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The Taliban (/ /,; Pashto: طَالِبَانْ, romanized: ṭālibān, lit. 'students'), which also refers to itself by its state name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a militant organization in Afghanistan with an ideology comprising elements of Pashtun nationalism and the Deobandi current of Islamic fundamentalism. It ruled approximately three-quarters of the country from 1996 to 2001, before being overthrown following the American invasion. It recaptured Kabul on 15 August 2021 following the departure of most coalition forces, after nearly 20 years of insurgency, and currently controls all of the country. However, its government is not recognized by any country. The Taliban government has been internationally condemned for restricting human rights in Afghanistan, including the right of women and girls to work and to have an education.
|Dates of operation
|Primarily Pashtuns; minority Tajiks and Uzbeks
|Kandahar (1994–2001; 2021–present)
|State and intergovernmental opponents
|Battles and wars
|Designated as a terrorist group by
United Arab Emirates
|Part of a series on
The Taliban emerged in September 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War and largely consisted of students (ṭālib) from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools (madāris). Under the leadership of Mullah Omar (r. 1996–2001), the movement spread throughout most of Afghanistan, shifting power away from the Mujahideen warlords. In 1996, the group administered roughly three-quarters of the country, and established the First Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban's government was opposed by the Northern Alliance militia, which seized parts of northeast Afghanistan and largely maintained international recognition as a continuation of the interim Islamic State of Afghanistan. The Taliban held control of most of the country until being overthrown after the United States invasion of Afghanistan in December 2001. Many members of the Taliban fled to neighboring Pakistan.
After being overthrown, the Taliban launched an insurgency to fight the US-backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the War in Afghanistan. In May 2002, exiled members formed the Council of Leaders (Rahbarī Shūrā) based in the city of Quetta in Pakistan. Under Hibatullah Akhundzada's leadership, in May 2021, the Taliban launched a military offensive, that culminated in the Fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021 and the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic was dissolved and the Islamic Emirate was reestablished.
During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, and were widely condemned for massacres against Afghan civilians, harsh discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, denial of UN food supplies to starving civilians, destruction of cultural monuments, banning women from school and most employment, and prohibition of most music. The Taliban committed a cultural genocide against the Afghan people by destroying their historical and cultural texts, artifacts and sculptures. Following their return to power in 2021, the Afghanistan government budget lost 80% of its funding and food insecurity became widespread. The Taliban returned Afghanistan to many policies implemented under its previous rule, including banning women from holding almost any jobs, requiring women to wear head-to-toe coverings such as the burqa, blocking women from travelling without male guardians, and banning all education for girls.
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