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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). 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, Punjabis 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 leader of the movement is 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.
- 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