The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country. 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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)
- 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 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
- 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).
- 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).
- Iran is now supporting the Taliban, and in the Middle Eastern view of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
- Michael Mullen, "Top US Military Officer Says Iran Threat Must be Addressed". Voice of America. 31 July 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
- 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.