Wanted: Taliban

Who are the Taliban?

They are a group of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim militants living today mostly near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

What is the meaning of the word "Taliban"?

- The word Taliban means "students" in Pashto, a name used because many of the beginning members studied in Pakistani religious schools called madrassas.

Regional Strongholds

In the years 1996 to 2001, The Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan, when American and international union forces ousted them from power following the attacks of September 11th.

There are also high concentration of the Taliban in southern and eastern Afghanistan, especially around the provinces of Zabul, Kandahar, Uruzgan, and Helmand --- one of the largest production centers in the world.

Who's in Charge?

Most of the Taliban leaderships and leaders are believed to be located in Pakistan, including Mullah Mohammed Omar, the groups chiefs organizer during the years of 1990s. Mullah has been hiding ever since the coalition invasion in 2001. Another important new Taliban commander that has appeared in Mullah Dadullah. He is a flamboyant, one legged fighter who's often role is the groups spokesperson. Intelligence say that Dadullah is located in Quetta. Another key leader is Jalaluddin Haqqani. According to the U.S. military officers, Jalaluddin is a former mujahedeen commander who joined the Taliban in the 1990s and trains fighters in North Waziristan.

The Pakistan Connection

The Taliban have a strong company in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border, with their headquarters located in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. In both the North and South Waziristan, they are also active in these areas too. They effectively maintain a mini-Islamic "state within a state" in these areas. In the lawless areas of North Waziristan, the Taliban have been known to escort Pakistani army troops to ensure their safety. In the South of Waziristan has been considered unsafe for journalists. For outsiders the borderland is a rough place. Remote and sandwiched between east and west, it has seen more than its share of invasion, violence and disorder.