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The flag of the Taliban, currently also used as the flag of Afghanistan
Taliban fighters, during the 2021 offensive
Alternate variant of the Taliban's flag with a white background and green text

The Taliban is a large Sunni Islamic fundamentalist militant group operating in Afghanistan. The group formed the government of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and took military control of most of Afghanistan again in August 2021. Since the Fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021, the Taliban again has full control of Afghanistan.


Taliban religious police beating a woman because she removed her burqa in public, 2001
Taliban executing a woman in public who had been accused of killing her husband. 1998. The husband had been violent, and had been beating her and locking her up for three years.[1]
Armed civilians protesting against the Taliban, in July 2021
Taliban fighters wanting to leave the Taliban, in 2010

In 1994 Taliban started a government in southern Afghanistan called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The first leader of the Taliban was Mullah Mohammed Omar.

The Taliban governed Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. During this time, its leaders put in place the strictest forms of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world.Rashid|2000|p=29-2|[2] Much criticism of the Taliban came from important Muslim scholars.[3] For example, if a thief was caught stealing something the Taliban would cut off one of his hands so that he does not use it to steal again, no matter what it was that he stole. Many criminals were put to death quickly and without a fair trial and were executed in public. Anyone who refused to follow the law was considered a non-Muslim enemy. Every male had to go to mosque for prayer (except Afghan non-Muslims) during praying times, which is five times per day.

The Taliban became known around the world for their very bad treatment of women and girls, denying them human rights.[4] They also treated the Shia Muslim (who they consider heretics) and non-Muslim minorities (who are Hindus and Sikhs) very badly. Every form of art, music and entertainment was strictly banned under their rule, and sculptures, paintings, photos, cameras, televisions, etc. were destroyed. The Taliban also did cultural genocide when they destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in February and March 2001, because they consider the display of human and animal figures a sin.[5]

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban had been giving its ally al-Qaeda a safe base from which to operate. The United States government said that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda members did the attacks in the U.S. The Taliban asked the U.S. for proof of this before it would arrest them. The aim of the invasion was to remove the Taliban government from power, destroy al-Qaeda and capture bin Laden. After losing power in 2001, the Taliban had its headquarters in Pakistan.[6]

In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed the Doha Agreement that would remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021.[7] President of the United States Joe Biden said that the U.S. exit from Afghanistan would start on May 1, 2021 and end by September 11, 2021, which would be exactly 20 years since the September 11 attacks.[8]

On 15 August 2021, the Taliban captured Kabul and the Afghan government collapsed, with the Taliban taking control of most of Afghanistan. On 30 August 2021, the Taliban had took full control of the country and ending the War in Afghanistan, after the evacuations from Afghanistan ended.[9]



It is estimated that in 2020 the Taliban had an income of $1.6 billion, mostly from drugs, mining, extortion and taxes, donations (or gifts) and exports.[22][23]

The Taliban have financed themselves mostly from selling illegal drugs.[24] A big part of the opium sold worldwide comes from Afghanistan: The Taliban grow the poppies (which are used to make opium). Another part of their income is racketeering: they offer "protection" in exchange for money. They also take taxes (in accordance with Islamic law, as they claim) in the areas they control. Finally, there's financial support in the form of donations, from abroad. Most of the donations come from countries around the Persian Gulf; many donations also come from Pakistan.

An article in 2021 in the Wall Street Journal said that there is [financing or] "funding from the opium trade and extortion schemes [... for] Taliban operations".[25]

Taliban views on society[edit]

In the past, the Taliban had views on society that are stricter than those of many other Islamic countries:[26][27][28][29][30]

They had the following rules for girls and women:[31]

  • Starting at age eight, girls and women must not be in contact with men who are not their direct family, or who they are not married with.
  • Women must not be seen in public, without wearing a burqa, and without being accompanied by a male member of the family.
  • They must not wear shoes with high heels, so that no man can hear when they walk and be sexually aroused by the sound[citation needed]
  • They must not speak loudly in public, so that no stranger can hear their voice.[32]
  • All windows on the ground floor and the first floor of the house must be sealed (or walled in), so that no one can see a woman in her apartment, when he passes by on the street
  • Taking photographs of women or making movies showing women is forbidden. This also applies to showing pictures of women in magazines, books, newspapers or in shops. This also applies to the own home.
  • Placenames that contain the word "woman" must be changed (That way a "women's garden" became a "spring garden")
  • Women are forbidden from using the balcony or garden of the place where they live
  • Women must not have access (or be featured in) radio, TV, media. They must not be allowed to attend public assemblies or meetings.
  • Women can get education until they reach puberty; afterwards, they should get married, and care for their children

Human trafficking[edit]

Several Taliban and al-Qaeda commanders ran a network of human trafficking. They abducted girls and women from ethnic minorities and sold them into sex slavery in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[33] Time magazine writes: "The Taliban often argued that the restrictions they placed on women were actually a way of [worshipping] and protecting the opposite sex. The behavior of the Taliban during the six years they expanded their rule in Afghanistan made a mockery of that claim."[33]

The targets for human trafficking were mostly women from non-Pashtun ethnic groups in Afghanistan. Some women preferred to commit suicide rather than become slaves.. During one Taliban and al-Qaeda offensive in 1999 in the Shomali Plains alone, more than 600 women were kidnapped.[33] Arab and Pakistani al-Qaeda militants, with local Taliban forces, forced them into trucks and buses.[33] Time magazine writes: "The trail of the missing Shomali women leads to Jalalabad, not far from the Pakistan border. There, according to eyewitnesses, the women were penned up inside Sar Shahi camp in the desert. The more desirable among them were selected and taken away. Some were trucked to Peshawar with the apparent complicity of Pakistani border guards. Others were taken to Khost, where bin Laden had several training camps." Officials from relief agencies say, the trail of many of the vanished women leads to Pakistan where they were sold to brothels or into private households to be kept as slaves.[33]

Not all Taliban commanders took part in human trafficking. Many were opposed to the practice. Nuruludah, a Taliban commander, is quoted as saying that in the Shomali Plains, he and ten of his men freed some women who were being abducted by Pakistani members of al-Qaeda. In Jalalabad, local Taliban commanders freed women that were being held by Arab members of al-Qaeda in a camp.[33]

Taliban violence against civilians[edit]

In their attacks, the Taliban also target civilians in Afghanistan. According to a report by the United Nations, the Taliban were responsible for over 76% of civilian casualties in 2009.[34] In 2010, the Taliban were again responsible for over three quarters of the civilian casualties.[35] Civilians are targets of Taliban attacks twice as often as forces of the Afghan government, or troops of ISAF.[35]

In 2011, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIGRC) said that Taliban fighters targeting civilians was a "war crime".[36] Religious leaders condemned the attacks on civilans, saying they were against Islamic ethics.[36]

Also in 2011, human rights organisations pressed the International Criminal Court in Den Haag, to start investigations whether the Taliban committed war crimes.[35]

Human rights abuses[edit]

When they took control of the country, the Taliban promised an amesty to the fighters and officials of the former government. At the end of 2021, a few months after the Taliban taking control, Human Rights Watch, and other organisations have documented summary executions of these people.[37] The United States, the European Union, and several other countries have therefore told the Taliban that they should keep the promise they gave.[37][38]

Relationship with other countries[edit]

Relationship with militant groups (outside Afghanistan)[edit]


Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan operates in northwestern Pakistan and is sometimes called the Pakistani Taliban, but they are a separate group.

Before the beginning of Tehrik-i-Taliban some of its (later) leaders and fighters were part of the 8,000 Pakistani militants fighting in the War in Afghanistan (1996–2001) and the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) against the United Islamic Front and NATO forces.[45] Most of them come from the Pakistani side of the Af-Pak border regions. After the fall of the Afghan Taliban in late 2001 most Pakistani militants including members of today's TTP escaped (home) to Pakistan.

Peace talks[edit]

At the peace talks in Doha, there is little or no progress (as of 2021's third quarter).[46]

Leader (or Supreme Commander)[edit]

Related pages[edit]


  • Griffiths, John C. (2001), Afghanistan: a history of conflict, London: Carlton Books ISBN 1-84222-597-9 Search this book on .
  • Rashid, Ahmed (2000), Taliban: militant Islam, oil and fundamentalism in central Asia, New Haven: Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-08340-8 Search this book on .


  1. "ZARMINA'S STORY". Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  2. Rashid|2000|p=29_2-0|↑ Rashid 2000, p. 29
  3. dead link:
  4. Dupree Hatch, Nancy. "Afghan Women under the Taliban" in Maley, William. Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban. London: Hurst and Company, 2001, pp. 145–166.
  5. "The Death of the Buddhas of Bamiyan". Middle East Institute.
  6. Retrieved 4 September 2021
  7. "Can the US exit Afghanistan?". Can the US exit Afghanistan?.
  8. CNN, Kevin Liptak. "Biden announces troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11: 'It's time to end America's longest war'". CNN.
  9. Afghanistan Live Updates: The United States Occupation Is Over
  10. Bowman; Bradley; Master (15 August 2021). "In Afghanistan, the Tragic Toll of Washington Delusion". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 August 2021. The Taliban militants display the jihadist group's flag after taking control of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Aug. 15.
  11. Whine, Michael (1 September 2001). "Islamism and Totalitarianism: Similarities and Differences". Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions. 2 (2): 54–72. doi:10.1080/714005450. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Deobandi Islam: The Religion of the Taliban U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps, 15 October 2001
  13. 13.0 13.1 Maley, William (2001). Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban. C Hurst & Co. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-85065-360-8. Search this book on
  14. Ogata, Sadako N. (2005). The Turbulent Decade: Confronting the Refugee Crises of the 1990s. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-393-05773-7. Search this book on
  15. McNamara, Melissa (31 August 2006). "The Taliban In Afghanistan". CBS. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Did you know that there are two different Taliban groups?". 1 April 2013.
  17. "Taliban - Oxford Islamic Studies Online".
  18. "Afghan Taliban". National Counterterrorism Center. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  19. Rashid, Taliban (2000)
  20. "Why are Customary Pashtun Laws and Ethics Causes for Concern? | Center for Strategic and International Studies". 19 October 2010. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  21. "Understanding taliban through the prism of Pashtunwali code". CF2R. 30 November 2013. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  22. Sufizada, Hanif (8 December 2020). "The Taliban are megarich – here's where they get the money they use to wage war in Afghanistan". The Conversation (website). Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  23. "Afghanistan: How do the Taliban make money?". BBC News. 2021-08-27. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
  24. "Profits and poppy: Afghanistan's illegal drug trade a boon for Taliban". Reuters. 2021-08-16. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
  25. The IMF Acts Against the Taliban (Aug. 18, 2021). Retrieved 22 August 2021
  26. "The Taliban has retaken control of Afghanistan. Here's what that looked like last time". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  27. "Machtwechsel in Afghanistan - Das Frauenbild der Taliban". Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) (in Deutsch). 2021-08-17. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  28. Mohammad, Azadah Raz; Sapiano, Jenna. "As the Taliban returns, 20 years of progress for women looks set to disappear overnight". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  29. Narain, Vrinda. "The world must not look away as the Taliban sexually enslaves women and girls". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  30. Hoodfar, Homa; Tajali, Mona. "Taliban 'has not changed,' say women facing subjugation in areas of Afghanistan under its extremist rule". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  31. Michael Griffin (2001). Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban movement in Afghanistan. London: Pluto Press, pp6-11/159-165.
  32. "some of the restrictions imposed by Taliban in Afghanistan".
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 "Lifting The Veil On Taliban Sex Slavery". Time. 10 February 2002. Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  34. Bill Roggio (2010-08-10). "UN: Taliban Responsible for 76 % of Deaths in Afghanistan". The Weekly Standard. Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2010-08-10. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Rod Nordland (9 February 2011). "Afghan Rights Groups Shift Focus to Taliban". The New York Times Online. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  36. 36.0 36.1 "AIHRC Calls Civilian Deaths War Crime". Tolonews. 2011-01-13. Archived from the original on 2013-10-19. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
  37. 37.0 37.1 "US, EU and 20 nations condemn Taliban over 'summary killings'". Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  38. "Joint Statement on Reports of Summary Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Afghanistan". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  39. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  41. (in Norwegian) Retrieved 24 August 2021
  42. Kristian Berg Harpviken. ['Diplomacy that fails, when it is needed the most'] Diplomati som svikter når det trengs som mest. Vårt Land. Retrieved 21 August 2021. "Det norske Afghanistanutvalget (der undertegnede var medlem) dokumenterte at dialogen gikk tilbake til 2007."
  43. Retrieved 19 October 2021
  44. Retrieved 20 August 2021. "Norske diplomater har over mange år hatt kontakt med Taliban som en del av fredsprosessen i landet med en politisk løsning som målet, med utgangspunkt i Qatar’s hovedstad Doha. Der har UD fortsatt diplomater til stede."
  45. "Afghanistan resistance leader feared dead in blast". London: Ahmed Rashid in the Telegraph. 11 September 2001. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  46. (in Norwegian) Retrieved 22 August 2021
  47. Staff writer (26 May 2016). "Profile: New Taliban chief Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada". BBC News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

Further reading[edit]

Other weblinks[edit]