(redirected from Taliban government)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.




(tälēbän`, –lə–), Islamic fundamentalist militia of Afghanistan and later Pakistan, originally consisting mainly of Sunni Pashtun religious students from Afghanistan who were educated and trained in Pakistan. The Taliban emerged as a significant force in Afghanistan in 1994 when they were assigned by Pakistan to protect a convoy in Afghanistan, which marked the beginning of a long-term alliance between the group and Pakistani security forces. The Taliban subsequently won control of Kandahar, and by 1996 they had gained control over much of Afghanistan, including Kabul, either by force or through forming alliances with other mujahidin.

The Taliban established a government headed by Mullah Muhammad OmarOmar, Mohammad,
1960?–2013?, Afghan religious and political leader popularly known as Mullah Omar. From a rural Pashtun family, he became a Muslim cleric. In the 1980s he joined the mujahidin fighting the Soviet occupation and lost his right eye in battle.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the group's spiritual leader (and a military leader as well) until his death c.2013. Although the civil war continued, mainly with the Northern Alliance in N Afghanistan, Taliban rule ended much of the factional fighting and corrupt rule that had afflicted Afghanistan after the collapse in 1992 of the Soviet-aligned government. The Taliban also rigidly enforced puritannical laws that were influenced by WahhabiWahhabi
or Wahabi
, reform movement in Islam, originating in Arabia; adherents of the movement usually refer to themselves as Muwahhidun [unitarians]. It was founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab (c.
..... Click the link for more information.
 Islam and Afghan tribal customs, and provided a refuge for Osama bin Ladenbin Laden, Osama or Usama
, 1957?–2011, Saudi-born leader of Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization devoted to uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
..... Click the link for more information.
's Al Qaeda and similar Islamic militant groups. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that Al Qaeda launched against the United States, the United States retaliated against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, providing support for a Northern Alliance offensive against the Taliban that led to their collapse and the entry of U.S. forces into Afghanistan. By Dec., 2001, the Taliban had surrendered their last urban stronghold, Kandahar, and they and Al Qaeda retreated into the mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border or dispersed among the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

The Taliban subsequently survived several U.S. and NATO campaigns intended to eliminate them as a significant guerrilla force. Aided by the renewed warlordism and corruption, by tribal Pashtun ties, and by a largely moribund Afghan economy, they reestablished training camps in Pakistan, mainly in North and South Waziristan and Baluchistan, and continued to draw students from religious schools there; they also were widely believed to receive support from Pakistan's security forces, despite denials by Pakistan.

By 2003 the Taliban were again mounting ongoing guerrilla attacks in Afghanistan, mainly against government supporters and forces, school teachers, and foreign troops and aid workers; they used suicide-bomber attacks. Several times the Taliban have gained control of S Afghanistan districts and towns in larger operations, though by 2014 the Taliban were less successful in battle and controlled only a few districts. They had greater success against Afghan forces after the withdrawal in 2014 of foreign combat troops, mounting a number of successful attacks, most notably at Kunduz in N Afghanistan in 2015, but could not always hold territory they had won. Since 2010 the Taliban have increasingly come to resemble a criminal organization in their dependence and focus on extortion, opium trafficking, illegal mining, and the like.

The Taliban's presence in Pakistan has led to the growth of a so-called Pakistani Taliban as well. Drawn mainly from Pakistan's ethnic Pashtuns and consisting of a number of loosely allied militias who also have split into factions at times, they have become an important militant force based primarily in Waziristan but with operations in other areas, seeking to establish a rigid, extremely conservative form of Islamic law and fighting at times with government troops. The Pakistani government has accused members of the Pakistani Taliban of assassinating (2007) Benazir BhuttoBhutto, Benazir
, 1953–2007, prime minister of Pakistan (1988–90; 1993–96), daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Educated at Radcliffe and Oxford, she returned to Pakistan shortly before her father was overthrown by General Zia ul-Haq in 1977.
..... Click the link for more information.
. In 2009 the Pakistani military conducted major offensives again the Taliban in Swat and South Waziristan. The Pakistani Taliban are believed to have been involved in plotting the 2010 attempted bombing of Times Square, New York City, and have trained foreign Islamists. A Pakistani government offense was mounted again the group in North Waziristan in 2014, leading to murderous revenge attack against a Peshawar school. Also in Pakistan are the groups known as Punjabi Taliban; these draw their membership mainly from the Sunnis of Punjab prov.


See studies by A. Rashid (rev. ed. 2010) and P. Bergen and K. Tiedemann (2013).

References in periodicals archive ?
Instead of providing strategic depth in Afghanistan under a friendly Taliban government, Pakistan ended up being a frontline state of the US war against the Afghan Taliban.
The Taliban government has long advocated that an Ulema commission representing both the Taliban and Afghan opposition should meet to decide the future of Afghanistan and that its decision should be binding to both sides.
Then Northern Alliance was against Pakistan for having recognized the Taliban government.
They include former ministers in the Taliban government and commanders.
The row centred on the Taliban office, which opened in Qatar on Tuesday, using the title "Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan", the formal name of the Taliban government from 1996 until they were toppled in 2001.
But insurgent officials stressed that the future Taliban government would be gentler and wiser than in 1990s.
Taliban insurgents have been operating shadow administrations in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan since the start of the US-led war in 2001 that ousted the Taliban government from Kabul.
The eastern Kunar province where Taliban have intensified attacks against foreign forces is considered to be a death trap for foreign troops where 113 foreign soldiers have been killed since the US-led forces dislodged Taliban government in 2001.
Troops have also provided security for hundreds of elders to attend two tribal gatherings in the local seat of Taliban government.
AS a former soldier, I retain the utmost admiration and pride in the disciplined commitment and professionalism of all our armed forces, and I fully supported the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan in order to drive out al Qaida terrorist units provided safe haven by the fanatical and oppressive Taliban government.
Pakistan's northwestern region has become a stronghold for both al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters who fled Afghanistan following the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government in 2001.
As army chief and president of the country, Musharraf was termed the only decision maker to side all out with the United States for a military operation against Afghanistan's Taliban government immediately after 9/11.