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Who are the Taliban

Written by Venus Aradhya, 15, Washington, USA

How they started

The Taliban gets its name from the Pashto word for ‘students’. They started gaining power in Afghanistan after they rose from Northern Pakistan after soviet troops withdrew. The movement is believed to have appeared first in religious seminaries that preached a hardline form of Sunni Islam which were funded by the Saudi Arabian Government. Their goal and promise made was to restore law and order peacefully with security while enforcing their own Islamic law.

The Soviets were defeated finally, however there were battles waging within the factions over who would take control. This led to the Taliban gaining support due to their goals of peace and were able to take over a majority of the country.

Their harsh rule

In 1996, the Taliban had enforced extremely strict rules to follow their interpretation of the Quran which involved harsh punishments such as mass executions. They took away most of the rights given to women and their right to education. They also destroyed any remnant of other religions such as buddhist temples since they considered them blasphemous. They said it was easier to destroy than build.

Although they had similarities to modern government such as a bureaucracy and ministries, in the end, it was all maintained by their religious beliefs. They did not control the entire country as the northern part remained led by other groups.

Women’s rights with the Taliban

The Taliban believes that the role of women in society should be decreased from their rights. They should not attend school or get a formal education. Women would receive punishment for taking up jobs or education, being seen with a man unmarried, or not being covered. After the Taliban were defeated, women regained rights, however as they continue to take over, these issues return once more.

What happened to the Taliban After their defeat in 2001

The Taliban were able to find shelter in Pakistan while the US worked on hunting down Al Qaeda. While the US claimed Afghanistan was moving towards a democracy as seen in the west, Afghans thought the foreign influence helped corrupt leaders instead. They were able to gain numbers through volunteers, threatening others, and having high pay. They waited until the US lost their patience and decided to leave Afghanistan which is seen now when the US troops pulled out.

What will they do next

The Taliban have so far avoided abuse of the people and guarantee they will be safe. Although their control so far has been restrained, due to past examples of brutality, many refugees are desperate to leave to a safer place. Thousands of Afghans are trying to flee as they are unsure of the ‘safety’ promises the Taliban is giving. They smile out of the belief that the Taliban are dangerous, not peaceful.

Why do groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban do terrorist activities?

These groups corporatize terrorism to make it a means to gain their needs in the ends. ISIS, for example, would bargain for things such as drawing American Troops out of Saudi Arabia. In the end, their goal was to further their radical belief of the hardline Islamic state which could be accomplished through terrorsim to break down barriers. They want devotion and territory, which is furthered by these attacks. In the end they are able to further their beliefs over the land they've captured. In the 9/11 attacks, western culture was viewed as a threat to their beliefs which is why the terrorism occured. After all, a majority of wars started by humankind are due to beliefs.

The difference between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban

All the groups follow an extreme version of Sunni Islam, however the Al-Qaeda follows a literal translation of the Karan while the Taliban prefer traditional ways of Afghanistan. The Al-Qaeda tends to take extreme efforts through terrorism to further their goals as they were the ones behind the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban on the other hand have an end goal of peace but use extreme laws and tactics to force their people into what they believe. This is seen through laws imposed on women. Although they follow the same beliefs, their interpretation is what leads the differences.



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