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The Taliban is an Islamist terrorist and political group that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until it was overthrown in late 2001. It regrouped in 2004 as an insurgency movement governing local Pashtun areas and fighting a guerrilla war against the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). They seized control of Afghanistan in 2021 again as soon as the ISAF started withdrawing from there. The Washington Post claimed that the Taliban seizure was "inextricably linked to Pakistan". According to the New York Times, "Afghan tribal leaders said that the Pakistani military waved a surge of new fighters across the border from sanctuaries inside Pakistan". Many Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) cadres were released after the Taliban seizure of Afghanistan, the JeM and Taliban have held meetings and the JeM has been assured of all support in carrying out its terrorist activities in India. Pakistan, "supported the Taliban when the latter was being hounded in Afghanistan, the militants said they would return the favour by helping Pakistan in making Kashmir a part of its country", according to a Government of Pakistan person. Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, said that the Afghans have broken the "shackles of slavery" after the Taliban seized Afghanistan. The chief of Pakistan's Intelligence Agency (ISI), Faiz Hameed, visited Kabul and met with the Taliban leadership as well as other Afghan leaders including former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The meeting was seen as an unconventional means of contact between the two countries in the absence of a government in Afghanistan. The visit was purportedly to get berths for the Haqqanis in the new Government, demonstrating their, "clout" over the Taliban. According to the Carnegie Endowment Center, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate shares an undeniable link with the Taliban, especially the Haqqani group. The movement is primarily made up of members belonging to ethnic Pashtun tribes, along with volunteers from nearby Islamic countries such as Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens, Arabs, Pakistanis and others. It operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly around the Durand Line regions. United States officials say their headquarters is in or near Quetta, Pakistan, and that Pakistan and Iran provide support, although both nations deny this.
The founder of the movement was Mullah Mohammed Omar. Its rank-and-file are made up mostly of Afghan refugees who have studied at Islamic religious schools in Pakistan. According to the London School of Economics, the Taliban received training, supplies and arms from the Pakistani government, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
The Taliban enforced a strict interpretation of Shari'ah. One Taliban list of prohibitions included "pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards."
They also prohibited employment, education, and sports for women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and depictions of living things, whether drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men were required to have a beard longer than a fist placed at the base of the chin, they had to wear their head hair short, and were required to wear a head covering. Adapting terms stipulated by the Pact of Umar, the Hindu minority were also required to wear yellow badges (zunar) to segregate "un-Islamic" and "idolatrous" communities from Islamic ones.
- "Pakistan’s hand in the Taliban’s victory", Washington Post, 18 August 2021.
- "The Real Winner of the Afghan War? It’s Not Who You Think", The New York Times, 26 August 2021.
- "JeM planning attacks in India, say reports", The Hindu, 26 August 2021.
- "‘Taliban with us to free Kashmir from India’: Pak govt leader on TV news debate", The Hindustan Times, 24 August 2021.
- "PM Imran talks about overpowering 'shackles of slavery' at Single National Curriculum launch", Dawn, 16 August 2021.
- "Afghans have broken 'shackles of slavery': Pakistan PM Imran Khan", The Hindu, 16 August 2021.
- Muzaffar, Maroosha. "Taliban have broken 'the shackles of slavery,' says Pakistan PM Imran Khan", The Independent, 17 August 2021.
- Reporter, The Newspaper's Staff, "ISI chief’s visit to Kabul: Fawad sees ‘unconventional contacts’ imperative" (in en), 2021-09-06, https://www.dawn.com/news/1644708.
- "As Taliban factions bicker, ISI chief in Kabul to find berths for Haqqanis", Indian Express, 5 September 2021.
- "Dealing With the Taliban - India’s Strategy in Afghanistan | After U.S. Withdrawal", Carnegie Endowment, June 2020.
- Alison Chung - Pakistan Intelligence 'On Taliban's Side' - Sky News Online, June 13, 2010
- Taliban to mark Afghan Hindus - CNN, May 22, 2001
- Jack Kelley - Taliban: Hindus must wear identity labels - USA TODAY, June 19, 2001
- T.C. Malhotra - US Lawmakers Condemn Taliban Treatment Of Hindus - CNS News, July 7, 2008