Who are the Taliban of Afghanistan?
October 5, 1996
Web posted at: 10:45 p.m. EDT (0245 GMT)
From Correspondent Anita Pratap
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- From students to conquerors, the
Taliban Islamic militia have come a long way, and fast.
In just two years, the Taliban have captured more than
two-thirds of Afghanistan from the Mujahedeen warriors who
had fought Soviet occupation. The Taliban's success has much
to do with the unpopularity of the Mujahedeen in recent
(21 sec./830K QuickTime movie)
The Taliban emerged as a reformist force -- honest, fierce
and devoutly Islamic. Most had gone as refugees to Pakistan,
where they studied in the religious schools. The Taliban are
widely alleged to be the creation of Pakistan's military
intelligence. Experts say that explains the Taliban's swift
They emerged as the new rulers of this war-ravaged nation
when they captured the Afghan capital, Kabul, last month.
Kabul is important because of its strategic location. It is
the gateway to the Indian subcontinent to the south and to
central Asian republics to the north.
Through history, many groups have invaded Kabul, and the
latest conquerors, the Taliban, are set to leave their stamp
on the city by imposing a fundamentalist regime guided by
their own interpretation of Islamic law.
They decree amputations and executions for criminals, and impose
severe restrictions on women. They also have banned
television, which they see as a symbol of Western decadence.
Not much is known about the 35-year-old founder of the
Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Umar, a cleric who fought as a
Mujahedeen. But his political aims are clear: He is
determined to create his version of an Islamic Afghanistan.
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