Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Taliban Profile: Becoming Inevitable in Afghan Politics

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Taliban Profile: Becoming Inevitable in Afghan Politics

‘Taliban’ is a loanword of Arabic ‘talib’ and Persian plural ending ‘an’ which became commonly meaning a group of students, mainly originated in the background of Soviet intervention and occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet forces in December 1979 when Islamic Mujahideen fighters were prepared by the then military ruler of Pakistan President Muhammad Zia-ul- Haq to engage in war with Soviet forces and according to a British Professor Carole Hillenbrand the group has risen from US-Saudi-Pakistan supported Mujahideen largely helped by the West in the 1980s. Almost after a decade the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan which followed the fall of Soviet-backed regime of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992 and a faction of Mujahideen group agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement under the Peshawar Accord and formed an interim government , while a strong group of Mujahideen led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar refused to be a part of the government and ruling out the formed arrangement starting civil war began attacks on government forces getting all supports from Pakistan’s ISI, the other groups also receiving help from Iran and Saudi Arabia, resulted in war and the new government found no time to set all these on time pushing the whole country in a state of chaos and anarchy. In that kind of situation, in August 1994, for the first time Taliban emerged and announced to liberate the Afghanistan from these war lords and establish a purely Islamic society. Thus, Taliban is a movement initiated by religious students from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who took their education in traditional Islamic schools of Pakistan who also include the Tajik and Uzbek students whose contribution played a pivotal role in the rapid growth of Taliban in Afghanistan. Mullah Mohammad Omar, who founded Taliban in September 1994 with 50 students, was then studying in a Madrassa in northern Kandahar Province and was unhappy that Islamic law had not been installed in Afghanistan even after Soviet withdrawal and this is why the group pledged to get free the country from warlords and criminals at any cost using appropriate means-constitutional or otherwise.
Initial working of Taliban
Soon after the formation, the group became very popular in Pakistan and Afghanistan and, as a result, a large number of students mostly educated in religious Madrassas of Pakistan who also happen to be Afghan refugees joined the organisation within months. They all were fully devoted to Islamic faiths and hatred for foreigners as the United States of America had prepared them to fight against the Soviets and also provided them all Islamic literatures and textbooks in local languages which made all materials easily available. Reading of these religious materials taught them not moralist but a belief in strict Islamic law. The rapid rise of the Taliban having religious theme and cares for independence for Afghanistan had made the movement more popular and, in a surprise, move it attacked and conquered Kandahar City on 3 November 1994 and in next three months it controlled 12 Afghan provinces till early 1995. Now, the Taliban moved to Kabul where it encountered the forces of Islamic state, it however, after a series of setbacks prepared for another major offensive in September 1996 and by the end of this month it entered Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and from here its rule in the country took a start. In the formation and development of Taliban Pakistan played an important role and wield a strong influence but Taliban always tried to maintain its independent image and existence as well. In course of getting the rule and excesses done by the followers of Taliban also earned a bad name for the organisation and lost much respect from Afghans just like other power-hungry militia groups of the country and people also began to blame Pakistan for killings and assaults.
Rule of Taliban in Afghanistan
From the year 1996-2001 Taliban ruled a large part, about three quarter of Afghanistan’s land and implemented a strict type of Sharia or Islamic law in the country and transferred the capital of Afghanistan to Kandahar of the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, recognised only by three nations-Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. As the country had suffered a lot on account of militancy and gang war in last two decades the role of international charitable and development organisations became most significant in war-torn territories to look after the needs of the masses, but in this period the most affected portion of the government was humanitarian aids, supply of food, employment, reconstruction, and other services. The rule of Taliban and its allies were responsible for massacres against afghan civilians as they conducted the policy of scorched earth, burnt vast areas of fertile land and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, banned hobbies, but totally failed to check violence and ongoing gang/group wars on the soil of Afghanistan. All international agencies, including the United Nations Organisation reported against the misrule and anti-humanitarian attitude of the Taliban rule for which the Government of Pakistan was also responsible who extended all helps-moral, material, financial, logistical and military support. The then regime of Afghanistan, according to several international sources, took help of Pakistani nationals, Pakistani trained fighters, and Al-Qaeda militants to fight against the anti-Taliban forces in the country.
End of Talibanic rule and thereafter
In post-9/11 phase when it became clear that Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda chief is the mastermind of this mishappening and he is hiding in Afghanistan, the United States of America exerted pressure on Taliban to hand over the culprit to which the former refused and as a result America began a decisive war against the terror groups in Afghanistan on October 2001 along with joint forces of UK, Canada, and other countries of NATO members and since then it is continuing till date, Apart from internal struggle among different militia groups in the country, the main fight remained between Taliban forces and the US-led forces and security forces of Afghan government. Although efforts for peace in Afghanistan is also continuing for the last one decade and even parties concerned have a concluded agreement in 2016 and 2020 but due to non- implementation of certain conditions by them they proved futile and peace continued to a daunting task for all. However, the peace exercises made it amply clear that in today’s context Taliban has become number one force or party in Afghan peace process which no one can deny or overlook.

Dr. Rajkumar Singh is Professor and Head of P.G.Department of Political Science, BNMU, West Campus, P.G. Centre, Saharsa-852201. Bihar, India. Email- rajkumarsinghpg@yahoo.com

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