuitous wars and sanctioned greed have jeopardized the planet and filled it with refugees. Much of the blame for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the government of the United States. Seventeen years after invading Afghanistan, after bombing it into the ‘stone age’ with the sole aim of toppling the Taliban, the US government is back in talks with the very same Taliban. In the interim it has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to war and sanctions, a whole region has descended into chaos, ancient cities—pounded into dust. Amidst the desolation and the rubble, a monstrosity called Daesh (ISIS) has been spawned. It has spread across the world, indiscriminately murdering ordinary people who had absolutely nothing to do with America’s wars. Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged, and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the US Government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state.
- “Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.”
- co-founder of the Taliban, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, quoted from Sep 2021