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Flag of Taliban.svg
Strength approx. 60,000 (in 2014)
Location Quetta , Pakistan
Peshawar , Pakistan
Butcher War in Afghanistan since 2001
Haibatullah Achundsada

Mohammed Omar † (1994-2013)
Abdul Ghani Barada
Akhtar Mansour

The Taliban , sometimes also Taleban ( Pashtun د افغانستان د طالبان اسلامی تحریکِ DMG Da Afġānistān da Ṭālibān Islāmī Taḥrīk , German , 'The Islamic Taliban Movement in Afghanistan' ), are a deobandic - Islamist terror group that ruled large parts of Afghanistan from September 1996 to October 2001 . The name ( Persian طالبان, DMG ṭālibān ) is the Persian plural form of the Arabic word talib (طالب, DMG ṭālib 'student, seeker', pluralطلاب, DMG ṭullāb , tooطلبة, DMG ṭalaba ). Diplomatically, the Taliban's Islamic Emirate Afghanistan was only recognized by Pakistan , Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates .

The Taliban movement has its origins in religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, which were mostly run by the Pakistani political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam . The ideology of the movement is based on an extreme form of deobandism and is also strongly influenced by the Pashtun legal and honor code , the Pashtunwali. The leader of the Taliban was Mullah Mohammed Omar until 2013 . Omar's successor Akhtar Mansur was killed in a drone attack in 2016. Mansur's successor is Haibatullah Achundzada .

The Taliban first appeared in the southern city of Kandahar in 1994 . They besieged and bombarded the capital Kabul for two years , captured it in September 1996 and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In October 2001, their government was overthrown by troops of the Afghan United Front in cooperation with American and British special forces during the US-led intervention in Afghanistan . Their leaders were able to survive by withdrawing to Pakistan. Since 2003 the Taliban have been conducting a terrorist-military campaign based in Pakistan against the democratic Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the international ISAF troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban carry out targeted attacks against the Afghan civilian population more than twice as often as against the Afghan or international troops. A United Nations report shows that the Taliban were responsible for over über of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. Human rights organizations have induced the International Criminal Court in The Hague to conduct a preliminary investigation into the Taliban for systematic war crimes.

Sabiullah Mujahid is considered to be the spokesman for the Taliban.


Collapse of the central government and the battle for Kabul (1992–1994)

After the collapse of President Mohammed Najibullah's Soviet-backed regime , the seven most important Sunni mujahideen parties agreed on a peace treaty, the Peshawar Accords, in 1992, which established the Islamic State of Afghanistan and established a transitional government. However, the agreement could not prevent the collapse of the state : the new government had no income and chaos reigned in the capital: Gulbuddin Hekmatyār and his Hizb-i-Islāmi militia, armed, financed and guided by Pakistan , launched a comprehensive attack campaign against Kabul and the transitional government. This happened despite Hekmatyār being repeatedly offered the office of prime minister.

In addition, tensions escalated in mid-1992 between the radical Sunni Ittihad-i Islami, supported by Saudi Arabia, and the Iran-supported Shiite Hizb-i Wahdat. The militias started a bloody war. The Hizb-i-Wahdat militia entered into an alliance with Hekmatyār in late 1992. Abdul Raschid Dostum and his Junbisch-i-Milli militia joined this alliance in early 1994. During the most intense phase of the bombardment by the Hekmatyārs Alliance, over 25,000 people died in Kabul.

Situation in the South / Origins of the Taliban (1992–1994)

Also Kandahar , a city in the south of the country, which was not under control of the newly formed state, and Mazar-i-Sharif in the north, witnessed bloody battles. In contrast, the rural regions devastated in the Soviet-Afghan War were hardly affected by fighting and reconstruction began.

Southern Afghanistan was neither under the control of the central government nor under the control of militias such as the Hekmatyars. Local militia or tribal leaders ruled the south. In 1994 the Taliban first appeared in the southern city of Kandahar. Various sources cite the kidnapping and rape of two girls by a militia leader as the triggering factor, and 30 men led by Mullah Omar to liberate them.

In the autumn of 1994 they made their first military appearance and on November 5, 1994 they took control of the city of Kandahar. Until November 25, 1994, they controlled the city of Laschkar Gah and Helmand Province . During 1994 they conquered other provinces in the south and west of the country that were not under the control of the central government.

Stabilization of the situation in Kabul (end of 1994)

Also at the end of 1994, the Afghan Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud defeated the militias that had been fighting for control of the capital Kabul. The bombing of the capital came to a halt. Massoud initiated a nationwide political process with the aim of national consolidation and democratic elections. Three conferences were held with representatives from most of the provinces of Afghanistan. Massoud invited the Taliban to join this process and help create stability. The Taliban rejected a democratic form of government.

Attack campaign by the Taliban against Kabul (1995–1996)

In early 1995, the Taliban launched large-scale attack campaigns against Kabul. Amnesty International wrote:

"This is the first time in a few months that the civilians of Kabul have been the target of bombing attacks on residential areas in the city."

- Amnesty International (1995)

The Taliban suffered heavy defeats against Massoud's troops. International observers already suspected the end of the Taliban movement. With military support from Pakistan and financial aid from Saudi Arabia, however, they reorganized. They besieged and bombed Kabul for two years. In September 1996 the Taliban planned another major offensive against Kabul. The then general and later President Pervez Musharraf and Interior Minister Nasirullah Babar, who referred to the Taliban as "our boys", played a key role in the financial and material support of the Taliban by Pakistan .

Taliban take power (September 1996)

On September 26, 1996, Massoud ordered a strategic withdrawal of his troops to northern Afghanistan. On September 27, 1996 the Taliban invaded Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which was only recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan remained the internationally recognized government of Afghanistan (with a seat at the United Nations).

The Taliban imposed their political and legal interpretation of Islam on the areas under their control. Women lived under house arrest.

War against the United Front (1996-2001)

According to a United Nations report, the Taliban committed systematic massacres of civilians while trying to consolidate their control in western and northern Afghanistan. The United Nations named 15 massacres in the years 1996 to 2001. These were "highly systematic and all attributable to the Ministry of Defense [of the Taliban] or Mullah Omar personally." The so-called 055 al-Qaeda Brigade was also involved in atrocities against the Afghan civilian population involved.

Territorial control of Afghanistan in winter 1996: Massoud (blue), Taliban (green), Dostum (pink), Hezb-i Wahdat (yellow)

Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Raschid Dostum, former opponents, originally founded the United Front in response to massive Taliban offensives against the areas under Massoud's control on the one hand and the areas under Dostum's control on the other. However, the United Front soon developed into a national political resistance movement against the Taliban. This was joined by the Hazara ethnic group persecuted by the Taliban through ethnic cleansing , as well as Pashtun anti-Taliban leaders such as the later President Hamid Karzai , who comes from southern Afghanistan, or Abdul Qadir. Qadir came from a family that enjoyed great influence in the Pashtun east of Afghanistan around Jalalabad .

The human rights situation depended on the respective commanders who controlled certain areas. Human Rights Watch recorded no human rights crimes committed by the forces under the direct control of Ahmad Shah Massoud for the period from October 1996 to Massoud's assassination in September 2001. Massoud had control of Punjir, Thakar, parts of Parvan and Badakhshan. In the meantime, Nuristan, Kunduz and the areas north of Kabul were also under his control.

According to Human Rights Watch, most human rights violations committed by members of the United Front date from 1996 to 1998, while Abdul Rashid Dostum controlled large parts of the north. Until controlled to his defeat in 1998, Dostum Samangan , Balkh , Dschowzdschan , Faryab and Baghlan . In 1997, Dostum's forces under the command of Abdul Malik Pahlawan executed 3,000 Taliban prisoners in and around Mazar-e Sharif. In 1998, the Taliban defeated Abdul Rashid Dostum in Mazar-e Sharif. Dostum went into exile. A little later, the Hezb-i-Wahdat troops also lost their territories to the Taliban. The Taliban subsequently murdered around 4,000 civilians in and around Mazar-e Sharif in a targeted campaign.

Ahmad Shah Massoud remained the only commander who was able to successfully defend his territories against the Taliban. Pakistan supported the Taliban's offensives, but failed to bring about a defeat for Massoud. The Taliban repeatedly offered him a position of power. Massoud refused. He stated in an interview:

“The Taliban say, 'Accept the office of prime minister and join us,' and they would keep the highest office in the country, the presidency. But at what price ?! The difference between us lies in how we think about the most basic principles of society and the state. We cannot accept their terms for a compromise, otherwise we would have to give up the principles of modern democracy. We are fundamentally against the system that is called 'the emirate of Afghanistan'. ... There should be an Afghanistan in which every Afghan can feel happy. And I think this can only be ensured by a democracy based on consensus. "

- Ahmad Shah Massoud (August 2001)

Massoud wanted to convince the Taliban to join a political process that would ultimately lead to democratic elections.

In early 2001, the United Front adopted a new strategy of local military pressure and a global political agenda. Resentment and resistance to the Taliban, based on the roots of Afghan society, grew stronger. This also affected the Pashtun areas. In total, an estimated one million people fled the Taliban. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled to the areas of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Director David Keane came to the following conclusion in his documentary Inside the Taliban for the National Geographic Channel :

"The only thing standing in the way of future Taliban massacres is Ahmad Shah Massoud."

- National Geographic Channel : Inside the Taliban

In the areas under his control, Massoud increasingly trained police forces to prevent the chaos of Kabul (1992–1994) from happening again if the United Front were to be successful.

In spring 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels and asked the international community for humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan. He stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda had introduced a "very wrong interpretation of Islam" and that if the Taliban did not have the support of Pakistan, they would not be able to continue their military campaigns for one year. During his visit to Europe, during which the President of the European Parliament Nicole Fontaine called him the “pole of freedom in Afghanistan”, Massoud warned that his secret service had information that a large-scale attack on American soil was imminent.

Assassination of Massoud on September 9, 2001

On September 9, 2001, two Arab suicide bombers posing as journalists detonated a bomb they had hidden in their video camera during an interview with Massoud in Takhar, Afghanistan. Massoud died a little later from his injuries. Although the funeral took place in the very rural Punjir Valley , hundreds of thousands of grieving Afghans attended it. Many feared the final victory of the Taliban after the assassination of Massoud.

September 11, 2001

Debris of the World Trade Center

Two days after Massoud's assassination, terrorist attacks took place in the United States, resulting in the deaths of at least 2,993 people, which are considered to be mass terrorist murder .

Four airliners were hijacked in the early morning of September 11th. Two were directed into the towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Arlington , Virginia . The fourth plane, probably with another target in Washington DC, crashed the hijackers against the violently resisting passengers at 10:03 a.m. over the town of Shanksville , Pennsylvania . Around 15,100 of around 17,400 people were evacuated in time for the WTC towers to collapse.

The US identified members of al-Qaeda, which was based in the Taliban emirate and was allied with the Taliban, as the perpetrators of the attacks.

Operation Enduring Freedom (October 2001)

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the UN Security Council affirmed the United States' right to self-defense in resolution 1368 of September 12, 2001. In the opinion of the USA and other governments, this legitimized a military operation in Afghanistan under international law . On September 19, 2001, the UN Security Council called on the Taliban government in Afghanistan to extradite Osama bin Laden "immediately and unconditionally," referring to UN Resolution 1333 of December 2000. US President George W. Bush also had in a speech to the US Senate called on the government in Afghanistan to extradite bin Laden: “They will extradite the terrorists or share their fate.” Mullah Omar and Abd al-Salim Saif, Taliban ambassadors in Islamabad, said The Taliban would consider extradition if presented with evidence of bin Laden's involvement in the attacks. Saudi Arabia tried to get an extradition as early as 1998 after bin Laden declared that he wanted to liberate the holy places of Islam from the Saudi royal family and wanted to send weapons to his followers in the country, and then sent Prince Turki ibn Faisal to Kandahar in June 1998. Mullah Omar assured Prince Turki during the meeting that he would hand over bin Laden. When Prince Turki visited Mullah Omar again in September 1998, accompanied by ISI Director Nasim Rana, he no longer wanted to hear about his promise, refused extradition and insulted Prince Turki. Since 1996 the US had asked the Taliban about 30 times to extradite bin Laden and intensified its efforts after the terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in August 1998. The US handed the Taliban a dossier with evidence against bin Laden about the involvement in the attacks in East Africa, but the Taliban again refused. The FBI had obtained the evidence of bin Laden's involvement from interrogations of the main defendant Mohammed al-Owhali, who had completed combat training in Afghanistan and made a comprehensive confession. He was sentenced to life in prison by a US federal court in May 2001. ISI director Mahmud Ahmed flew to Kandahar immediately after the 9/11 attacks to negotiate extradition with Mullah Omar. At the same time, Robert Grenier, the CIA representative in Islamabad, met with Taliban commander Mullah Akhtar Usmani in Quetta . Both initiatives were unsuccessful. Ultimately, Mullah Omar refused to extradite bin Laden, also because he believed the Americans would not send ground troops into the country. In addition, extradition would have proved difficult in practice because bin Laden had a well-armed and loyal protection force and the Taliban did not know exactly where he was at the time.

From October 7, 2001, the United States intervened militarily in Afghanistan with Operation Enduring Freedom . They initially support ground troops of the United Front (Northern Alliance) with massive air strikes in a major offensive against the Taliban. In the months that followed, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was overthrown (see also the war in Afghanistan ). The Taliban leadership around Mullah Omar fled to Pakistan.

Taliban fighters caught in fighting and people suspected of supporting the Taliban have since been imprisoned. Most of them are being held in internment camps within Afghanistan by NATO troops . Inmates classified as harmless are released again. Until autumn 2004, some prisoners were also transferred to the internation camps in Guantánamo Bay , Cuba, which were criticized internationally .

A transitional government was formed under the auspices of the United Nations, supported by UN-mandated foreign troops ( ISAF ). A democratic constitution was passed in Afghanistan in 2004, officially making the country a democratic Islamic republic .

Reform of the Taliban (since 2003)

The Taliban formed anew in Pakistan . In 2003 they reappeared for the first time. Since the beginning of 2006, together with the Haqqani network and the Hezb-i Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyārs , they have been carrying out attacks against Afghan civilians and ISAF soldiers . Some villages and rural areas came under Taliban control again.

Pakistan plays a central role in Afghanistan. A 2010 report by the London School of Economics states that the Pakistani intelligence service ISI has an "official policy" of supporting the Taliban. The ISI finances and trains the Taliban. This is happening even though Pakistan is officially posing as an ally of NATO. The London School of Economics report concludes:

"Pakistan seems to be playing a double game of astonishing proportions."

- London School of Economics report (2010)

Amrullah Saleh , Afghanistan's former intelligence chief, criticized:

“We're talking about all of these proxies [Taliban, Haqqani, Hekmatyar], but not the master of proxies, the Pakistani army. The question is, what does Pakistan's army want to achieve ...? You want to gain influence in the region. "

- Amrullah Saleh (2010) : Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Conference

The Taliban are targeting the Afghan civilian population in attacks. In 2009, according to the United Nations, they were responsible for over 76% of the victims among Afghan civilians. In 2010, the Taliban were responsible for over 3/4 of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Civilians are more than twice as likely to be the target of deadly Taliban attacks as Afghan government troops or ISAF troops.

In 2011 the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIGRC) called the targeted attacks by the Taliban against the civilian population a "war crime". Religious leaders condemned the Taliban's attacks as a violation of Islamic ethics.

In 2011, human rights groups induced the International Criminal Court in The Hague to conduct a preliminary investigation into the Taliban for war crimes .

In 2011, war-like skirmishes between ISAF troops and their opponents also increased in scope and severity.

In June 2011, the US surprisingly confirmed that it was negotiating directly with the Taliban.

“The first 10,000 US soldiers will return to their home country in July. The thing in Afghanistan should come to an end in 2014. After that, the Taliban will largely determine the fate of Afghanistan. In the best case scenario, they will make a very shaky compromise with the forces supported by the West that will keep the country reasonably stable. "

In January 2012, the Taliban announced their readiness to set up an office in Qatar . This should be used for negotiations. To this end, eight Taliban representatives traveled from Pakistan to Qatar at the beginning of 2012; They unveiled a plaque reading "Islamic Emirate Afghanistan" at the office and hoisted the Taliban flag on the premises. A few hours after the office opened, the US announced that it would begin direct peace talks with the Taliban in Doha.

Another advance from 2015

Distribution area (white) of the Taliban in February 2016.

The Taliban have been trying to conquer regions in Afghanistan since 2015. In the summer of 2016, 36 out of 400 regions or up to a third of Afghanistan were no longer under government control.

Russia has supported negotiations with the Taliban since 2015. The greatest security threat to Russia is the Islamic State . According to an expert for Russia, support in the form of arms deliveries was also considered or was in progress until 2017. Russia is also working with China and Pakistan to ensure that Taliban representatives are removed from international sanctions lists. The Afghan government was not invited to a first round of talks on Afghanistan in 2016. In 2017, the negotiations were less about advancing a peace process and much more about the interests of the surrounding countries.

In 2019, the Kremlin again received Taliban representatives after the US government had unloaded them because of another bomb attack.



The Supreme Shura of the founding members of the Taliban comprised the following members from 1994 to 1997:

  • Mullah Mohammed Omar (1960–2013), leader of the faithful and head of the Taliban movement, from September 1996 also head of state of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
  • Mullah Mohammad Rabbani Akhund (1955 / 56–2001), head of government and deputy head of the Taliban movement
  • Mullah Mohammed Ghous Akhund (* 1965), Foreign Minister until June 1997
  • Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund (* 1958?), Chief of Staff, Foreign Minister before Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil and Governor of Kandahar during the Taliban regime
  • Mullah Mohammed Fazil Akhund (* 1967), head of the army corps
  • Mullah Abdur Razzaq (* 1966), head of the customs authorities
  • Mullah Sayed Ghiasuddin Agha (1960-2003), Minister of Information
  • Mullah Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa (* 1967), Minister of the Interior
  • Maulvi Abdul Sattar Sanani (or: Sattar Sadozai), Minister of Justice
  • Mullah Abdul Jalil (* 1961), Foreign Minister from 1997



The Taliban themselves belong more to the ideological school of the Deobandis , a fundamentalist group headquartered in Deoband, India . Many high-ranking Taliban were recruited into the Koran school in Peshawar , the largest Pakistani branch of the Dar-ul-'Ulum-Haqqania Koran school. The political branch and supporter of the Deobandis schools is the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party in Pakistan. The USA asked the Pakistani government to close these religious schools ( madrasas ). However, these are not officially registered in Pakistan. In 2007, the Pakistani Ministry of the Interior estimated their number at around 13,500, other estimates put it at 20,000. The relationship between the Sunni Taliban and the Shiite minorities in the country is considered tense, even if there are a few Shiites in the ranks of the Taliban. []

In the self-image conveyed by a Taliban spokesman in Doha in 2019, the Taliban are Afghanistan, so they do not see themselves as part of the state, but as the state itself.

oppression of women

Destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban, photo from before and after the destruction

During the Taliban's reign in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban's system became known worldwide through the oppression of women. The declared aim of the Taliban was to create “a safe environment for women in which their chastity and dignity are inviolable again”. Women have been forced to wear the burqa in public because, as a Taliban spokesman put it, "a woman's face is a source of corruption for men unrelated to her." Women were forbidden to work and were no longer allowed to be educated from the age of eight.

Apparently, and according to statements by a Taliban press spokesman in 2019, there is an insight that female professionals are indispensable, at least in medical professions.

Destruction of international cultural heritage

The Taliban deliberately destroyed cultural evidence that they considered un-Islamic. These included the Buddha statues of Bamiyan, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as well as Buddhist exhibits in the museum in Kabul .

Human rights violations


The Taliban carried out systematic massacres of civilians, particularly members of the Shiite - majority Hazara ethnic group, while attempting to consolidate control in western and northern Afghanistan. The United Nations named 15 massacres between 1996 and 2001. United Nations officials compared the massacres with the ethnic cleansing that took place during the Bosnian war . The Taliban's massacre campaigns were "highly systematic and all attributable to the Ministry of Defense [of the Taliban] or Mullah Omar personally." The so-called 055 al-Qaeda Brigade was also involved in atrocities against the Afghan civilian population. The United Nations report cites testimonies that describe Arab militia officers carrying long knives with which they cut throats and skinned people.

The Taliban also pursued a scorched earth policy . They burned entire areas and tore down entire cities. The city of Istalif, which had over 45,000 inhabitants, was z. B. completely destroyed and surrounding agricultural land set on fire. Residents were murdered or displaced.

In early 1998, the Taliban systematically cut off all of central Afghanistan, the Hazara main settlement area, from UN aid supplies. This starvation blockade of around one million people was the first time in 20 years of war that a party had used food as a weapon.

human trafficking

Taliban and al-Qaida commanders maintained a human trafficking network . They kidnapped women and sold them into sex slavery in Afghanistan and into forced prostitution in Pakistan.

The Time Magazine wrote: "The Taliban have often argued that their brutal restrictions they have imposed women, only one path were to protect the opposite sex. The behavior of the Taliban during the six years in which they expanded their rule in Afghanistan make these statements a farce. "

During an offensive in the Shomali plains in 1999, the Taliban and Arab and Pakistani al-Qaida militiamen disappeared more than 600 women. They were crammed into buses and vans and never seen again. Time Magazine wrote: “The trail of the missing Shomali women leads to Jalalabad, not far from the Pakistani border. There, according to witness statements, the women were locked up in the 'Sar Shahi' camp in the desert ... Some were transported to Peshawar [Pakistan] ... Others were taken to the bin Laden training camp in Khost. ”Aid organizations assume that many women will go to Pakistan where they were sold to brothels or used as slaves in private households.

Some Taliban fighters refused to participate in the human trafficking. For example, a Taliban commander by the name of Nuruludah declared. For example, that he saw Pakistani al-Qaeda fighters forcing women into a van. Nuruludah and his fighters then freed the women from the van. In another incident, Taliban fighters liberated women from an al-Qaeda camp in Jalalabad.

Oppression of women

Taliban in Herat (2001)

After they had achieved political rule over Afghanistan, the Taliban also issued edicts that severely restricted women's rights. They concerned the areas of education , medical care, clothing and behavior in public . Girls were forbidden to go to school. Many schools were closed, after which the girls were only given private education, if at all. Women in Kabul were no longer allowed to work in their professions and more and more often sat on the street as beggars in burqas. Since around 30,000 women lived as widows without any male relatives in Kabul alone due to the turmoil of the war, these women mostly had no other chance than to beg in order to raise a little money to survive. The following illustrates that the restrictions were life-threatening:

According to the Physicians for Human Rights, 53 percent of the seriously ill received no treatment. Access to medical care was almost impossible, especially for women. At the time of the Taliban rule, there was only one hospital in Kabul where women could be treated. There, however, the basic equipment was defective, X - or oxygen equipment and drugs were missing, running water was not available. In order to be treated at all, the women had to overcome several hurdles: A woman was not allowed to be treated without a male companion. Since male doctors were generally forbidden to look at or touch women, women could only be examined to a very limited extent. Wearing the burqa was also compulsory during treatment. A simple examination or a visit to the dentist was almost impossible as the veil could not be lifted. To ensure compliance with the law, Taliban members were regularly present in the hospitals. If Afghans resisted Taliban laws, severe penalties were imposed. Doctors faced beatings, professional bans and imprisonment .

Both in the cities and in the country, the hygienic conditions were (and in some cases still are today) at the lowest level. As far as they were still available, public baths were generally no longer accessible to women.

In the cities, the laws hit women particularly hard, as the western orientation was most pronounced there prior to the Taliban tyranny, and in many cases women were regularly employed and wore western clothing.

Terrorism against the civilian population

The Taliban target the Afghan civilian population in a targeted manner. In 2009, according to the United Nations, they were responsible for over 76% of the victims among Afghan civilians. In 2010, the Taliban were responsible for over 3/4 of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Civilians are more than twice as likely to be the target of deadly Taliban attacks as Afghan government troops or ISAF troops.

In 2011 the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIGRC) called the targeted attacks by the Taliban against the civilian population a "war crime". Religious leaders condemned the Taliban's attacks as a violation of Islamic ethics.

In 2011, human rights groups prompted the International Court of Justice in The Hague to conduct a preliminary investigation into the Taliban for war crimes.


In addition to drug trafficking , the Taliban are financed through donations from abroad, the diversion of international aid funds , extortion of protection money and the collection of taxes in the areas they control. In 2012, the Taliban raised about $ 400 million, including over $ 100 million from diverted aid. In 2017, Qatari news channel Al Jazeera claimed that Russia was helping the Taliban with arms deliveries.

Drug trafficking

In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s earned the Taliban on the cultivation of drugs and the smuggling of opium , heroin , hashish and other narcotics agents . The Taliban gave farmers a free hand as producers of raw opium and the "informal sector for processing" it into heroin, and levied taxes on cultivation and trade.

For 1999, the Taliban's drug trafficking revenues were estimated at $ 40 million. Airplanes from Ariana Afghan Airlines were used for the transport . With the Resolution 1267 of the UN Security Council international flights of Ariana Air were banned, the drug smuggling from now on ran overland.

In 2001, before the terrorist attacks on September 11th, the Taliban enforced a rigorous ban on the cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan, which resulted in the largest drop in drug production in any country in the world to date.

As a result, opium poppies were only grown in northern Afghanistan, which is not controlled by the Taliban. However, the Taliban continued to trade in opium and heroin from inventory. The stop in cultivation led to a “humanitarian crisis” as thousands of smallholders found themselves without an income. By stopping cultivation, the Taliban wanted, on the one hand, to relax the sanctions of UN Security Council Resolution 1267. According to a report by the CRS , some members of the US drug control team suspected it was simply a strategy to drive up prices. Indeed, the price of raw opium rose from an all-time low of $ 28 / kg to an all-time high of $ 746 / kg on September 11, 2001. In the weeks following the terrorist attacks , it fell back to $ 95 / kg, probably because stocks were high Style were sold in the face of an impending invasion.

In 2002 the acreage for opium poppies increased from 8,000 to 74,000 hectares. The Taliban found itself in a phase of reorganization after the war . Individual Taliban leaders sold their stocks of opium. Some drug smugglers “invested” in the Taliban.

In the areas controlled by the Taliban, local Taliban commanders often levy a ten percent tax ( uschr ) not only on the sale of raw opium, but also on various other transactions, e.g. B. that of small shops and small businesses. Means of payment can be raw opium or other natural products. If the tax was not paid, violence was reported and, similar to the structures in a mafia , Taliban commanders at village level finance themselves from other mafia-like businesses, e.g. B. tolls, but have to give part of them to the higher-ranking commanders.

Taliban commanders protect the production and smuggling of opium militarily and charge up to 20% of the revenue for this. They do not shy away from armed violence against the state police and sometimes raid checkpoints to guarantee drug convoys free passage. In addition, Taliban commanders are involved in the taxation or operation of up to 60 heroin laboratories.

For 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the Taliban's profits from the opium trade at $ 150 million, that of Afghan drug traffickers at $ 2.2 billion and that of Afghan farmers at $ 440 million.

In 2012 the acreage for opium poppies in Afghanistan was 154,000 hectares and the Taliban continued to finance themselves through drug money.


The Taliban receive donations from all parts of the world, but above all from the Gulf region . According to the US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke from 2009, exact figures on the donation sums are difficult to determine, but donations are "more important" than the drug trade.

See also



  • Alex Strick van Linschoten, Felix Kuehn (Eds.): The Taliban Reader: War, Islam and Politics. C Hurst & Co Publishers, London 2018, ISBN 978-1-84904-809-5 .
  • Alex Strick van Linschoten, Felix Kuehn: An Enemy we Created - The Myth of the Taliban-Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970-2010 . C. Hurst & Co, London 2012.

Classic Taliban movement 1994–2001

  • William Maley (Ed.): Fundamentalism reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban . Hurst, London 2001, ISBN 1-85065-360-7 .
  • Ahmed Rashid : Taliban. Afghanistan's fighters for God and the new war in the Hindu Kush . CH Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60628-1 .
  • Alberto Masala: Taliban. Trente-deux preceptes pour les femmes ; N&B, Ultima Verba Collection.
  • Gilles Dorronsoro: Revolution Unending: Afghanistan, 1979 to the Present . Columbia University Press / Center d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, New York / Paris 2005, ISBN 0-231-13626-9 .
  • Neamatollah Nojumi: The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, and the Future of the Region. Palgrave MacMillan, New York 2002, ISBN 0-312-29402-6 .
  • Robert D. Crews, Amin Tarzi (Ed.): The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan . Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2008, ISBN 978-0-674-02690-2 .
  • The Taliban's War on Women: A health and human rights crisis in Afghanistan . Physicians for Human Rights, Boston 1998, ISBN 1-879707-25-X , physiciansforhumanrights.org (PDF)

Neotaliban from 2002

  • Antonio Giustozzi: Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002–2007 . Hurst Publishers, London 2007, ISBN 978-0-231-70009-2 .
  • Antonio Giustozzi: Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field . Columbia University Press, New York 2009, ISBN 978-0-231-70112-9 .
  • Borhan Osman, Anand Gopal: Taliban Views on a Future State , NYU Center on International Cooperation, 2016, cic.nyu.edu (PDF)
  • Florian Weigand: Afghanistan's Taliban - Legitimate Jihadists or Coercive Extremists? In: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding , 2017, doi: 10.1080 / 17502977.2017.1353755

Web links

Commons : Taliban  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Despite Massive Taliban Death Toll No Drop in Insurgency. July 3, 2016, accessed February 29, 2020 .
  2. See H. Wehr: Arabic Dictionary , Wiesbaden 1968, p. 510.
  3. Kamal Matinuddin: The Taliban Phenomenon, Afghanistan 1994–1997 . Oxford University Press, (1999), pp. 25-6
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