Fri, 24 May, 2024


Origin of the Taliban


By Amshu Upreti

During the Soviet-Afghan war almost 6 million women and children fled abroad leaving only the men to fight, any boy of a fighting age was given a gun. These children who were now refugees in the neighboring countries would later return back to their home country. The social evolution of Afghanistan takes many toll. The Soviets were overwhelmingly superior with their tanks, jets and artillery against the anti-government force called the Mujahedin. Despite winning the wars, the soviet union lost the fight. Mujahedin had neither a central command nor a unified organization, therefore there was no room for negotiation or a path for creating diplomatic solutions. The Mujahedins, also referred to as the gorilla fighters, would only show themselves if they had a tactical advantage, fight and then hide into the mountains. The soviets couldn’t pursue them through the elevated topography with their tanks because the passages were uncharted. Even the soviet jets were of no use since the Mujahedins used the flight patterns of birds as a signal to be aware of the air threat. Whenever a flock of birds were seen in the sky the Mujahedins knew the trouble was looming across their head and hence proceeded to take a safe shelter. The soviets found themselves fighting with stones and dust. The artillery were all used against literally nothing except for the military gunship which had thick armor which could withstand the present artillery the Mujahedins possessed and took down the enemies with its large rotary cannon. Now here the USA interviens by supplying stinger surface to air missiles to the Mujahedins. The air gunship was much more costly in comparison to the stingers. When the stingers started to take down a couple of the gunships, it was an economical checkmate. Mujahedins couldn’t be distinguished from the ordinary afghan citizens since they looked alike which made it difficult for the soviet to identify them. So as a solution the soviet thinkers came up with a radical solution of treating all the afghan citizens, Mujahedin or not as their enemy. Countless villages were bombed, lifestyle was threatened, industrial sites were closed, landmines were scattered in farmlands and much more. With this strategy, in over a year millions of afghans died. The most sly and devious tactic was toy mines which were targeted towards the children. Thinking of it as a toy the children would play, pick it up and bring it back home only for it to blow up. The toy mines were strong enough to leave injuries but not death. The purpose of it was to disarm the enemy and catch them when they are vulnerable. The Soviets aimed to move all the people from rural sites to the urban areas, which they eventually succeeded when the population of Kabul almost tripled. War can change men and in Afghanistan it changed many. Being disconnected from their family members left them emotionally disturbed.
In the city of Pakistan, Peshawar, the ethnic pashwans collected funds, asked volunteers to help fight their kin in Afghanistan and the ISI took hold of the situation. By 1989 the Soviets could no longer fight and left Afghanistan leaving behind their Afghan communist comrades. The Kabul government tried to present a negotiation but it was of no use without the power of the soviets. In 1992, The Mujahedins overthrew the communist leadership and began their rule. Soon an internal brawl among the Mujahedins occurred, and they began to occupy different parts of the cities. The internal fight left the remaining part of Kabul which was spared by the soviet into rubble. The children who fled into the neighboring countries didn’t have a good childhood since living as a refugee is not easy. All they knew was poverty and war, almost an entire generation of children were refugees. The Pakistani madrassas (religious schools) provided free education to the lost Afghan childrens. The school were run by islamist parties who had a close connection to the ISI. Many such schools were established in different parts of Pakistan and borders of Afghanistan where a number of Afghan war affected children studied. The children were made cut off with the world news and were indulged in wahhabi faith (It is an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran.). They were made to believe that they were to eliminate evil and evil was constituted to believe to be anything that was not familiar to them. In addition these children were also given combat skills. The word Taliban represents students in Arabic and yes these youngsters were later known as the Talibans. A Taliban cleric Mullah Omar had led a group of youngsters to take over some districts from the Mujahedin groups. The Mujahedins had been harassing and extorting the locals. So the arrival of Taliban youngsters was perceived as a sign of savior by the locals. They hanged the rapists, cut off the limbs of thieves and dealt with the criminals accordingly. Fedoff with the harassment of the Mujahedins, many of the Afghan citizens thought of the Taliban as a pillar of stability. The news spread out to Pakistan and the ISI provided additional training, equipment, arms and ammunition to the Taliban. Soon the checkpoints controlled by the Mujahideen were taken by the Taliban which led to supply of various goods and lowering of price. The Taliban soon came into power with the possession of tanks, arms, ammunition and money. On the otherside Pakistan opened the gate to let the Taliban students back into their home country, Afghanistan. At first the Talibans were welcomed by the Afghan citizens since they appeared to be a strong force that could overthrow the Mujahedin which they eventually did. Soon the locals found men in black turban patrolling the streets, they talked in a different dialect. As the Taliban made into power, the citizens were now faced with a different truth. Women were void of their rights, music, films were banned, theaters were turned into mosques, pets were forbidden, celebration of non islamic festivals was criminalized, clothing was to be done as the mandate of sharia law, beards were mandatory to men, women were to be covered from head to toe and were not allowed to walk out without the presence of a male relative and many more. Now the Afghanistan was an islam extremist country with their own version of revised sharia law and in this way the Taliban rose.

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