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The Taliban, Origins

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posted on Jul, 12 2011 @ 01:30 PM
When I signed up to ATS I said that the topic I was most interested in was terrorism, in my view this forum has a few problems the biggest one being ignorance. There are too many people running to Wikipedia or a conspiracy website for sources that back up their conspiracy view’s of modern day terrorism. When I joined up I headed for the terrorism forum and I noticed several threads about the Taliban, I was struck that many seemed to be discussing the Taliban without any real knowledge of who or what the Taliban is, most people seem to have the basics but lack a knowledge of the history and ideology. The issue of the Taliban is massive and complex and as such it is not possible to give a full briefing of the Taliban within one thread. With that in mind I intend to write a number of threads on the Taliban with the intention of providing member of ATS with a greater understanding of the true nature of the Taliban, firstly looking at the formation of the Taliban. It is important to keep in mind that this is only a quick and dirty account based on my reading of the Taliban and many details are missed out. It would be impossible to give a complete history of the formation of the Taliban in any thread only through diligent study is it truly possible to gain a full understanding of the Taliban’s history.

There are three main accounts of how the Taliban was created some say that the Taliban was the brainchild of the Pakistani ISI others; mostly conspiracy theorists argue that the Taliban is the monstrous creation of American intelligence. Finally there are those who take the view, as I do, that the Taliban was an organic independent creation that evolved as a result of the need in Afghanistan during the early 1990’s for a stable government however this Taliban does have connections to both America and Pakistan.

The American Monster

Proponents of the argument that America created the Taliban accurately point to the events of operation cyclone where America along with Pakistan aided the people of Afghanistan in fighting the Soviet Union. The Soviet war in Afghanistan ended in 1989 and with it operation cyclone ended however there are some who argue that in the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal the Americans created their own proxy government for Afghanistan in the form of the Taliban.

Those who hold such a view are clearly ignorant of history. Yes under operation cyclone a number of fighters were trained some by American and UK personnel and there are even accounts of senior fighters travelling to the west for further training. One claim is that fighters were trained in the use of Stinger missile systems in the Outer Hebrides of the coast of Scotland by 22SAS. How far the extent of support for the Afghan fighters thought the 1980’s is almost irrelevant when discussing the Taliban. The fighters who received assistance under operation cyclone were Mujahedeen and not the current Taliban. Many of the Mujahedeen came from groups such as the Northern Alliance and Hezbi-Islami amongst many others. When the soviets pulled out of Afghanistan so too did the American support, the Mujahedeen no longer had their Jihad against the Russians to fight and left to their respected tribes or home countries.

The Taliban did not exist until 1994, 5 years after the Americans left and they were a busy 5 years. There was the first Gulf war, the Invasion of panama, Rwanda and Serbian massacres along with the Bosnian war. During those 5 years the world was too busy to noticed that Afghanistan was slipping into anarchy, the truth is nobody really cared all the Americans wanted was to achieve what they could not in Vietnam and give the soviets a taste of their own medicine. The abandonment of Afghanistan due to other world events and the collapse of the Soviet Union therefore effectively mean’s that America did not have the opportunity to create the Taliban their proxy government that would come later with the current Karzi administration. However whilst America was relishing around the post cold war world getting involved in war after war Pakistan were in a perfect position to take advantage of the fragile Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Brainchild?

After the fall of communism in Afghanistan in 1989 and the withdrawal of the foreigners the fighting between the various fractions continued between the Mujahedeen and the communist government that was still backed by the Soviet Union only without military assistance. However in 1992 with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 a new government was formed form a political allegiance of parties called Jamiate-e Islami. This being Afghanistan, meant that just because the communist government had been ousted there was not peace the fighting escalated and as the rest of the world was looking at new world emerging after communism Pakistan surreptitiously kept a eye on Afghanistan.

Pakistan was becoming increasingly paranoid during the 1990’s over India and Kashmir, they believed that the Indian’s may attempt to establish a proxy government in Afghanistan to surround Pakistan and Kashmir. The solution was for Pakistan to back their own proxy government in Afghanistan. Many people wrongly believe that because of these concerns Pakistani ISI created the Taliban to fight to gain control of the country. However this is not what happened, rather the Pakistani’s turned to their old friend under operation cyclone a man named Gulbunddin Hekmatyar who was leader and founder of Hezb-e-Islami. Hezb-e-Islami were one of the main benefactors under operation cyclone in receiving training and funds however their leader is now wanted by America on the grounds of terrorism. Although after 1989 American assistance was halted Pakistan continued to provide assistance to Hezb-e-Islami. During the early 1990’s this increased the violence that was no sweeping across Pakistan and by the first part of 1994 up to 25,000 afghans were killed. Something had to be done and one man called Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeff had an idea to protect his people.

The organic Taliban.

By 1993 life in Afghanistan had became unbearable due to the fighting, the main highway in the country that had been built by the soviets was full of bandit checkpoints who would allow safe passage in return for money, if you were lucky. Most of the time these bandits would rape the women and kill the men then steel the bounty cargo of their vehicles.

As Imam of the local mosque in the village one day a young man came to Zaeff to tell him about how bandits had tried to steal his motorcycle right outside the mosque. Zaeff came up with a plan to protect the people of his village and the others who lived in his part of Kandahar, his plan was for the local imams of the mosques to join up and protect the people from the bandits and various fighting fractions in Afghanistan. He and the imams of other mosques went to a man named Mullah Omar seeking a leader at first he questioned the plan however soon he was on board and the imams and the religious students set up their own check point to catch out travailing bandits with only a single motorcycle. Soon word spread and before long they had amassed up to 300 men to join their cause of protecting the people from the violence. Then in October 1994 a small group of around 200 retook the small border town of Spin Boldak.

At the time this victory in Spin Boldak was distant in the news with the Rwanda Genocide in full swing the news of a small group in Afghanistan conquering a small trucking town didn’t really mean much. However BBC World Service heard about the story through locals in Pakistan, when the BBC approached and asked those who took over the town who they were they replied that they had no name but Mullah Omar was their leader. When the journalist pressed them on who they were they replied by saying they were all “Talib” or Islamic students, the plural being Taliban. Therefore when the story went out on the BBC World Service the group responsible for the victory at Spin Boldak they were called “the Taliban”.

What happened next was extraordinary, from 1994 to 1996 the Taliban swept across Afghanistan, there initial goal was not to obtain power in Afghanistan but rather to establish Sharia law and end the fighting. They moved through the country with extraordinary violence, there are accounts of them cutting the testacies of corrupt officials and then hanging the officials form bridges with their own testacies stuffed in their through along with dollar bills, symbolising their corrupt ways. In 1996 they took control of Kabul however would forever struggle to take control of the north of the country controlled by the Northern Alliance.
At one point during this ISI began to provide them with support however they were never a proxy government for Pakistan or America, they were a independent movement, that overtime became influenced heavily be the ISI. It is also interesting to point out that although America never formally recognised the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, however they were in negotiations with the Taliban over the possibility of establishing a oil pipe line through the country. The arrival of Bin Laden’s Al’Qa’ida ended all hope the Taliban government ever had of gaining international acceptance. Afghanistan had become a state sponsored by terrorism not a state sponsor of terrorism.

The full story of their history is fascinating, and violent some accounts of their abuses are truly horrific however I look forward to discussing this further with my fellow ATSters.

posted on Jul, 12 2011 @ 01:51 PM
Hard for me to discern US intelligence from Pakistani intelligence. It seems they are competing factions of the same organization. What I would like to know is how the Pakistani government profited from the oppression of the Afghan people. Is there evidence supporting the idea that the Taliban was created to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan and facilitate the pilfering of it's people?

posted on Jul, 12 2011 @ 02:06 PM
An excellent and interesting read good sir, I look forward to future readings


posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 08:06 AM
reply to post by ToasterOverkill

Thanks for the flag dude, glad you enjoyed the thread.

I must emphasise however that this thread is by no means a comprehensive history of the origins of the Taliban it’s just a quick and dirty explanation in attempt to provide people with a little bit of background

posted on Jul, 14 2011 @ 04:20 AM
"Ghost Wars" by Stephen Coll tells all about the Taliban forming from the Madrasa's on the Pakistan frontier and about the Pakistani ISI having their own agenda (and still do) when it comes to Afghanistan.

It's a great read.

posted on Aug, 8 2011 @ 12:47 PM
reply to post by bg_socalif

I am reading that book just now, it’s really very interesting.

Many of the Talibs did and indeed still do come out of the Madrasa’s on the Pakistani border it’s where many of them where taught their extreme Islamist views. Though out the history of the Taliban, the hand of the ISI is present, the point I am making in this thread however is that the Taliban was originally an organic movement formed out of the chaos of post-soviet Afghanistan. I do not deny the pivotal role that ISI has played in the history of the Taliban.

posted on Aug, 8 2011 @ 01:24 PM
reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin

here's a link you might find interesting.

this is from the about page of site.

About the National Security Archive An independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive also serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States. The Archive won the 1999 George Polk Award, one of U.S. journalism's most prestigious prizes, for--in the words of the citation--"piercing the self-serving veils of government secrecy, guiding journalists in the search for the truth and informing us all."

and here's the site page for taliban

The Taliban Biography

the first 1/4 of the page describes the content, then it give sixteen declassified documents from the state department. also on the left hand side of the page are some links that are insightful.

this sites has many different topics and has many documents to read.
i recommend it to any one who wants to know what the U.S. knew at the time that events happened.

posted on Aug, 8 2011 @ 01:27 PM
reply to post by hounddoghowlie

Hey, thanks for that buddy, I’ll sit down with a coffee tonight and read through some of that stuff, I have actually been looking for archives like this so really appreciate the link.

posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 12:54 PM
reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin

Thank you for a well formulated and accurate account of what happened thread. Well mostly.

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:37 AM
reply to post by The Utopian Penguin

Thanks dude glad you enjoyed it!

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