History of the Taliban Essay

Abstract

The Taliban is made of Pushtuns who occupy the Southern region of Afghanistan. This militia group operates on an extremist philosophy and is generally guided by the Koran by which they interpret literally. The Taliban have been responsible for several terrorism acts that have caused massive destruction in many regions across the world. Many countries, especially in the West, consider the Taliban a threat to them because of their extremist philosophies. This paper therefore seeks to explore the history of the Taliban so as to find out how they came into existence, how they have been able to stay alive and also take a look at the effects that its existence has caused to the world as a whole.

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History of the Taliban

Introduction

            The Taliban are inhabitants of Afghanistan, a watershed area between the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, China and Iran. Afghan population is made up of several ethnic groups, the Pushtuns, who occupy the Southern region making up the largest ethnic group. The Pushtuns are further subdivided into two groups; the Durrani and the Ghilzai. The Northern region on the other hand is occupied by the Tajik, which makes up the second largest ethnic group. The third largest group is made up of the Hazaras who occupy the mountain region of Central Afghanistan (BNET, 2001).

            The Taliban are in control of over 90% of Afghanistan’s territory, whereas its leadership consists predominantly of the Durrani Pushtuns who originated from the Kandhar area. However, some reports still point out that the Taliban controls only less than 80% of Afghanistan territory and they only rule the other regions indirectly or as allies (BNET, 2001).

            The Taliban operate in opposition to the Northern Alliance, which consists of various ethnic groups and sects. The Northern Alliance is led by Ahmad Shah Masood, the warrior who took an active role in the war against the Soviets. The Taliban therefore continue to fight the Northern Alliance, both sides aiming to take total control of the entire Afghanistan territory (BNET, 2001).

            The Taliban continues to get support from Pakistan, who assists logistically, through providing them with men to reinforce their armies as well as the material to be used during their operations. Further still, the Taliban get financial support from private bodies which are channeled through the Gulf Co-operation Council States. These States include Saudi Arabia together with the United Arab Emirates States (BNET, 2001).

 How they came into existence

            After the Soviet troops had been withdrawn from Pakistan, the Afghan refugees did not rush into returning to Afghanistan. Subsequently, many of the Taliban Militia had been born while still in refuge with many of them attending theological schools. The Taliban name means students. With the peace instability that was ongoing in Afghanistan, many Talibs  felt that the international community gave their country a deaf ear hence deciding that only they would be able to bring peace and stability to the country. This was done by establishing of clear goals which did not have any clear means on how they would be achieved (Qureshi, 2008).

            Consisting of students of Islamic knowledge movement, the Taliban came into existence in the year 1994. This was shortly after the Pakistan government declared its aim of setting up a trade route through Afghanistan to Central Asia. It was during this time that Afghanistan was in turmoil state which in turn disrupted trade activities in Pakistan. As a result, the Taliban militia came into the picture by aiming at returning peace, law and order to its country by disarming the Afghan war lords and by enforcing the Islamic law which was geared towards realigning the social life with the Islamic customs in Afghanistan (Sergei, 2007).

            However, within a few months after its birth, the Taliban already had over 10,000 who had been motivated by its goals and achievements in disarming war lords and maintenance of law and order in the country. Additionally, the militia managed to open access routes for food trucks which had been invaded and closed by the Hikmetyar’s forces (Sergei, 2007).

            Consequently, by early 1996, aside from taking control of other territories, the Taliban succeeded by taking control of the country’s capital city and establishing a strict Islamic Law. As well, in 1995, the group managed to capture half of the southern provinces of Afghanistan from the mujahideen rebels whose ruling had initially led to chaos and widespread corruption in the country. As a result of their efforts in restoring law and order in the fragmented country, the Taliban rule was welcomed by many in Afghanistan (Sergei, 2007).

            By this time, the Taliban had successfully managed to capture many territories despite joined efforts from their non supporters which included the then official president for Afghanistan. These non supporting groups which effortlessly fought by defending the capture of their territories included the Uzbeks, Hazaras and Jalalabadis among others. During these constant fights, over 2000 Taliban Militia were captured and executed by being buried alive, chocked to death and thrown into wells. On the other hand, the Taliban militia revenged for the deaths of their colleagues by executing most Hazaras found in many cities (Sergei, 2007).

            However, with an attribution to a no established economic, foreign or infrastructure policies in Afghanistan, the living standards of the Afghan people decline. This was characterized by poor living conditions, lack of employment, hunger and diseases which led to many Afghans relying on humanitarian organizations for provision of food and other basic needs for their existence (BBC, 2000).

            Moreover, this suffering or violation of human rights was blamed on the Taliban’s enforcement and extreme interpretation of the Islamic law.  Some of the rules as defined by this Islamic extremists included the closing of girl schools, an inference with the freedom of movement and dressing, public executions and imposing of restrictions of women’s work among others. As a result, the Taliban Militia was unable to win an international recognition due to its cruel policies that also inconvenienced many Afghans (Sergei, 2007).

Leaders of the Organisation

            For a long time, only three nations recognize the Taliban and their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar as the lawful government of Afghanistan. Mullah Mohammed Omar is the head of Taliban movement. As a result of negative issues associated with the Taliban, may of its leaders are still at large with many having been killed under different circumstances. As one of the organization’s leaders, Mullah Ghausuddin was killed in Afghanistan’s province of Zabul. He was Zabul’s leading Taliban commander and led many strikes against the government. Other leaders include Mullah Janan also a Taliban commander believed to have plotted attacks on government buildings (Daily Times, 2003).

            Having been offered top positions by the United States, Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani, also a Taliban leader is believed to be the real hope in leading the movement against the led forces by the US government in Afghanistan. He was the only non Taliban to be given the ministerial position as a result of his support to the Taliban. Additionally, the movement has members in its two kinds of Taliban namely the Taliban consisting of diehard students mostly of ages 23 to 40 who gave up their studies to fight for their country and the non students who accepted the Taliban movement and who are also very loyal to their leader Mullah Omar (Asia Times, 2004).

            Consequently, these members went on to being given various positions in the Taliban regime. More over, with Taliban’s shattered network, some of these leaders have since become skeptical on the organization’s ability to take on the powerful countries and are very influential in helping to bridge the existing gaps between the Taliban and the United States (Asia Times, 2004).

            With the increased pressure on the Taliban by the United States, which has led to a disintegration and relocation of the organization to the Southern mountains in Afghanistan, most of the Taliban leaders have been able to escape the American dragnet and remaining free   since the Pakistan and Afghan authorities lack the political will to arrest them. Consequently, many of these leaders on the wanted list are able to live openly having gone back to their villages by slipping across the Pakistan border (Carroll, 2001).

            Moreover, secret deals between the Northern Alliance commanders and the Taliban leaders have also paved way to the escape of the Taliban leaders ahead of the United States Special Forces thus enabling them get away, disappear with no trace and also giving them the confidence of not being found. According to a former founding member of the Taliban who served as a deputy interior minister, Mullah Almaj Khaksar, many of the Taliban leaders can only be arrested if there a political will to do so. As well, most of the organization’s leaders are captured but freed later when they agree to surrender their men (Carroll, 2001).

            Some of the leaders willing to surrender their men include the former culture and education minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, Noor Muhammad Saqid and Adul Kabir among others. Other official leaders of the Taliban organization include a Taliban commander Anwar Dangar, Haji Gulalai who was the intelligence chief, Mohammad Tayyab Agha who is the spokesman for Taliban leader Mullah Omar and Nooruddin Turabi, a former justice leader (Carroll, 2001).

            Among the top officials who were captured during fights include Mullah Fazel Mohammad Mazloom, Taliban’s former chief of staff, a former deputy of defense minister only known as Beradar and a commander named Abdul Razaq Nafez who disappeared with no trace. The loyal tribal chief to the Taliban, Naquibullah Alokozai is known to arrange for most escapes of many Taliban leaders from Kandahar with Dr. Mohammad Hanif being the Taliban spokesman.  However, locations of most of the Taliban leaders have not been pin pointed accurately (Carroll, 2001).

            The Taliban leaders are also known to lead their troops in fights against whom they consider to be enemies. These leaders include Jallad Khan a ruthless Taliban tribal group leader who vowed to lead an estimated 400 gun men in the revenge against the American troops who had invaded Afghanistan by creating problems for the American countries. This is despite some Afghans being believed to work together with America (CBS, 2002).

Areas in which the Taliban exist

            Most Taliban members and its leaders exist in Afghan and Pakistan since their governments lack the political will to make their arrests. In Afghanistan, they live openly in their villages with others living in near the Pakistan borders or within the country. However, most of them are always able to escape arrests in good time as they are always tipped by their tribal leaders and Northern Alliance commanders (Carroll, 2001).

            Moreover, despite the general notion that many of them are hiding in caves or holes, most Taliban live in very luxurious homes in Pakistan with some having entered through smuggling routes. As well, their open existence in these places can be attributed to the lack of a good political will to make their arrests with some being detained in improvised jails. Other areas where the Taliban exist include Kajai in the Hel-mand province just north of Kandahar in Afghanistan where leaders like Dadullah live.  (Carroll, 2001).

            Some of the cities where some Taliban officials exist in Pakistan include the city of Peshawar and the south of Quetta where Taliban leaders like the former culture and education minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi and former governor of Nangahar province Abdul Kabir reside in fine villas. Consequently, the intelligence chief of the city of Kandahar accused the Pakistani officials for providing refuge to the Taliban Additionally, other Taliban leaders including its supreme leader Mullah Omar are believed to live in Pakistan with the others fleeing to Kandahar having fled the American dragnet (Carroll, 2001).

            Most places where the Taliban exist are borders or cities with many Taliban sympathizers. Additionally, other Pakistani official have since rejected such claims of Taliban existence in Pakistan. As a result, official confirmations on where Taliban exist have since been hindered with others considering such claims as propaganda. For instance, Taliban’s former interior minister Abdul Razaq was once believed to exist at the border town of Chaman a claim which was later said to be incorrect by Pakistan official by stating that Abdul Razaq actual location was Spin Boldak in Afghanistan (Carroll, 2001).

            Some Taliban also exist in the Loghar province with some leaders like Taliban’s former foreign minister Abdur Rahman Zahed being living there. However, establishing the existence of Taliban may also be hindered since many of them give false impressions on where they live. For example, Abdur Rahman Zahed gave a false impression on his existence by creating the notion that he was in Pakistan when he had in fact returned to Longhar province in Afghanistan (Carroll, 2001).

            As well, regardless of reports of his existence in Pakistan, the former Taliban defense minister is also believed to live in Kandahar having fled into the mountains of Kandahar (Carroll, 2001).  Furthermore, Taliban also exited in caves in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan which saw an invasion by the United States in a bid to drive them out from the area. The US thus recruited other Afghans who they paid and trained to fight in these mountains. The US also did this as they aimed at ensuring that the Taliban surrender or die while still in hiding in the caves they had perceived as safe (McCarthy, 2002).

             The Taliban is also believed to exist in the remote Hindu Kush Mountains in Pakistan where some Taliban fighters died during an air attack. In addition, the Taliban are also said to exist in the Spinkai Raghzai area and North and South Waziristan regions near the Afghan border. As a result of establishing where most of them are located, many have been killed with other fleeing, disappearing with no trace and being abducted (ABC News, 2007).

            The Taliban also exist in Safi tehsil hideouts of Mohmand Agency. Also, they are believed to exist in various areas of Safi, Kabal, Chagmali, Charbagh and Swat. Some Taliban leaders also got injured when still in these areas after bombings and include Maulana Azmatullah, a Taliban commander who was injured on a roadside bombing in Chagmali area (Daily Times, 2008).

What drives Taliban?

            Taliban name means seekers of truth in Arabic. The organization first drew the world’s attention in the year 1994 when it was employed by Pakistan to protect the country’s trade convoy.  As time passed, their popularity grew as they were known to fight corruption. This organization has had a strict interpretation of the Islamic law which has also been termed as gross by many other scholars (Bowman, 2001).

            In their interpretation of the Islamic law, the organization defined that women are not supposed to work while including other restriction which made it impossible for Afghan women to seek medical attention. Their interpretation of the Islamic law has also led to their own way of interpreting the Koran which has in turn driven them into doing what they consider right. Moreover, despite their victories in military wars in Afghanistan, the Taliban have to date not been able to achieve the international recognition that they desire (Leigh, 2006, p.1).

            Aside from the aforementioned reasons into that led to the existence of the Taliban like a quest for law and order in Afghanistan and ensuring that the Islamic laws are adhered to, the Taliban is driven by a number of treasons. One of the major drives is as their recognition and acceptance of the holy war which is also known as the jihad where the Taliban use jihad as a way of ensuring that justice is served to all Muslims, that the rules of daily life are followed and in fighting of their enemies (Pipes, 2002).

            According to the Koran, jihad means the holy way of fighting in the name of Allah in an attempt to make Islam more superior by ensuring that the territories ruled by Muslims expand more than the non Muslim territories. Holy war is recognized as one of the most important fundamental in Islam.  As a result of jihad, the sense of territorial expansion has always been the central aspect of Taliban life. Hence, holy war has driven the Taliban actions (Pipes, 2002).

            Despite many Muslims believing that Jihad is not legitimate, the Taliban believe that when the jihad is legitimate, then no war should be lost as Allah would give help to the persons involved in the jihads. With this driving Taliban into fighting for what they believe to be right, jihad cannot be declared against their fellow Muslims with all Muslims being indebted into joining and most carrying out suicide attacks on their targets (Shahzad, 2006).

            Another example of a suicide attack occurred in the year 2000 and organized by the Al-Qaeda using a small suicide boat, an estimated 17 people died with 47 others being injured as a result of the Aden harbor bombing in Yemen. Out of the participants who organized the bombing, only 2 died after they crashed into the USS Cole. The attack occurred at a refueling platform where having spotted the small boat, the ship’s crew believed that the approaching boat was a garbage boat. As well, this attack took place when Yemen was believed to be at a high threat level. However, if compared to the September 11 attacks, the attack only caused a minor damage (Dudziak, 2003, pp. 38-39).

            The concept of just war or the jihad is protected in the Koran texts where its states that Islamic believers faced by war which is made by unbelievers are permitted to fight in the name of Allah if they feel oppressed. In other words, jihad is allowed in the Koran if it is done in truth and in the cause of God against attackers but within a specific limit in revenging (Lari, 2008).

            According to the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, his organization would have been able to form a real government if it had achieved full control over the whole court and attributes most of the problems they had to foreign enemies which included sanctions on the Taliban which in turn strengthened anti Taliban forces.  The leader believes that Taliban’s motivation for the present rebellion is the Muslim people attributing this to the fact that no nation can accept dictations by other people most of whom are greedy who do not care about the problems that affect such countries (Khan, 2007).

            For instance, one of the factors that drive the Taliban was evident when there emerged a dangerous row between Afghan commanders and the United States troops who had prepared to invade and drive out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from their hold out in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan. American planes were used to bomb the mountains where the Taliban were said to be hiding. This intense fight by the US subsequently led to the risk of a bitter conflict between warlords from rival ethnic groups of the Taliban mainly in response to the fight which saw an estimated 600 Afghans trained and paid by the US to fight in the mountains (McCarthy, 2002).

            Subsequently, this led to the organization vowing to revenge on countries like the United States whose troops had invaded Afghanistan where many of its people and tribes would put up a strong resistance to the Americans until they are able to defeat the American troops by creating various problems for the United States. Moreover, this is despite the fact that the Taliban disappeared from the battlefields for a long time (CBS, 2002).

Who they are a threat to

            The Taliban are a constant threat to the Western nations as they oppose the interests shown by these countries in their Afghan territory. For instance, the Taliban have issued threats to attack Denmark, Australia, USA, Spain, France, Israel as well as the UN who are setting up troops in Afghanistan. These countries have been actively involved in the fight to end terrorism yet the Taliban remained bothered by their moves. Consequently, the Taliban group demands that these nations withdraw from Afghanistan or else their interests both within and out of Afghanistan will be attacked (Expatica, 2008).

Afghan women are also constantly threatened by the Taliban since they believe that the equality being created is influenced by programs from the west which they do not support. It is said that when they ruled Afghanistan, the Taliban demanded that women should stay at home and girls were not allowed to go to school (Vogt, 2008).

Besides, women were only allowed to leave the house in the company of a male family member and in that case, she should cover her whole body by putting on a burqa.  However, the Afghan government has tried to back up the rights of Afghan women by giving them more opportunities away from the home yet this is being received with a lot of resentment from the Taliban (Vogt, 2008).

            While the Afghan government is opening up opportunities for women to be part of prominent positions, the women who agree to take up these positions only seem to be putting their lives on the line. Several Afghan women report that even after being ousted, the Taliban still continue to threaten them of violence. Female government officials receive regular threats from the Taliban. This group has been responsible for the gunning down of assassination of a policewoman in 2006 as well as the death of a women’s affairs official (Vogt, 2008).

            Afghan women in prominent positions also report that once they fall in the hands of the Taliban, it is definite that they will be killed. Therefore, women in such positions have to ensure that their security is always maintained. What is more, the Taliban also target girls because they want to show that the programs supported by the Western countries have only failed. This is why in November this year; the group even sprayed acid and water bottles at female students and teachers on their way to school (Vogt, 2008).

            Further still, the Taliban are a threat to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. This is because the Taliban is against the principles guiding the Northern Alliance. As a result therefore, the two factions are constantly at war. Consequently, this destabilizes the country as a whole since the two fighting sides mean that Afghan people can not live in peace (Rashid, 1999).

            What is more, the Taliban are also posing a threat to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan together with Uzbekistan which are former members of the Soviet Central Asian republics. These countries remained threatened because of their weak systems. For instance, their borders are porous, their security systems weak while their economic situation is also torn. Due to these weak systems, it means therefore that in case the Taliban defeat the Northern alliance then these countries will have to face an influx of refugees from Afghanistan whereas drugs and weapons will also flood these regions thereby weakening their economy and systems even further (Rashid, 1999).

            Apart from these regions, the Taliban are also a threat to Iran that has been opposing their existence. When the Taliban were at war with the Soviets, the Iranians supported the Shiite Hazaras who were against the Taliban. Further still, Iran is still offering support to the Taliban rivals, the Northern Alliance. This is why the Taliban have also been in wrangles with Iran (Rashid, 1999).

            For instance, in Mazar-i-Sharif, about 11 Iranian diplomats were executed by the Taliban in 1998. To get back, Iran threatened to invade Afghanistan even though the war was escaped narrowly before it could start. However, the Taliban are still in custody of several Iranian nonconformists and have also given sanctuary to Ahl-e-Sunnah Wal Jamaat which consists of Sunni Iranians who are against the Tehran regime. Besides, the Taliban have been approached by leaders of Mujahideen-e-Khalq which is the main Iranian opposition, to offer them an operational base (Rashid, 1999).

            On the other hand, China is also threatened by the operations of the Taliban. This is evident from the influx of arms and explosives in various regions in China which are used to fight Chinese security forces. These arms are said to come from Afghanistan. Further still, China had also been involved in the attempt to curb the influx of heroin provided by the Taliban into China’s Xinjaing. This is because the heroin was a funding source for the Islamist nationalists who in opposition to Beijing. What is more, the Taliban still provide sanctuaries for fugitive Uighurs that is also a threat to china (Rashid, 1999).

Philosophies of the organization

            The Taliban, just like many other groups operates on certain philosophies that guide their activities. Generally, the Taliban philosophy is a very conservative form of Islam. First, the group operates with the philosophy that “very little about the world is safe” (Clavier, 2008). With this concept in mind, the Taliban tend to live cautiously in this world that they consider unsafe even though they do this by fighting. Besides, the group also operates on the philosophy that “people must be kept from straying into sin at all costs.” (Clavier, 2008).

            Further still the Taliban are known to operate on an extremist philosophy characteristic of many Islamic groups. This implies that their attitude and behavior are influenced by an obsession, fanaticism or extremism. Their actions are not considered moderate; they act on what is either extreme on the right or extreme on the left. This is evident from the way they threaten the Afghan women who do not seem to adhere to their laid out rules. What is more the Taliban expect that Afghans need to adhere strictly to the Islamic regulations that have been set (Vogt, 2008).

            Furthermore, the Taliban are also introverts and are distant from what are considered mainstream cultures. Besides, the group’s commitment to their way of life is deeply rooted. This implies that another philosophy guiding the Taliban is the firm determination to avoid being entrapped in the modern technology as well as the Western way of life. This explains why the group is constantly fighting the western countries while also threatening Afghans who are taking up the Western lifestyle. They are therefore guided by fundamentalism as they try to abide strictly to their faith without straying (Radha, 2006).

            A purist way of life is also another philosophy that guides the operations of the Taliban. The group seeks to follow strictly the Quran, which they interpret literally while they also adhere to the principles that are clearly laid down in the Islamic Shariat laws. In a bid to implement this, the group embarked on the closing down of all forms of secular education. Moreover, women were restricted from schools, workplaces as well as any social activities away from home. This philosophy can however be considered ignorant because of its characteristic unfair treatment of women (Radha, 2006).

            The Taliban purist way of life also led to the ban of ordinary activities such as clapping, kite flying and squeaky shoes. Additionally, men and women were forbidden from interacting outside the home or marriage. A violation of these regulations called would lead to atrocious punishment that included stoning the victim to death. On the other hand, mundane thefts would lead to mutilation sentences. It is therefore evident that the Taliban are guided by such vices as fear, betrayal, punishment and violence (Radha, 2006).

              In addition, the Taliban are guided by the philosophy that calls for extreme intolerance to other cultures and religions. This intolerance also covers other Islamic sub sects that may have principles that differ from their laws. This extremist philosophy leads the Taliban to believe that everyone has to live according to their way of life and this means that deviations from this lifestyle is given zero tolerance; no one should deviate from the Taliban lifestyle (Radha, 2006).

            Therefore, the extremist philosophy guiding the Taliban implies that they seek to incorporate the entire world into their way of life. The Taliban believe that their lifestyle, which is guided by the Quran and the Islamic Shariat laws is the right way of life. Consequently, modern technology and the way life dominant in Western cultures is just a deviation from the lifestyle that has been laid down in the Quran. However, even though the Taliban claim to be guided by the holy Quran their destructive activities are still questionable (Radha, 2006).

How they are funded.

            The Taliban has many allies who support the group in one way or the other and this includes funding them. For instance, the group is supported by the Pushtun tribes situated south of Afghanistan as well as the Pushtun tribes in FATA. The Baluchi tribes also support the Taliban and in particular, they offer sanctuary for the group (StrategyPage, 2008).

            The Pushtun tribe leaders are also against democracy of the Afghan national government and therefore support the Taliban movement against this. These tribal leaders design ways of getting cash through extortion, smuggling or any other means that will bring in money. This is used to maintain the small armies of gunmen that they have and also to offer support to the Taliban forces. Thus the Pushtun tribe leaders also fund the Taliban partially (StrategyPage, 2008).

            The Taliban are also funded by various drug gangs which are often headed by warlords and tribal leaders. These drug gangs are also against the national government which fights against them. Therefore since the group expects that once the Taliban get into power their heroine trade will be left to continue, they usually provide money for the group (StrategyPage, 2008).

            The Taliban produces the largest amount of heroin in the world; about 96% of heroin is cultivated by the Taliban. Besides, the group imposes a 20% tax on opium dealers and transporters. This tax adds to the funds used for the up keep of the Taliban. Besides, the drug dealers are the operators of the sole banking system of Afghanistan and are the ones who offer farmers credit. Thus production and transportation of heroin and opium contribute greatly to the fund collected by the Taliban (Rashid, 1999).

            What is more, the Taliban also get assistance from Pakistan. This is done through offering the Taliban logistics, men and material which help them in their day to day operations. Besides, the Taliban also get funding from private organizations. Among these private organizations offering financial support to the Taliban include states under the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). These are particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE (BNET, 2001).

            Additionally, the Taliban also get funding from the mafia who do the truck transport smuggling. These mafia are situated in Quetta and Chaman in Balochistan. Further still, the Taliban still get funds from heroin smugglers, the Pakistani government whereas Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader also funds the Taliban. However, Taliban get their funds mainly from customs duties which are highly imposed on heroin. This is what the Taliban government considers their legitimate source of revenue (Goodson, 2001, p.110).

            The funds collected by the Taliban are mostly used to buy the loyalty of commanders who are in opposition to this movement. The Taliban offer financial incentives to opposing commanders so as to convince them to either change their stand and support the Taliban instead or if not, so that they can surrender. The buying of opposing commanders has been of great significance to the success of the Taliban group (Goodson, 2001, p.110).

The Taliban rules for Jihadists

            As at late 2006, the Taliban leaders issued a new book of rules that regulate their behaviors towards the enemies of Islam, justice administration and rules of daily life. As provided in the rules, a Taliban commander is allowed to extend an invitation to all Afghans who are in support of infidels so that they may convert to the acceptable Islam where another rule would protect their personal and property security. As well, according to the rules for Jihadists, any protection on a new Taliban recruit must be made aware to the Taliban commanders (Islam’s Truth, 2008).

            In a bid to extend the protection of a new Taliban, their killing is forfeited and is punishable according to the Islamic law. However, when the new Taliban decides to become a traitor, he is not accorded a second chance. When a Taliban fighter decides to move to another district, he is only allowed to do so by first ensuring that he gets an authorization from his group leader. As well, only the Shura, the highest Taliban council is in a position to make any dealings with NGOs on issues pertaining to signing of contracts or finance (Islam’s Truth, 2008).

            According to the stipulated rules, a Taliban is restricted from using Jihad equipment for their own personal gain and is also accountable to his superiors in all matters relating to spending of money and the use of equipment. Also, any infidel who wants to join forces with an existing Taliban should not be killed failure to which the Taliban will be taken to the Islamic court. Any Taliban is also prohibited from searching other people’s houses and from confiscating the civilians’ weapons and property (Islam’s Truth, 2008).

            The final decision in determining whether members opposing the civil government are genuine in joining and being loyal to the Taliban is made by the military council. Additionally, all mujahideen is not allowed to smoke cigarettes or take young boys who have no facial hair onto the battlefield. If he is found guilty of any offenses or is accused by his group, the rule for him resuming his contact with the Taliban entails him seeking for forgiveness from his former group among other rules. It is the duty for each Jihadist and true believer of the Islamic law to observe these rules so as to ensure the progress of Jihad (Islam’s Truth, 2008).

Taliban Prohibitions on women

            Before the Taliban were ousted from power and were ruling Afghanistan, the group imposed laws interpreted literally from Islamic law which only came out as restrictions to the Afghans, women in particular. However, when the Taliban were ousted these rules were also abolished even though their prevalence is still rampant in the regions controlled by the Taliban (Tristam, 1996).

            Among these prohibitions included rules that prohibited women from going out from their homes but if they did so, they were not to put on fashionable clothes and cosmetics; they were only allowed to wear what was traditionally known as burqa. Besides the responsibility of the women was to teach and co-ordinate her family. Any women who violated these rules would be cursed according to Sharia and would not go to heaven (Tristam, 1996).

            Furthermore the Taliban rules stipulated that female patients could only go to female physicians and in case they had to go to a male physician then the female should be accompanied by a close relative. Besides, if a female was to be examined by a male doctor then both of them were expected to dress in Islamic hijab and the male physician was permitted to see only the affected part on the female’s body (Tristam, 1996).

            Women were also forbidden from studying in any educational institution including schools and universities. In case a woman would be seen outside without putting on a Burqa or without the company of a mahram, she would be abused verbally, whipped or beaten. To make it worse, any women who failed to cover their ankles would be whipped in public (RAWA, 2008).

            In addition to this, women were forbidden from using cosmetics such that women who were found with painted nails would have their fingers cut off. High heels were also prohibited since the laws stipulated that a man was not supposed to hear the footsteps of a woman. What is more, women were also banned from shaking hands or even talking to non-mahram males and any woman who was found having sex outside marriage would be stoned in public(RAWA, 2008).

            Worse still, Taliban rules did not allow Afghan women to wear brightly colored clothes as these were considered sexually attracting clothes. Women were not to be seen in social gatherings or even recreational events and they were not supposed to wash their clothes beside rivers or in any public places. Further still, women were prohibited from relaxing on the balconies of their houses (RAWA, 2008).

            Male tailors were also not allowed to take measurements of women or even sew their clothes and it was compulsory that all windows be painted. This was to prevent women from being seen from outside their houses. Males and females were also restricted from traveling in the same busses such that the public busses had to be labeled male only or female only. As if that is not enough, all place names that had the word women had to be changed. For instance, ‘women’s garden’ was renamed to ‘spring garden (RAWA, 2008).

            Still, the Taliban rules prohibited women from being photographed or filmed and pictures of women in books, newspapers or hung on walls were banned. Female public baths were also banned and it was also against the law for women to ride bicycles and motorcycles even when accompanied by their mahrams. Women were also not allowed to appear on television and radio and their participation in sports as well as their presence in sports clubs or centers was strictly prohibited (RAWA, 2008).

Terrorist attacks: Taliban, Al Qaeda

            Over time, Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda leader also believed to be one of the deadliest terrorists who has never been captured declared a war on the United States. Subsequently, the World Trade Center, US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked in 2008 which left thousands dead with scores badly injured (Holusha, 2007).

This attack changed everything and since then, September 11 is used to justify philosophical changes in U.S foreign relations and its public policy (Dudziak, 2003, p.39).

            Subsequently, the success of this terror attack not only left thousands of people left dead, but also left the mighty twin towers collapsed, the walls of the Pentagon crumpled while also giving rise to shock and horror not only to the people of America but also the world (Dudziak, 2003, p. 39). This was followed by the US demanding Bin Laden’s surrender from the Taliban who in turn demanded for evidence that Bin Laden was indeed guilty (Holusha, 2007).

            The Taliban militia is believed to provide a safe haven for Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda counterparts after his expulsion from Sudan.  The group also expressed that they wanted the Organization of the Islamic Conference which consisted of over 50 Muslim countries to officially demand Bin Laden to surrender However, the conditions as given by the Taliban were unacceptable and showed their refusal to surrender Bin Laden for security reasons thus leading led to the beginning of an end for the Taliban (Burns, 2001).

            Moreover, after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, President George Bush gave the Taliban an ultimatum to give up Bin Laden failure to which the United States would attack Afghanistan they had swore to fight for and restore law and order.  Conversely, when the Taliban refused, the US joined forces with other groups that rebelled against the Taliban rule and which was mostly represented by the minority tribes of Afghanistan and was notably the Northern Alliance.  Consequently, the Taliban were driven away from major Afghan cities (Holusha, 2007).

            However, this did not put an end to their existence as the group continued to exist as a lawless guerrilla warfare group on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The group also reorganized and began extending its influence on Southern Afghanistan with the group’s trade of opium helping it with its funding. As well, the group vowed to declare a holy war on the United States should they attack Afghanistan (Holusha, 2007).

            The Taliban ranks were also joined and supported by veterans of the war against Soviet forces from other countries like Pakistan, Uzbekistan as well as other Arabian countries. Thus, their existence as at late 2007 consisted of other foreign born persons from other countries who mostly replaced the ones that had been killed (Holusha, 2007).

            As well, Al- Qaeda was blamed for a series of suicide bomb attacks that took place on London’s transport network that left an approximated 52 innocent people dead, 700 others injured and four suicide bombers dead. The attacks occurred on the underground train networks and on a double-decker bus.  These attacks were believed to have been carried out with an aim of frightening the people of Britain from doing what they wanted to do as a nation in the name of abiding to Islamic laws by Islamic extremists. Furthermore, these attacks were also believed to be as a result of conflicts that included Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war (BBC, 2005).

            As a result of the bombings, which occurred in the morning during the peak hour and which was detonated in three crowded trains and the double-decker bus,  many major routes were jammed with other roads being left shut with the underground services being suspended.  This attack prompted response from different departments in Britain and which was followed by the passing of the anti-terror bill to law by the end of the same year (BBC, 2005).

Bombing of Spain’s subway systems

                        The Taliban have been responsible for quite a number of bombings that have occurred in different countries across the world. The terror attacks by these Muslim extremists were felt in Spain on the eleventh day of March in 2004. A series of bombs exploded simultaneously in Madrid’s major train station, Atocha leaving about 190 people dead and another 2,000 injured. Still the hand of these jihadist Muslims was blamed for this act of terrorism (Corrigan, 2008, p.1).

            The sequence of the ten bomb explosions are said to have occurred within a two minute time spun, that is between 7:37a.m and 7:39a.m. The first explosion came from three bombs in a train on a platform followed by two explosions that occurred in a train that was on its way to Madrid from El Pozo station. Four more bombs then went off on a train that was outside Atocha station while the final bomb exploded on a train that was at Santa Eugenia station (Corrigan, 2008, p.1).

            The Al Qaeda, who also work hand in hand with the Taliban were suspected to have executed the terrorist attack in Madrid. On the same day of the attack, a tape of the Koran was found in a van that was next around one of the bomb sites. Inside the van was also an Arabic newspaper that is said to have been in London prints together with a letter that was had been signed by the Al Qaeda who were confessing that they were responsible for the bombings (Corrigan, 2008, p.1).

            On the other hand though, Spanish government officials highly suspected the ETA. Spain’s interior minister even pointed out that the ETA had been looking for massacre in Spain and there was no doubt that they were responsible for the bombings. The series of bombing occurred just three days before Spain’s general elections. Thus quite a number of people were convinced that the ETA were responsible for the attack (BBC, 2008)

            These suspicions were however countered by arguments that the ETA did not carry out terrorism acts like it had been done in the bombings. No warning had been issued prior to the attack as was characteristic of attacks geared by the ETA. Therefore it was somewhat misleading for the government officials to have led the people to believe that the attacks had been executed by the ETA (BBC, 2008)

            The manner in which the bombings were executed was related to previous Al Qaeda attacks that had occurred across various regions. Contrary to the ETA who mostly target Spanish officials it was clear that the bombings were targeted at a large of people. What is more, the series of bombings were similar to previous Al Qaeda attacks that had occurred in Africa, the US, Iraq, Saudi Arabia as well as Turkey. This therefore meant that the possibility of the involvement of the Al Qaeda in these series of bombings could not have been assumed (Gardiner, 2004).

            However, this was later refuted after investigations into the bombings deduced that the al Qaeda had nothing to do with the terrorist attack that had occurred in Madrid’s subway system. It was concluded that an Islamic extremist group had executed the bombing with the intention of doing so on behalf of the Al Qaeda (Corrigan, 2008, p.1).

Therefore it was evident that the bombing of Spain’s subway system was carried out by a group of Islamic extremists even though the Al Qaeda and Taliban may have been distanced from the incident in the beginning. Besides, a group claiming to have relations with the Al Qaeda confessed to have executed the bombings (Corrigan, 2008, p.1).

Spain had never been targeted by external terrorist groups in the past and it was assumed that its support for the war on terror contributed to the country being targeted by terrorists. Most European countries that have offered support and have assisted in the war against terrorism have been targeted by terrorists. This is because before Spain was only threatened by the terror acts executed by ETA which is an internal force. However, since its involvement in the war on terrorism it had been threatened by Islamic terrorists (Friesen, 2007).

Besides, Spain had become a strong American ally in the terrorism fight. The bombing was timed just a few days to the general election and this could have been aimed at destructing the democratic process in Spain. Moreover, the bombings could have also been aimed at destroying the strong alliance that had been formed by Spain and America in the joint effort to fight terrorism. This is because the alliance formed by the two countries had been yielding good results and this was certainly not good for the terrorists which also include the Taliban group (Gardiner, 2004).

What is more, it was discovered that the bombing of Madrid’s subway system was done by Muslim groups and not the ETA. This showed that Spain had also become a terrorist target even though in the past the country had not faced terrorist threats or attacks from any terror groups situated away from Spain. The Madrid bombings had an adverse effect on Spain (Friesen, 2007).

On the other hand though, it was also suspected that the bombings had been carried out through collaboration between a group of the Al Qaeda together with a faction of the ETA. This therefore meant that there might have been an alliance between European left-wing terrorists and Islamist militants which was not a good development in the fight against terrorism (Gardiner, 2004).

Since the terror act occurred just a few days before Spain’s general election, the incident influenced the outcome of the voting process. This is because the government officials had led the country to believe that the internal ETA was responsible for the bombings yet the group did not have anything to so with the terror act that had occurred. The bombing had been executed by a Muslim group that also acted on the same extremist philosophy as the Taliban. Thus the possibility that the Taliban had contributed to the incident could not be ruled out. However, the bombing still led to many Spaniards supporting the cessation of the war on Iraq (Friesen, 2007).

The Madrid bombings also showed how these Muslim militia groups, the Taliban included have a great impact on the country’s that they target. The Madrid bombings led to reduction in the number of people who traveled by trains. This is because there is still the fear of future terrorist attacks which are mostly geared towards areas that have large numbers of people. Thus apart from the instant destruction of property, injuries and deaths, it is evident that the activities of the Taliban have a great impact on several people especially because the threat of future terrorist attacks remains rooted (Friesen, 2007).

Further still, the bombings in Madrid have also had a negative impact on Muslims residing in Spain. This is because since it was deduced that the attacks had been carried out by an Islamic group, this created a mass frenzy that made Muslims unwelcome as they were taken to be extremist by most individuals not only in Spain but in Europe as a whole (Friesen, 2007).

Mumbai, India hostage invasion

            The attack from terrorists has been recently witnessed in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Groups of gunmen are said to have raided a number of luxury hotels, a well-liked restaurant; Taj Mahal, several hospitals as well as a train station that was crowded. This terrorist attack saw quite a number of people of Western origin taken hostage whereas about 101 people lost their lives (KCBS, 2008).

The effect of this terrorist attack is also evident from the besieged state of the city which is characteristic of terrorist attacks that have been witnessed in various countries across the world. On the same note, these attacks have been linked to a team of suspect Muslim militants. Whereas an Indian militia group dubbed Deccan Mujahideen had been linked to this attack because of some previous e-mails the group had sent to several media houses in India, the Taliban are still not completely excluded from the suspect list (KCBS, 2008).

While the number of people injured was estimated to be about 200, it is evident that the attack was aimed at foreigners, especially Britons and Americans. It is true that the Taliban are a threat to these Western countries therefore this could raise a pointing finger to this terrorist group. It has not yet been established what prompted these attacks but it is evident that India has been a terrorist target evident by the series of past terror attempts in Mumbai (KCBS, 2008).

Hostages were held at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels which are the best destination for tourists in the city. However, most of the individuals held hostages in these two hotels were foreigners. About seven to 15 hostages at the Taj Mahal were clearly foreigners yet part of the hotel was at the same time up in flames (KCBS, 2008).

Even though it is said that the terrorists targeted Britons and Americans there were still casualties from other ethnicities. Some of these include a Japanese man who was pronounced dead at the Bombay hospital whereas about nine Europeans were admitted at the same hospitals. These individuals were at the Taj Mahal during the attack. Further still, about three top police officers of Indian origin were also killed in the attacks (KCBS, 2008).

At the bus terminal, it is said that bullets had been sprayed into the terminal which was crowded at the time. A number of men armed with rifles together with grenades were later held up after the attack. Further still, another team of gunmen still invaded Leopold’s restaurant which is frequented by foreigners. Bullets were sprayed in this restaurant leaving quite a number of people injured. Still, the terrorists also attacked the Cam and Albless hospital as well as the G.T hospital in Mumbai (KCBS, 2008).

Individuals who survived the attacks explained that the terrorists seemed to be looking particularly for Britons and Americans. At the Oberoi restaurant, about 30 or 40 hostages were led up the hotel’s stairway. Quite a number of the hostages were asked to identify their nationalities and non Britons and Americans were left to go whereas the Britons and Americans were held hostage (KCBS, 2008).

The terrorist attacks that have constantly been disrupting Mumbai are largely blamed on Muslim extremists. The repeated attacks in this city are said to be caused by Muslim groups that seem to be linked to the Pakistani militants, who are known to provide support to the Taliban group. During the 1993 Mumbai attack it was said that the terror act was geared towards a revenge for the death of the large number of Muslims who had died in the religious riots in India (KCBS, 2008).

On the other hand still, the Mumbai invasion has been blamed on a rising Islamic militant group going by the name Lakshar-e-Taiba. This militia group is situated in Kashmir and is said to have no links with Pakistan. However, the group is said to have loose ties with the Al-Qaeda even though it is not confirmed whether the Al-Qaeda were also involved in the planning of the Mumbai attacks (Hess, 2008).

Moreover, even though Lakshar-e-Taiba may not have collaborated with Al-Qaeda in the Mumbai invasion, it is still evident that the group operates on the same extremist philosophy as does the Al-Qaeda as well as the Taliban militia. The Lakshar militias have been linked to a series of attacks in India and its close relationship with the Taliban came to light during the Afghan invasion (Hess, 2008).

The recent Mumbai attacks still bring to light the possible relation between the Taliban and the suspected mastermind of this invasion. It is estimated that the each of the gunmen who executed the attack had at least 60 pounds of weapons. This included about 20 grenades, six loaded magazines together with AK-47s. It was also established that the gunmen had used a small rubber dinghy in high seas when they entered Mumbai. The approach used by these gunmen shows that some coaching must have been received from an experienced group, probably ex or current intelligence or military trainers from Pakistan (Hess, 2008).

Conclusion

The Taliban came into existence with the aim of restoring peace, law and order in the war torn Afghanistan. The group was guided by the Sharia law and its actions were conducted according to the principles of the Koran. However, the Taliban are still in constant war with the Northern Alliance as both parties fight to take total control of Afghanistan territory. Due to the differences between these two groups, the Taliban have been entangled in constant wars not only within Afghanistan, but also other external regions that seem to be in opposition of their operations.

The Taliban continue to generate their funds from Pakistan as well as the drug trafficking businesses which has helped them to stay alive for quite a long time. With Mullah Mohammed Omar as their leader, the Taliban have been responsible for several bombings and terror acts that have caused massive destruction in various countries across the world.

Operating on an extremist philosophy, the Taliban still remain a threat not only to their country Afghanistan, but also other countries especially the in the West. This is because they loathe the ideologies of these regions and believe that everyone needs to live according to the principles of the Koran.

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