The Taliban Lisa Linden and Thea Young
Background • In 1979 the Soviet Union arrived in Afghanistan which was immediately challenged by the mujahidin • Through the Afghan/Soviet struggle there was about three million refugees, who continued to study the Deobandi madrasas and also established several new madrasas in the refugee camps • It was through these new madrasas that the Taliban first emerged
Relations with the United States • During the anti-Soviet struggle, the United States provided support in weapons and other resources to the mujahidin and often provided support to groups that fought against the Soviets. • The United States wanted a stable Afghanistan in order to create a connection between Turkmenistan which is rich in oil and natural gas with the Arabian Sea via Afghanistan and Pakistan. • Energies of the Taliban were focused against the ‘godless’ regimes of their home countries and the United States which was the current global superpower. • Mulla ‘Umar refused to hand over Bin Laden to the United States causing the invasion of Afghanistan and consequently the destruction of the Taliban Regime. • The Taliban to this day still strike at forces such as the U.S troops through suicide bombings, attacking schools and government buildings.
Sources • Many of the laws implemented by the Taliban are sanctioned by the Shari’a and the Qur’an. • What the Taliban implemented in their Islamic Emirate was actually a combination of Islamic legal norms, along with Pashtun tribal norms to which they are accustomed. • These decrees may not have shocked the rural Pashtun tribal areas however they were just as unsettling to the urban Afghans as they were to the outside world.
Terms - mujahidin: Strugglers, Muslim guerrilla warriors engaged in a jihad - madrasas: the place in which religious teachings take place - Taliban: “students” - Persian plural via the Arabic singular talib - burqa: a head to toe covering that covers the entire face - amir al-mu’minin: commander of the faithful, it is how the early caliphs styled themselves - caliph: the title of the Islamic ruler - ulama: refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies; they are best known as the arbiters of shari’a law. - jahiliyya: ignorance, which is taken to refer to the pre-Islamic period. - infidel: one without faith - Surha: consultation, the highest Taliban Commander
The Book of Rules • 7. A mujahid who takes a foreign infidel as prisoner with the consent of a group leader may not exchange him for other prisoners or money • 18. Mujahidin should refrain from smoking cigarettes. • 19. Mujahidin are not allowed to take young boys with no facial hair onto the battlefield or into their private quarters
Mullah Sabir • Mullah Sabir is one of the top ranking Taliban officials • Through this interview, Mullah Sabir’s answers provide a clear mentality of the Taliban and what it stands for. • He justifies suicide bombing as not cowardice but as a miracle weapon and a necessary one due to their their lack of technology. • The growing numbers of the Taliban are due to the “increasing clarity [of] how corrupt the Karzai government is. It ignores the problems of ordinary people. Karzai is a puppet, a servant of the Americans.” (420) • The Taliban are supported through the people who supply funding, weapons, clothes, and food.
El Fadl’s Perspective • El Fadel describes the Taliban as “extremists, fanatics, and radicals; and linguistically, extremism is the opposite of moderation” he goes on to say that “considering the thought of these groups on arrange of issues, it appears that they are consistently and systematically absolutist, dichotomous and even idealistic.” • The Taliban follow the very Puritan belief that “Muslims should be coerced to live according to the law, and that the law should not be made to serve the people.” (279)
Evaluation • “while many Islamists are well educated, either in westernized colleges and universities or - in cases of people like Khomeini, Baqir al-Sadir, Fadlallah, and Waradawi - in institutions of Islamic learning, the sophomoric nature of the Taliban’s often incomplete madrasa education is best captured in their own self-designation as ‘students’. Leads one to believe that the effect of the Taliban relies more on action than educational justification like we have seen from other articles and people. • - Euban and Zaman • The Taliban however did bring some peace and stability to Afghanistan.
Questions for Discussion • Is it fair to place the Taliban and Omar ‘Abd al-Rahman in the same category when it comes to justifying violence as a means to acquiring an Islamic State? • Due to the fact that the Taliban are more on par with the rural communities and lower class, does this work in their favour of gaining support even though their violent practices are viewed as a type of oppression?