Current EventsBook ReviewsFun and GamesCulturesTeaching Resources

Who Are the Taliban?

On this Site

The New Afghan Government
The Attack on Afghanistan
Who Is Osama Bin Laden?
Who Are the Northern Alliance?
Afghanistan Area Map

Elsewhere on the Web

Afghanistan: Veiled in Fear
Historical Timeline of Afghanistan

After many long years keeping Soviet troops from taking over their country, the people of Afghanistan descended into civil war soon after the Soviets left in 1989. Out of this chaos arose the Taliban, a tough group of fighters who took over big cities like Kandahar and Kabul (the Afghan capital). In the late 1990s, they declared themselves in charge of the entire country.

The leaders of the Taliban want their country to be what they call "a pure Muslim state." They have banned modern technology like television and movies and even photography; and they require their women to not work, wear full veils, and have no education. People who live in Afghanistan and are not Muslim must now wear special tags identifying them as non-Muslims. And people who speak out against the Taliban have a way of disappearing.

The Taliban have gone out of their way to make life difficult for the people of Afghanistan, keeping large amounts of food and medicine for themselves and allowing the people to starve and die from injuries and disease. In addition, they have let Osama Bin Laden, a known terrorist and the man thought to have been the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on America's World Trade Center and Pentagon, live safely in their country. They have called him a "guest."

Only one country, Pakistan, continues to recognize the Taliban as the true government of Afghanistan. And civil war continues to consume the country. The Taliban still control Kandahar and much of the southern part of the country. The rest is controlled by a group called the Northern Alliance, which is fighting the Taliban. The United States and its allies are helping the Northern Alliance.