This is a continuation of our older entry on the Taliban — Newer resources will be placed on this page

Who are the Taliban?

Recent years have seen the re-emergence of the hardline Islamic Taliban movement as a fighting force in Afghanistan and a major threat to its government.

They are also threatening to destabilise Pakistan, where they control areas in the north-west and are blamed for a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks.

The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s in northern Pakistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

A predominantly Pashtun movement, the Taliban came to prominence in Afghanistan in the autumn of 1994.

It is commonly believed that they first appeared in religious seminaries – mostly paid for by money from Saudi Arabia – which preached a hard line form of Sunni Islam.

The Taliban’s promise – in Pashtun areas straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan – was to restore peace and security and enforce their own austere version of Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power.


Pakistan has repeatedly denied that it is the architect of the Taliban enterprise.

But there is little doubt that many Afghans who initially joined the movement were educated in madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan.

Pakistan was also one of only three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which recognised the Taliban when they were in power in Afghanistan from the mid-1990s until 2001.

It was also the last country to break diplomatic ties with the Taliban.

But Pakistan has since adopted a harder line against Taliban militants carrying out attacks on its soil.


– Source / Full Story: Who are the Taliban?, BBC, Oct. 20, 2009

Articles about the Taliban


News and News Archive

Items tagged Taliban — plus earlier articles mentioning Taliban — at Religion News Blog.

See Also

Our older entry with research resources on the Taliban

Afghanistan: Before and after the Taliban BBC, April 2, 2014: “Since 2001, when the Taliban were ousted, thousands have been killed and billions of dollars spent trying to secure a peaceful future for the country’s inhabitants.”