With the recent developments in Afghanistan, the Taliban is back in the current conversation of global news. Just two weeks before the United States had plans to withdraw its troops, the Taliban have occupied Afghanistan. The militant organization seized power in all major cities in just the span of a few days. The US had been backing the government in Afghanistan since the 1990s, which has been running the country since it regained power from the Taliban in 2001. But the country’s government has crumbled, and now Afghans are fleeing the country. What many want to know is, who is the Taliban? How has this organization regained momentum and recaptured the entire country of Afghanistan? If you would like to learn more about this historically significant and very dangerous group, read on to learn 7 important things to know about the Taliban.

What is the origin of the Taliban?

Back in 1994, the Taliban emerged in response to the chaos surrounding the Soviet’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. The group came from the Kandahar Province, which is located in the southern Pashtun region of the country. The Soviet Union invaded back in 1979 in support of the Communist government in Afghanistan. The mujahedeen defeated the Soviets, who were a group of factions brought together in the name of defeating a common enemy. But after victory, the groups began fighting and the country was overtaken by civil war. The Taliban was a group that promised to alleviate the civil war and put Islamic values as a priority. This is when they first overtook the country. 

What does the word “Taliban” mean?

The “word” Taliban literally means “students” or “seekers” in Pashto, which is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. This refers to the origin of the group’s original members, who were religious students educated in the Islamic tradition. 

Why did the US originally invade Afghanistan?

While the Taliban were in rule originally, a former mujahedeen fighter by the name of Osama bin Laden built up a terrorist group that would wreak havoc of global proportions. This group was called Al Qaeda, and it was responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In response to this fatal attack where thousands lost their lives, the US sent troops to take down Al Qaeda and bin Laden, after which they fled to Pakistan. The US had left its military presence there for 20 years. 

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