By: Owen Brubaker
The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist movement in Afghanistan and is currently waging war. They held power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and enforced strict Islamic law. Mullah Mohammed Omar, Hamid Gul, Baitullah Mehsud, and Abdul Ghani Baradar started the Taliban, and Mohammed Omar was their supreme spiritual leader from 1996 to 2001. Emerging in 1994 the Taliban were a main part in the Afghan Civil War. ISAF and Afghan authorities believe there's around 35,000 Taliban fighters currently while about ten years ago their numbers were in the low thousands.
The current leader of the Taliban is Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, who took his position as Commander of the Faithful after his predecessor was killed in a US drone strike. He is a religious scholar and head of the Talibans Islamic courts. He was born in 1961 in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan belonging to the Noorzai clan. In Arabic his name Haibatullah means "gift from Allah". He was elected this position from a meeting between some of the highest up and important people in the Taliban government. This group gains its members through its ideology and the idea of unifying Afghanistan.
The Taliban originally wanted to help Afghan refugees from the Soviet Union, but as years past they began to aspire for power and control. What motivates he Taliban is power, but not only power. A large fraction of the men in the group are only there to support their families. Its hard to make a living in Afghanistan with no rule of law or real education and few jobs. So instead of struggling to live one would rather work for the Taliban and make more than enough money to support their family.
This group uses force, firepower, and terrorism to accomplish its goals. On March 12 2001, the Taliban blew up 2000 year old Buddhist statues off the cliffs of Bamiyan. On Oct. 19th 2001 Omar was attacked at his HQ in Kandahar by the first action taken by US ground forces. On Oct. 12th of this year one of the worse massacres happened in the southern city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province. American soldiers and Afghan police walked right into a trap where they had no place to run. They were attacked from all sides by Taliban fighters and lost around 100 men.
The Talibans main goal has been to set up an Islamic state in Afghanistan and rid it of all foreign armies. They have partially achieved their goals by spreading not only forcefully but politically as well. They have made much more of an effort to regroup and unleash their harm on Afghan authority and American troops. This group does pose a threat and needs to be kept on the radar, however if need be this group would be brought down in any attempt of an uprising. The US, UN, and Afghan forces fight this group every day.
Dispatches: Meeting The Taliban - Real Stories