10 Fun Facts About Taliban

When you hear the word Taliban, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably memories of wars in Afghanistan, and generally a bad vibe towards the organisation. Due to the numerous articles about Taliban’s acts, many have associated it with being a controlling, bad organisation. Not many know how the Taliban was formed, who funds it, and who controls the Taliban. So to further your knowledge about the matter, we have compiled a list of facts about the Taliban.

1. What Is The Taliban?


The Taliban (Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement) is an Islamic organisation, came into power in 1994. The formation of Taliban was aided by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Taliban, also called Taleban, is famous for implementing the most extreme type of Sharia (Islamic law) in Afghanistan. It came into power in Afghanistan in 1994, and ruled there till 2001. They are currently waging war in Afghanistan to regain their power.

2. It Was Formed To Fight Soviet Forces


When Afghanistan was occupied by Soviet forces, the Taliban was set up to fight the war against the Soviet forces. The extremely trained and deadly fighters managed to withdraw the Soviet forces from the country. They captured Kabul in 1992 once the Soviet forces had lost momentum. However at that time, Taliban failed to be united, they dissolved into many different groups of taliban.

3. Their Rise To Power in 1994

Taleban militiamen chant slogans as they drive a tank to the capital Kabul on November 9, from the front line only 20 km (12 miles) away. The Taleban are in a standoff with opposition forces led by Commander Ahmad Shah Masood. PAKISTAN - RTR8JIB

The Taliban became more prominent in 1994, when selected talibanis were chosen by Pakistan for a particular mission to protect a convoy. This move would later lead to the capturing of Kabul by the Taliban. They emerged in the public gradually, first appearing in religious seminaries, and started spreading the message of Sharia in order to restore peace in the country. They managed to gain power slowly due to people’s support for peace in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The people preferred the religious and devout Taliban to the corrupt and malicious Mujahideen. Once they were in power, they started introducing their extreme version of Sharia- women had to wear an all-covering burka, murderers and thieves and adulterers were executed without trial, men had to grow beards and television, music, and cinema was banned. The militants even discouraged girls from going to school.

4. Taliban’s Treatment of Women


Taliban’s treatment of women shocked people the world over. They regarded women as inferior, and imposed various restrictions on them ‘to protect virtue and prevent vice’. The women under Taliban rule had to wear a full-covering burka, not wear nail polish, not work outside of their homes, not step out without a male relative escorting them, not even be educated. Many women who tried to defy the rules were beaten up and even shot by officers, citing safeguarding women’s honor as a reason for their actions. At times, they were even denied hospital treatment, to prevent them from interacting with male staff and male doctors.

5. Pakistan Is Still At War With Taliban


Pakistan, which once supported the Taliban, soon recognised the devout militants for what they really were. They broke ties with the organisation and fight back against Taliban attacks on Pakistani soil. The widely-publicised attack by the Taliban at a school in Peshawar and the murder of several school children left many shocked and angry. However, Pakistani government is reportedly taking steps to talk to the militants and forge a peace agreement. Despite government assurances, many have reported that the Taliban’s influence is growing strongly in Pakistan.

6. They Used To Cultivate Opium, Then Cut Down Production

**FILE** A Taliban militant is seen with an AK- 47 rifle gun, right, as farmers collect resin from poppies in an opium poppy field in Naway district of Helmand province, southwest Afghanistan in a Friday, April 25, 2008 file photo. Drought and anti-drug campaigns helped slash Afghanistan's opium poppy cultivation by 19 percent this year compared to 2007, but the country is still far and away the world's leading source of the heroin-producing crop, the U.N. said Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. (AP Photo, File)

One of Taliban’s sources of income was the cultivation and smuggling of opium. During their rule, the primary source of income of many Afghanis was the cultivation of opium. In 2000, US began cracking down on the cultivation and smuggling of opium, and due to this, the Taliban had to stop their dealings in opium and announced that the production of opium in the world had been cut down a significant amount. Their dealings in opium were strictly against their beliefs.

7. How Did The Taliban Lose Power?


In 2001, the Al-Qaueda attacked the World Trade Centre twin towers in the United States, which led to a huge manhunt for the person responsible, Osama Bin Laden. The attack made Bin Laden a household name, and before long, the United States figured that he and the al-Qaeda organisation was under the protection of the Taliban. When demanded to hand them over to the United States, the Taliban asked for proof of al-Qaeda’s involvement in the attack. Their resistance in handing over Bin Laden ultimately led to their downfall, with US bombing many Taliban military sites. Around this time, the Taliban was also being resisted by a group of many anti-Taliban factions titled the ‘Northern Alliance’. The US aided the Northern alliance to bring down the Taliban. Taliban lost their hold over Kabul in November 2001, and were forced to step down from power by December 2001.

8. The Taliban’s Efforts To Come Back in Power


Ever since they were rooted out of power in 2001, radical Taliban leaders kept working towards the resurgence of the Taliban. 2006 was a particularly significant time of Taliban attacks. The deaths on both sides were countless. US and NATO troops came to Afghanistan’s aide, deploying many forces all over the country. They even launched an operation to deploy forces in the south were Taliban militants had infiltrated the villages and were terrorizing villagers. By the end of 2006, a peace ageement riddled with controversy was signed by at least seven Taliban groups, who were given freedom to govern themselves and withdraw from the area. Even after the agreement, Taliban continued attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the years. US tried to hold peace talks with the organisation after they opened their office in Qatar, but Taliban’s attack in Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport in 2014 in which twenty-nine people were killed led to cessation of any peace negotiations. The attack was carried out as revenge for US being responsible for the killing of Hakimulla Mehsud, the Taliban leader in 2013, who died in a CIA drone strike.

9. Taliban Leaders Operate Under Fake Identities


The chiefs of Taliban have, to date, never used their real name during operations. They always operate under a fake identity to avoid recognition. This helped one of the most-wanted Talibani leaders Mullah Akhtar Mansour evade capture by the United States for years. He was recently declared dead by the United States.

10. They Often Abused Various Cultures and Human Rights

bamya buddha

The Taliban was generally despised due to their indifference to other cultures. In 2001, they came under harsh criticism for destroying the famous Bamiyan Buddha statues in central Afghanistan. The two 6th-century monumental statues were dynamited in March that year, simple to stop the worship of anything outside of Islam. The incident caused international outrage against the Taliban.


The Talibans are still at battle with Pakistan and Afghan governments. The Taliban ideology was popular at first due to its devout principles, but its actions proved otherwise. While Sharia law is generally very ethical and moral, the extremity of punishment for breaking the law is the reason why Taliban was despised around the world. Despite this, many world leaders are still negotiating for peace with the Taliban, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan and also to make the world more peaceful.

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Aishwarya Rao