The Taliban is a terrorist organization that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban claims that they are out to enforce a strict version of Islamic law. The terrorist organization bans television, music, cinema and disapproves of girls aged 10 and above going to school. The Taliban is a deadly group that has painted the history of mankind in bloody colors with so many atrocities. These are the top ten distressing facts that makes us wish that the Taliban never existed.
1. It Is the Only Terrorist Organization to Have Governed a Country
It may seem unbelievable but it is a fact that the Taliban once constituted an official government of a country. The Taliban was formed in the early 1990s by an Afghan faction of Islamic fighters that had resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan between 1979–1989. The group initially gained public support by promising to impose stability and the rule of law in Afghanistan. The group later seized the capital, Kabul in September, 1996 and were in power till they were overthrown by an American military invasion in 2001. Between 1996–2001, the Taliban was the official government of Afghanistan. The Taliban rule was characterized by strict Islamic law requiring women to wear head-to-toe veils, television ban and jail terms for men whose beards were deemed too short. The Taliban ignored social services and other basic state functions. Their only passion was to punish Afghan citizens who failed to follow their erratic principles and rules. It is worthy of note that the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan was never recognized by the United Nations. The Taliban was also largely unpopular in the international community to the extent that only three countries recognized the Taliban during its reign They are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Why is this fact distressing? Several terrorist organizations have managed to wreck substantial havoc without ever being in control of a country. For about five years, the Taliban was the formal government of Afghanistan, a position that gave the group unfettered powers in the country. There is a chance that the Taliban had seized that opportunity to lay the foundation of an indefinite campaign of terror in Afghanistan.
2. It Collaborated With Al Qaeda and Aided Osama Bin Laden
Another distressing fact about the Taliban is that the group collaborated with Al Qaeda and aided Osama Bin Laden while they were in control of Afghanistan. Documents found in the house where Osama Bin Laden resided before his death reveal a close working relationship between the leaders of Al Qaeda and the leader of the Taliban. These documents also revealed frequent discussions of joint terrorist operations against NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and targets in Pakistan. The Taliban, while in power, provided refuge for Osama Bin Laden when he was expelled from Sudan. Without the comfort of being in Afghanistan and under the protection of the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden would not have been in a position to effectively plan and organize the disastrous 911 attacks in the United States.
3. Mandates Farmers to Produce Opium
Afghanistan is the world’s top producer of opium and is responsible for 90% of the total global production. The Taliban insurgency is the biggest headache of government agencies fighting opium addiction within their countries. The Taliban encourages cultivation and production of the drug and imposes illegal taxes on farmers in territories within its control. Forty percent of Taliban income comes from opium. The terrorist organization makes it compulsory for farmers to grow opium. Farmers who do not grow opium plants would still be taxed as if they grew it. This ensures that farmers resort to growing the illegal plant in order to make ends meet. The Taliban protects cooperating farmers from the Afghan government and fences off puppy farms with improvised explosive devices. The Taliban also controls drug trafficking routes in Afghanistan. The Taliban also offers protective convoys that escort drug packages across the country.
4. They Are Capable of Breaking Out Captured Terrorists From Prison
It is very distressing to learn that the Taliban is capable of breaking out imprisoned terrorists. During the long Afghan winter of 2011, the Taliban were busy underground. The Taliban spent more than five months digging a 1050 foot tunnel to the main prison in Southern Afghanistan, bypassing government checkpoints, watchtowers and concrete barriers topped with razor wire. The starting point of the tunnel was a compound directly opposite the prison which from the outside looked like any one of the hundreds of building companies that have popped up in areas awash with reconstruction dollars. The escape tunnel was so excellently planned and constructed that it had electric light and was ventilated with fans. Why does this fact distress us? If Taliban fighters are able to break out convicted terrorists from prison, how does the long arm of the law catch up with the group?If the Taliban can’t be punished for their crimes against humanity, how do they realize that they need to stop their heinous crimes?
5. Suicide Bombing Is Their Key Strategy
It is distressing if not surprising to learn that suicide bombing is a key Taliban strategy. The Taliban uses it to wage war against military and civilian targets alike. In July, 2017, the Taliban carried out a suicide bomb attack that killed 35 people and left more than 40 wounded. The attack happened just before 7am local time. The Taliban openly claimed responsibility for the attack. Recently, a suicide bomb attack on a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan left two American service members dead. The Taliban openly took responsibility for the attack. The Taliban also claimed that the attack destroyed two armored tanks. The Taliban doesn’t restrict its suicide bomb terror to Afghanistan, it also carries out such attacks in Pakistan. Recently, the Taliban carried out a suicide bomb attack that killed 26 people in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. In its usual heartless manner, the terrorist organization quickly claimed responsibility for the attack. What distresses us about this fact? The Taliban has proven several times that it is more than capable of planning and executing suicide bomb attacks on a large scale, however, no one knows the purpose of this strategy. No one knows exactly what they aim to achieve with their regular and frequent suicide bomb attacks and if they ever plan to stop.
6. Imposes Islamic Curriculum in Hijacked Schools
The Taliban opposes western education. They distort it as much as possible in areas under their control. In 2014, the Taliban paid a visit to a school in the northern province of Kunduz. The school is situated in a village that had fallen under the control of the Taliban. The Taliban spoke with the school principal and a few teachers about the school’s curriculum. They instructed the principal and teachers not to teach English, Sports and Social Studies. These subjects were replaced with religious studies. The Taliban has an age-long history of enmity with western education. When the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, it banned secular education and replaced it with religious studies, girls were not allowed to go to school. The same scenario plays out in any region that falls under the Taliban’s control today. Why does this fact distress us? The Taliban is trying hard to raise a new generation of terrorists, this is why they resist western education as they are afraid it may undermine their ignoble goals. If the Taliban continues to interrupt education in Afghanistan, the fight to exterminate terrorism in Afghanistan would be much more difficult.
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7. They Have an Army of Ruthless Gunmen
The Taliban does not only send suicide bombers to attack civilian and military targets, they also frequently send gunmen to maim people. In 2016, Taliban gunmen attacked a group of foreign tourists being escorted by an army convoy in western Afghanistan. Sometime in June, 2017, Taliban gunmen killed eight Afghan guards working at the largest American base in Afghanistan. The guards were ambushed near the Bagram base north of Kabul as they were driving home in a convoy. The Taliban was swift to claim responsibility for the attack. Sometime in 2014, Taliban gunmen slipped into a top luxury hotel in Kabul and murdered nine civilians in cold blood. Taliban gunmen attacks in Afghanistan are so frequent that it does not strike people as news anymore.
8. Funded By Foreign Governments
The fact that the Taliban is funded by foreign governments including western nations will confound many people. This is how it happens. Foreign Governments frequently donate money to the Afghan government in order to enable them to build key infrastructures in the country. The United States is Afghanistan’s biggest donor. Other western states and Gulf states also donate to the country. These donations are made available to contractors who are saddled with the responsibility of executing key infrastructural projects. Safety is very important to these contractors hence they negotiate peace with the Taliban before embarking on any project. The Taliban takes a cut of the money and leaves the contractors to do their work in peace. This is how the Taliban gets funded by foreign governments.
9. Russia Arms The Taliban
Russia is a bitter enemy of the United States, they can hardly resist any opportunity to undermine the United States. There is ample evidence that Russia is deliberately arming the Taliban in order to give the United States military a tough time in dealing with the Taliban insurgency. Two different Taliban cells once claimed that Russia supplies them with weapons. A Taliban group went as far as claiming that Russians handed them small arms for free across the Afghan border with Tajikistan. To make matters worse, the Russians’ excuse that they maintain contact with the Taliban leadership for peace talks is comparable to an elephant hiding behind spear grass. Why does this fact distress us? The United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states are trying very hard to restore sanity in Afghanistan by defeating the Taliban. It is expected that a country of Russia’s status should at least offer some form of moral support in the fight against terrorism. The fact that the Russians are actually aiding this terrorist organization is unthinkable and disastrous.
10. They Control a Substantial Part of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border
The Taliban controls a substantial part of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border, thereby establishing a reign of terror, creating a refuge for criminals and causing suspicion between both countries. The Taliban controls more than one-third of Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. The Taliban has created a sanctuary for the production of arms as well as the smuggling of drugs in the mountainous border region. The worst effect of the deadly group’s control of the border is that it has made both countries accuse each other of complacency. The fact that the Taliban controls a substantial part of Afghanistan’s border region is deeply distressing for several reasons. The control of this region will ensure that the Taliban can freely impose illegal taxes on international trade, this would provide them with a stable and reliable source of income to widen their scope of operations. The Taliban’s presence in the border region may also lead to severe diplomatic complications between the two countries.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Jeffrey Morris