Article

Taliban

Abdullah Al-Arian

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0088
Taliban

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In the aftermath of the 1989 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan at the hands of the mujahideen, religious fighters supported by the West, a movement of students from local Islamic schools began their bid for power. They came to be known as the Taliban, derived from the Arabic word for “student.” Made up primarily of ethnic Pashtun tribes, these survivors of the decade-long Soviet occupation formed militias to subdue the various regions of Afghanistan in 1994. By 1996, they had conquered nearly the entire country, ruling the population through a strict, literalist interpretation of Islamic law. In addition to its international isolation, human rights abuses, and destruction of historical artifacts, the Taliban became known for hosting the transnational terrorist organization al-Qaeda, and its leader, Osama bin Laden. However, it was only after the attacks of September 11, 2001, plotted by bin Laden from the remote regions of Afghanistan, that the Taliban became a major subject of interest to Western scholars.

Article.  2910 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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