The Taliban started to come into power in 1994 following the turmoil that came after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in the year 1989. The group was formed in the rural areas of Kandahar which was the country’s ethnic- Pashtun land in the south. The Soviet Union had come in the year 1979 to help the Communist government in Afghanistan. They were defeated by Islamic fighters called Mujahedeen that were supported by the US Government. But this happy moment was for just a while because shortly various groups started fighting to have control over Afghanistan. Eventually, Afghanistan fell into a brutal civil war.
Foundation of Taliban
Mullah Mohammad Omar founded a group of fifty students in the city of Kandahar in September 1994. He was studying in Sang-i-Hisar madrassa in the northern province of Kandahar, Mawiwand. The main reason for founding this group was the unhappiness he carried about Islamic Law not being installed in Afghanistan after the ousting of communist rule.
The number of people in this group increased from fifty to fifteen thousand in mere months. These people were majorly Afghan refugees from religious schools. It has also been stated that Pakistan was actively involved in the creation of the Taliban. Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence supported the Taliban in 1994 in a hope that the rule of the Taliban will do good to Pakistan as well.
Control of Taliban on Afghanistan
On November 3rd, 1994 Taliban attacked and conquered the city of Kandahar which was followed by the capture of 12 Afghan Provinces before the 4th of January 1995. While extending their area of control, when they moved towards Kabul they were defeated by the Islamic State of Afghanistan. The ragged Talibanis killed many innocent people while retreating from the city. After a short while, they successfully captured Herat on the 5th of September 1995. In just two years, the Taliban successfully conquered ninety percent of Afghanistan Province. In 1996, they began to rule over Afghanistan and imposed strict Islamic Laws.
On 26th September 1996, Massoud ordered a full retreat from Kabul to continue anti-Taliban resistance in the northern Hindu Kush mountains and did not engage in the street battles in Kabul. The Taliban entered Kabul on 27th September 1996 and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. There were harsh interpretations of the Quran and enforcements that resulted in public punishments including flogging, amputation, and mass execution.
Ill-treatment of people belonging to different religions and people of Afghan
Shiites were killed and persecuted by the group. Along with Shiites Muslims, the small community of Christians was also treated in the same manner. It was made pretty clear by the Taliban that different religious practices will not be tolerated. They even destroyed 1500-year-old Great Buddhas of Bamiyan statues. All the destruction and ill behavior including executions were labeled as holy by the Taliban and considered these things as Blasphemous.
The Taliban considered that they were working in a modern framed government where ministries and bureaucracy existed but the reality was the opposite. These modern framed offices were limited to the buildings whereas, in the street level, religion was placed before anything, commanders were ruling according to their will, and the life of Afghan people was dictated by these street commanders. In 2001, they even announced how Afghan Hindus will have to wear a special badge. This act was just like what was done to Jews in Nazi Germany. The whole ideology that was followed by the Taliban can be compared with that of the Kharijites of the 7th century. Kharijites developed extreme principles and doctrines that set them apart from both Sunni and Shai Muslims as they adopted a harsh approach to Takfir and declared other Muslims as unbelievers. Everyone who was not from the same side of the coin was stated worthy of being dead.
Chaos and destruction because of the Taliban
After taking power in 1996 and 20 years of continuous warfare, the infrastructure and economy of Afghanistan were destroyed. During the rule of the Taliban, there was no running water, little to no electricity, only a few telephones, or even regular supplies of energy. People were dying because of a lack of resources, necessities like food and housing were short in supply.
Clan and family structure used to provide Afghan people with social and economic safety and that too was destroyed after the rule of the Taliban. During this time, the infant mortality rate was the highest in the world, and kids were dying before even reaching the age of five.
Since the Taliban was highly suspicious towards the help International charitable or development organizations were providing by sending food and other basic things, Afghan people were deprived of even this facility. A million deaths were noted throughout the year, the number of families headed by widows reached 98,000 by the year 1998.
Kabul was destroyed, many areas of this city were destroyed by rocket attacks and more than 1.2 million people were surviving on the mere help that reached them through working NGOs. Mazar, Heart, and Shomali valley offensives displaced more than three-quarters of a million civilians using “scorched earth” tactics.
When the UN increased the number of Muslim women staff to satisfy Taliban demands, the Taliban then required all female Muslim UN staff to be assisted by a mahram or blood relative. In July 1998, the Taliban closed all NGO offices in Kabul, and one month after all the UN offices were closed out in Afghanistan. The loss of humanitarian aid led to a more devastating situation for Afghans.
Ill-treatment of women
The Taliban never really respected women. From the age of mere eight years, girls in Afghanistan were not allowed to be in contact with any male counterparts other than blood relatives.
This was not the only restriction:
- Women were denied education. Girls above the age of eight were not allowed to go to school.
- Women were deprived of the health care facilities under the rule of the Taliban
- Women were not allowed to go out without wearing Burqa and they should only be out with a male blood relative.
- A hideous law was put forward by the Taliban that said that women should not wear high-heeled shoes as men can get excited by the sounds of their footsteps.
- Women’s rights were already taken by the Taliban, they also took the freedom of speech by all means. Women were not allowed to speak loudly in public places as no stranger should hear a woman’s voice.
- All the ground and first-floor residential buildings’ windows must be painted or screened to prevent women from being seen from the street.
- The patriarchal and oppressive rules were not limited just outside their house. Women are banned from appearing on the balconies of their houses.
Taliban affected women mobility as well:
- Riding bicycles or motorcycles were banned for women
- Women were banned to ride in taxis without a male blood relative
- Segregation of bus services was introduced to prevent males and females from traveling on the same bus
Demands by the US
On 20th September 2001, the president of the US George W. Bush “WE condemn the Taliban Regime” and stated “Tonight the USA makes the following demands on the Taliban” which were not open for negotiation
These demands were put forward after the attack of 9/11 and it was stated that the people who planned it are in alliance with the Taliban.
- Deliver all AL-Qaeda leaders to the USA
- Release all foreign nationals that are unjustly imprisoned
- Protect foreign journalists, diplomats, and aid workers
- Closing of all terrorist activities
- Handing over every terrorist and the supporters to appropriate authorities
- Give the USA full access to terrorist training camps for inspection
On 7th October 2001, the USA, helped by Canada, Uk, and other countries including several from the NATO alliance initiated military action, they bombed AL-Qaeda and Taliban camps. The US took charge of dismissing the terrorist leadership from the country of Afghanistan to protect people. On the night of 12th November in the year 2001, The Taliban retreated south from Kabul, and by November of 13th, they withdrew from both Kabu and Jalalada and in December released Kandahar from the rule.
Keeping the truth in mind that how the Taliban manipulated Afghanistan in its previous rule it will be not wrong to consider that Afghan people will suffer in the present time. Taliban also has a history of terrorism and with their rule in Afghanistan, many countries can suffer from more terror attacks. Women of Afghanistan will be locked up in their homes once again, though the Taliban has stated that they will let women do everything that comes under Islamic Law but the world knows that their laws itself state how there is no need for women to work or even debate about it. After years of suffering and tolerance, Afghanistan once again will be oppressed.