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"Facts About Taliban"

Dear Reader,

Any Afghan who has spent a part of their life in Afghanistan is familiar with the term "Shabnama". What is a "Shabnama" ? It is often a political pamphlet, a statement by a political group, a community, a city, a province or an entire nation. What makes this statement different than any other one's that we read on magazines and newspapers is that they appear anonymously, in the dead of the night and most often no one or no registered organization or group claims responsibility for the document.

The history of "Shabnama" and the necessity of expressing ones views anonymously is something that we, the netizens of the world wide web, are very familiar with. What is important is that the content of some of these anonymous documents are quite scholarly and in a volatile political environment, as that of the many former Afghan governments/rulers, the message of the "Shabnama" was one that could not be spoken openly without social or governmental repercussion.

Shortly after the rise of the Taliban and the hoopla surrounding it, the Afghan political community woke to a Westernized version of "Shabnama", this time in the form of a mailed letter with out a return address. With the author(s) anonymous and the document a rather well written exposes of Taliban, this  "Shabnama" was soon the talk of the Afghan political community.

This document was written in Dari language, one of the National languages of Afghanistan. Here we have attempted to translate the content of this document for we feel it provides "a" (not "the") perspective on the Taliban and perceived "realities" on the Afghan scene. 

Needless to say, the views expressed in this pamphlet are that of the writer and are not necessarily shared by members of the Afghan Politics editorial board. We are bringing this to you to provide a wide range of perspectives into "Taliban". 

We hope you enjoy this reading and follow up with commentaries and opinions.

Thanks You,

Editors of the Afghan Politics-Org

An introduction by the translator:

While the emergence of the Taliban movement as a geopolitical force has not been as baffling to the  Western thinkers and political analysts as that of the rise of theocracy in a modernized state like Iran, it has certainly proven surprising enough for them. The expression of surprise by the Western circles has been as much part of the disappearance of the post-Soviet Afghanistan from the Western "radar screen", constituting the basis of a lack of profound knowledge on the part of these Westerners regarding what transpired in Afghanistan in the past four years,  as is the extraordinary docility with which the Taliban swept aside various Mujahideen forces  and came to conquer more than 75% of Afghanistan.

The issue of the supposed enigma surrounding the phenomenon of the rise of the Taliban aside, there,  however, is a general consensus among the Afghans that the rise of a force to rid the land of the mini-kingdoms, marred by looting and destruction, was but inevitable.

"A Short History of the Taliban" explores the reasons why the "saviors of the nation" came in the form of the Taliban. Historically speaking, it identifies the Taliban, first and foremost, as a religious strata,  which in certain periods of the history has risen, together with the nation, to defy both internal and external threats to the national integrity and the religion of Islam. Hence, the clergy, the Mullahs and the Taliban, are seen as an entity which, in its more traditional social-religious role,  takes the message of the book of Allah and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to the masses. The transformation of the Taliban from a religious strata into a political force is described as a historical necessity.

Last but not least, I would like to admit that the original of "A Short History of the Taliban" is a brilliantly-written piece of work of Dari language. I hope my humble translation has done justice to the style and wonderful language in which the piece is written. The original was written on the first of November, 1995, in Washington.

Shaukat Zamani
9 January, 1997
Auckland, New Zealand

Facts About the Taliban

Table of Content

Taliban in Afghan Historical and Social Context

Like all the other social and cultural  aspects of Islam, concepts like mosque, Imam and Talib came to Afghanistan with the advent of Islam more than 1300 years ago. Being a necessary part of the Islamic religion,  the concepts of  mosque, Imam and Talib have come to constitute an integral part of the Afghan socio-cultural  structure.

The Majid of Adina was the first mosque built by Abdulrahman Bin Samra on his capture of Sistan in 36 A.H. The Imam of the Mosque of Adina was Hassan Basri, the prominent Arab scholar. In Adina, Hassan Basri continued to teach Islamic teachings the way he had done in the Mosque of Basra, leaving a tradition behind that is still  strictly adhered in every Afghan city and village.

According to a World Bank survey published in 1977,  there were approximately 20,000 villages in Afghanistan at the time. Each village in Afghanistan has an average of two mosques, with one Imam and around two Taliban. In addition,  if we also take into account the large number of Taliban in some prominent Islamic centers throughout Afghanistan such as Poli Kheshti in Kabul, the Masjid Jamay in Herat and the Holy Kherqa in Kandahar, the total number of the Taliban at the time of the so-called Communist Saur Revolution of 1979 reached something  in the vicinity of 120,000. This approximate figure does not include some 5000- 10,000 Afghan Taliban studying at some other prominent Islamic centers, such as Fakhrel-Madares, the Madrasa of Mohammadia as well as those studying
beyond the Afghan borders, from Mashad, Iran, to Baghdad, to south of the Durand Line in NWFP and Baluchistan of Pakistan, to the religious schools in Daiwaband in the Indian city of Sahranpoor.

So it is obvious that Mullah and Talib are an integral part of a religious society like Afghanistan, with the specific role of this religious strata defining the very foundation of some basic customary habits and traditions of the Afghan people in both the cities and villages. The significant role of the Mullahs and Taliban is best defined by their religious and socio-cultural responsibilities such as teaching children in their early childhood, carrying out Nikahs,  naming children,  their presence in burial services , performing Azans and leading the five-time daily prayers.

These duties bring the Mullahs and the Taliban into a constant  day-to- day interaction with the people and make them an integral part of the Afghan social fabric and the material and spiritual perceptions of the Afghan public. It is largely as a result of this very profound devotion of the Mullahs and the Taliban to their religious, social and cultural responsibilities that the Afghan public hold them in great reverence. Hence, not only are the daily necessities and expenditure of the Mullahs and Taliban voluntarily provided by the public, but also both the land-owning class and the peasantry give them a share of their annual agricultural products. The Mullahs and the Taliban also have their own special cemeteries in some cities and villages in which some commoners are also buried as a sign  of sacredness. The most famous and biggest of such cemeteries is the one in Sofi Desert in Kandahar. This cemetery was dedicated to the religious strata, or Mullahs and Taliban, during the kingdom of Ahmad Shah Durani in 1774, when the city of Kandahar was being built. The cemetery, frequently visited by the Sofis today, illustrates the fact that the Mullahs and Taliban have historically been looked upon as a privileged and consecrated strata by both the Afghan public and the ruling class alike.

Being a Talib constitutes the first stage of being a Mullah. No person can join the ranks of Mullah without being a Talib first. Similarly, almost all Taliban end up being Mullahs. This religious Afghan strata, based on the teachings of the Hanifi School of thought,  follows a strict interpretation of the Holly Quran, the Sonat of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and advocates an implementation of the Shariat, or Islamic Law. The Mullahs and the Taliban, as vividly depicted by the current Afghan political milieu, are willing to defend with their lives the sanctity of all these Islamic principles.

Taliban's inception predates all other Islamic Movments

The concept of the organization of the Taliban is primordial to all other Islamic movements and organizations throughout the Islamic world such as the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen and that of Wahabism. For instance, the teachings of Mohammad Bin Abdulwahab, the founding father of the Wahabi religious sect, and the beliefs associated with him,  date back only to 1744, or when Abdulwahab started teaching in exile in the sanctuary of Mohammad Bin Saud. The rest of the prominent Islamic schools of thought and organizations have an even more recent origin. The Madrasa of Daiwband, for instance,  was founded by Mohammad Abed Hussain 93 years after Abdulwahab in Saharanpoor of Otra Pardish in India. Similarly, Hassan-ul-Bana, the founding father of the famous Ikhwan-ul-Muslimian was born after in 1877 in Cairo and Sayed Jamaludin Afghani, a prominent Afghan scholar, initially a Talib,  from Afghanistan, became advisor to Mohammad Azam Khan in Kandahar around 1838.
The organization of the Taliban and Mullahs has historically proven to be the front line defender of the national integrity and the religion of Islam. Contemporary Afghan history is littered with records of the vital roles which the forces of the Taliban and Mullahs have played as front line soldiers in all major wars in the Afghan history. During the Second British-Afghan war of 1879,  it was Mullah Din Mohammad, better known as  Mullah Moshki Alam, who proclaimed Jihad against the British and was leading the Taliban forces in the Kabul Uprising, fighting in the company of  Mohammad Jan Khan. It was also Mullah Moshki Alam's son, Mullah Abdul Karim,  who fulminated against the rule of Amir Abduranhman Khan and his actions,  seen to be contrary to the Islamic teachings.

Taliban and the British Empire

Also in the Third British-Afghan war, culminating in the Afghan independence, the Taliban forces were present in all three war fronts. The most prominent of the Taliban forces were led by Moulavi, or Mullah, Abdul Wasay, who fought under the command of Prime Minister Abdul Qudos Khan.

Taliban and the USSR

However, the most notable achievement of the Taliban is their uprising against the Soviet-backed Communist regimes of the Khalq and Parcham and their subsequent Jihad against the Red Army. It was the proclamation of the Jihad by this religious class against the Soviets and the subsequent Afghan victory in the form of reversing the myth of the inevitability of the Soviet triumph that is has become a major part of the Afghan history. What was characteristically unique about the role of the Taliban in the war against the Soviets was their  projection of the war as a Jihad and their juxtaposition of the idea of the Jihad against the Soviets as part of exercising one's Islamic faith. Hence, the Jihad against the Soviets was carried out with a presupposition that it was one's religious duty.

What is worth noting is that the Taliban,  in their proclamation of the Jihad against the Soviets, unlike other groups,  did not fight for political power, nor did they expect any material reward, or any special credit for their actions. It was strictly done for Allah and the safeguarding of the national integrity. When the Taliban, soon after the so-called Communist Saur Revolution, proclaimed the Jihad and were in the process of its practical implementation, they had no knowledge of the association of some other Afghan Muslim groups and organizations led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar, Burhanudin Rabani and Ahmad Shah Masood with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the Jama'at Islami of Pakistan. These individuals had been trained at the Balahesar of Peshawar by Pakistanis like Nasrullah Babar. They were not trained for the defending the Afghan national integrity but as Pakistani political tools to be used against the then Afghan President,  Sardar Daud Khan. Similarly, when the Taliban were in their initial stages of fighting
the Russian forces, they had neither heard of General Zia Ul Haq, nor of Hassan-ul-bana and Sayed Qutb, the latter a theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood,  nor of any Wahabi group. These Islamic groups were all deemed by the Afghan Taliban as part of "Jama'ati" or "organizational" elements who had deviated from the right path.

Anti-Soviet Jihad Era Taliban and the Pakistani ISI

Although the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) "made" Mullah Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi the leader of the Peshawar-based Taliban organization and named the organization  the Islamic Revolutionary Movement, the Taliban neither knew of the idea of revolution nor do they believe in it today. The Taliban have never recognized anything over and beyond a strict adherence to the book of Allah, the holly Quran,  and the Sonat, or the deeds and teachings of prophet Moahmmad (PBUH).

Taliban's self-propulsion towards a Holy Jihad against the Soviets

Rather than being inspired by any foreign forces, the Taliban started the Jihad against the Soviet-backed regime as early as a time when General Zia of Pakistan and Noor Mohammad Taraki, the then Afghan President and leader of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, were in Paghman of Kabul, seeking to improve relations between the two nations which were strained by the Pashtoonistan issue. While the Afghan Taliban were busily fighting the Soviet-backed Afghan Communist Government, individuals like Pir Gilani, one of the Mujahideen leaders,  were busy trying to improve the image of the Communist regime among the Afghan public. Similarly, while the Afghan Taliban were taking the messages of Jihad from the mosques to the people beyond the endless ranges of the Afghan mountains and were busy materializing these messages into action on the battle-field, personalities like Rabani, Hekmatyar and Masood  were still reeling from the failure and humiliation of their Babur and ISI-instigated uprisings in Laghman and Panjsher against President Daud in 1975.  It was a time when Pakistan had still not "made" Hekmatyar, Rabani and so on "leaders" of the Mujahiden and Taliban organizations in Pakistan.

What also needs to be mentioned is that it was not President Reagan's "Roll Back Policy" that materialized the determination of the Afghan Taliban and Afghan public to reverse the irreversible march of the Soviet Communism, but on the contrary, it was the unyielding and pragmatic actions of the Taliban at the time that provided Reagan's  policy with the necessary prerequisite to express itself in the first place; the myth of the inevitability of the Soviet triumph had long been challenged in all corners and beyond every mountain range of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the Afghan public. It was the initial sacrifices of the Afghan religious strata of the Taliban and not the "organizational Islamists" like the so-called Mujahideen leaders, that provided the Jihad with the necessary impetus and an initial opening for the various "strategists" and Mujahideen commanders to bring in their "modern" and computerized equipment such as satellite radio telephones and Jeeps. It was due to the initial sacrifices and the opening up of travel routes by the religious class and the Afghan public that enabled the so-called "organized" Mujahideen groups,  trained in Pakistan, to  bring in their Arab "friends" and, hence,  act as "heroes" in the Afghan Jihad films made by the BBC and various other Western media sources. The Taliban, despite deserving so much credit for the Jihad,  have hitherto refrained form participating in these ostentatious "media shows" and have adhered to what has been intrinsically fundamental to the notion of Jihad: that the ultimate judge of their sacrifices is Allah and the Afghan public.

Taliban immediately after the Soviet Withdrawal

The Taliban took back-stage when the Afghan war transmuted into a civil war, driven by the egoistic goals of the so-called Mujahideen leaders. This is best illustrated by a lack of the participation of the Taliban in the battle for Jalalabad in March, 1989, soon after the Soviet withdrawal. Similarly, the Taliban stayed out of all the fighting among the various Mujahideen factions, vying for political power in various Afghan cities and provinces. Until their resurgence in the Fall of 1994 in the city of Kandahar,  the Taliban had refused to yield to the perverted political processes and Intelligence organizations. They also stayed away from the so-called Afghan experts such as Brigadier Yousif of the ISI, Curt Lohbecks, and Bruce Richardsons. It was no other than the various so-called Western specialists and political and military analysts who were responsible for making " heroes" out of the so-called Mujahideen leaders and commanders who had risen from the ranks of the perverted groups of Islamic fundamentalists such as the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen and the Wahabis.

Traditional Taliban at odds with General Zia's Fundamentalist Revolution

Brigadier Yousif, the head of the Afghan Affairs Bureau of the Pakistani ISI, in his book, the "Bear Trap", pp 105, writing on the channelling of the Western military aid to the Peshawar-based Afghan Mujahideen,  notes that in1987 Hekmatyar's share of the military aid was 20%, Rabani's 19%, Sayaf's 18% and that of Mohammad Nabi's Islamic Revolutionary Movement's a mere 13%.While the Taliban made up more than 50% of the total Mujahideen fighters, only one-third of the military aid given to Mohammad Nabi actually reached the Taliban; some equipment would end up being sold in the black markets by Mohammad Nabi's sons and his bureaucrats and some would even reach Afghan Maoist groups like the Sholayees in the Province of Nimrooz. While Yousif argues that the comparatively low percentage of military aid to Nabi's organisation was due to his lack of willingness to participate in the Jihad, it was rather the established regime of Islamic fundamentalists and the bureaucracy associated with it that would not allow a greater support of a patriotic force like the Taliban.

There is not doubt that General Zia believed in the promotion of Islamic fundamentalism. He was a firm believer in the myth of an Islamic revolution carried out by the fundamentalist movements throughout the Islamic world. This is against the beliefs of the Taliban. The Taliban do not advocate the idea of a global Muslim revolution in collaboration with the Ikhwani forces who are seen to have deviated from the path of the Shariat and the teachings of the Quran and that of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The stage for the foundation of such a revolution was set by Zia when he finally got rid of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after his 1977 coup. When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, Zia and the ISI were behind the transformation of Hekmatyar, Rabani, Masood, Sayaf and so on into political leaders. The Mujahideen organisations, created by Pakistan, were intrinsically modelled upon some other fundamentalist Islamic organisations like the already existing Jama'at Islami of Pakistan and the rest, who all followed the political philosophies of the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen leaders such as Hassan-ul-Bana, Sayed Qutb, and Moudodi, the founding father of the Pakistani Jama'at Islami. By establishing such "fundamentalist networks", Zia wanted to unify the Pashtoon brethren under the camouflage of Islamicism. So the Soviet invasion provided Zia with the chance to organize and transform into political leaders  elements who had in the guise of Islamicism previously proven to be anti-Afghan. Hekmatyar, Masood and Rabani had failed in their previous Pakistani-instigated attempts in Laghman and Panjsher in 1975 because of a lack of public support. But with the Soviet invasion,  they no longer had to worry about support from the nation: the Afghan refugees who were fleeing to Pakistan in thousands would now constitute the basis of their public support. This is how Pakistan came to monopolize the Afghan Jihad, by making their own agents, who had previously desperately failed in their subversive activities, Jihadi leaders.

Afghanistan's Condition in post Soviet Withdrawal Phase

The withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1989 marked the end of the Jihad carried out by the Taliban as well as other Mujahideen groups. In April 1992, political power, based on the Peshawar Accord,  was transferred to the organisations of the Mujahideen. The Taliban,  hence, obviously thinking that the goal of an independent Afghanistan had been achieved, returned to where they had originally come from, the mosques and the Madrasas.
But it was not before long that the Taliban realised that the "the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" and "provincial committees" were but a political guise under which the bandits were robbing people and molesting the national integrity. Not only the whole nation, but the Taliban, were witnessing the fact that the so-called Mujahideen,  in collaboration with the Northern Alliance of the former communist militias and elements of the former regime,  were misusing political power. Not only did the civilians become targets of daily rocket attacks as a result of the seemingly interminable territorial wars between various factions vying for political power, but their properties were systematically looted and their personal integrity violated.

In addition, the country's economy was on the verge of collapse as billions of Afghanis were printed in Russia to finance the civil and ethnic wars; national treasures such as the Afghan Military and Airforce were looted and dismantled; the Kabul Museum, housing articles dating back to thousands of years of common history were looted and sold on the black markets around the world; not only 75% of Kabul, but national historical buildings like the Castle of Gulkhana, Darluaman, Tapay Taj Beg, Chehelsatoon and other Government buildings, were leveled to the ground. In the midst of all these tragedies, the Mujahideen "heroes" continued a life of luxury, characterized by the use of satellite telephones and the latest model European and Japanese cars.

Furthermore, the division of Afghanistan based on political-ethnic lines brought about the sad situation of the vulnerability of the  female members of the different ethnic groups to sexual attacks by the armed members of the opposing groups. As a result, the honour of the Afghan women was violated and hundreds of women were raped. In addition, the looting and the destruction of most of Kabul caused thousands of Afghan refugee women to sell their honour in Peshawar,  so to be able to look after their kids. This was something that the Afghan society had not experienced at any stage of its history: neither during the Government of the indigenous communists, nor during the Soviet occupation or before that.

Taliban New Post Jihad Movement

The political and economic situation hit an all-time low. Everyone had started to believe that it could not get any worse. While this was not acceptable to both the commoners and the Taliban, the reason the onus of taking action fell on the shoulders of the Taliban and the Mullahs was twofold: firstly, the Taliban and the Mullahs, being respected by both the commoners and the past rulers alike,  were the only group that still retained a large degree of public trust in such dire straits; secondly,  the Taliban had fought against the Russians to create a better society, but the post-Russian society never ushered in the promised era of an "Islamic society".

The Taliban movement started gradually  in the mosques and villages of Kandahar in the Fall of 1994. Spurred by the historical Afghan traditions and inspired by the teachings of the Quran and the Sonat of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the Taliban movement soon rose to its feet and started its irreversible march toward reunifying the anarchy-struck country. The unfolding of the Taliban movement ran parallel to the wishes of the nation. In the event of a weak central Government, political power in different Afghan provinces had come to be usurped by the different commanders, resulting in a total anarchy. People were held to ransom, their houses and property taken over by force by armed groups of all sorts. So the rise the Taliban as a response to the anomic state persisting in the country was natural. It was the public outcry and the disenchantment of the masses with the status quo that helped the Taliban take territory after territory. The success of the Taliban in capturing almost half Afghanistan is a striking indication of the popularity of the Taliban, a fact vividly depicted by the Taliban's "leap" from the Tor Ghonday of  Herat to the vicinities of Kabul. The success of the Taliban would be even more surprising if one notices the fact that little, if any,  territory changed hands during the seemingly interminable territorial wars of the past four years.

The Domino Effect, Fall of Warlordism & Tanzeem's Flip Flop on Taliban's Identity

The Taliban's first major victory came with their defeat of the forces belonging to Hekmatyar in Spin Bouldak of Kandahar in November of 1994. Not long after that, the whole of Kandahar was cleaned up of the forces belonging to the previously Peshawar-based organisations of Pir Gailani, the former President Mojadadi, and most importantly that of Sar Kateb Ata Mohammad of Hekmatyar's, all without any major resistance. Since the Taliban had initially targeted his forces, Hekmatyar was quick to term the Taliban as "Pakistani". Rabani, on the other hand, could not control his joy at seeing the forces of his arch-rival Hekmatyar, whose forces were shelling Kabul daily,  being systematically cleaned up. Rabani resorted to his usual policy of trying to buy off his opposing forces by offering the Taliban cartons of the Russian-printed banknotes. He went as far as dubbing the Taliban as "as a self-propelled"  and independent Afghan force which had fulminated against the thieves. Nevertheless, a dramatic change occurred in the rhetoric used by Rabani and his propaganda machine as the Taliban, having cleaned up Mullah Naqib of Rabani in Kandahar, Qari Baba in Ghazni, and Hekmatyar in Chaharasyab of Kabul,  soon started knocking on the doors of Kabul. When the Taliban asked the "champion of Panjsher", Masood, and Rabani to surrender in the manner others had done, Rabani, ironically, said that the Taliban were "Pakistanis"!

But the masses coming to the Taliban uttered a different message:

"Baazaa, Baazaa, Anche Hasti Baaza,                          Gar Kafer wo Keber But Parasti, Baaza

Translation: Welcome, welcome, whatever you are Even if you are an infidel, or a statue worshiper

After capturing the provinces of Owrozgan and Helmand, the Taliban marched toward Ghazni and Kabul. In Ghazni, the man in control of people's lives and properties was Qari Baba, one of the "ethnic allies" of Masood. He was, according to the Rabani regime, a representative of the people and  very "popular" in Ghazni, with his power based on the "people of Ghazni". His demise at the hands of the Taliban came so quickly that the claims of his public support proved nothing but farcical. Not even one person, from the ranks of the supposed huge public following, came to Qari Baba and his son's rescue.

Hekmatyar's organisation and his military machine, too,  were made out to be invincible. Even during the Jihad against the Soviets, Hekmatyar's forces were seen to be the most organised and best managed under the supposed "paramount" leadership of Hekmatyar himself. Nonetheless, not only were his forces defeated, but his strongholds such as Chaharasyab, Logar and Maidan Shaher all captured by the Taliban with little resistance and the myths associated with his military power all shattered.

Another Mujahideen personality of "heroic stature"  was Toran Ismail of Herat, one of the main powers behind the Rabani regime. The myths associated with this "champion" were certainly not few. Ironically enough, at the end of the same week in which Toran Ismail was planning to recapture Kandahar and Helmanad from the forces of  the Taliban, Toran Ismail and his "elite" group of Generals disappeared beyond the Afghan-Iran borders. To be sure, Toran is a military term, meaning Captain. But ironically enough, Toran Ismail had been elevated to being a "General". It was such military "minnows", turned Generals overnight, that made life a living inferno for the people of Afghanistan. The secret of the rise of the Taliban and their unprecedented success lay in their being able to challenge and bring to a halt the illegitimate political power of these "champions". It is owing to this that the Taliban are now referred to as "myth breakers" and "idol breakers". People are hopeful that the Taliban, carrying the nations last ray of hope, would eventually rid the land of all the thieves and robbers and finally establish a social system whose main aim is the protection of the national integrity and providing the people with social justice.

Our discussion of the Taliban has, hitherto,  been confined to those Taliban who had also participated in the Jihad against the Soviets. As we have pointed out, these Taliban were not influenced by the dominant political predilections of their time, remaining untouched by foreign Intelligence services, and the different political schools of Islamist movements. The current Taliban movement is, however,  an integrative movement, having in its ranks different Taliban from various regions as well as some former army officers. We now turn to the discussion of the different groups which make up the present Taliban movement.

1- The Local Taliban:
These are those Taliban who come from the various cities and villages of the
nation. These Taliban have neither seen Pakistan, nor heard of Qum, the Iranian religious centre. Some members of these Taliban have been to Peshawar and Quetta of Pakistan for the purposes of brining in arms and ammunitions. These Taliban have had bitter experiences of hardship in those foreign regions, waiting for month for the supplies of arms.

This group of the Taliban follows the teachings of Islam based on the Sonat, or the deeds and teachings of Mohammad (PBUH), and advocates the idea of Shariat based on the principles of "Adela and Arbe'a", or Four Imams, a school of thought which is in the Sub-continent referred to as the Daiwband School of thought. This group,  in actual reality,  has a very superficial understanding of the essence of the teachings and principles of the above school of thought. >From a social and cultural view  point, the beliefs and values of this group are a direct product of the traditions and belief systems of their specific localities and villages. In a way,  they are the "real Mcoy" and are the most resistant to the influences of the Western civilisation and the beliefs and values associated with it. Bound by social and material adversity, this group of the local Taliban avoids a life of the "shine and gold". This group, nevertheless,  has constituted the very pivot  of the Taliban movement, both during the Jihad against the Soviet forces and in the current Taliban movement. To associate these "momens", or righteous Taliban,  to foreign forces and centres of influences is nothing short of a great sin.

2- The Refugee Taliban:
These are the young Taliban whose families and whole villages were forced to migrate to Pakistan in the war against the Soviets. These Taliban were educated in Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence, and Logic based on the traditional Afghan methods, in Afghan refugee camps in NWFP and Baluchistan of Pakistan. It is worth noting that for a Talib to master the "science" of Fiqh, Logic and so on, he has to study for some 10 to 12 years. So most of these Taliban spent 10 to 12 years in refugee camps,  and through their daily interaction with the Pakistani locals, their pronunciation of some verbs and nouns is very similar to the accents of the Pakistani local ethnic group of Pashtoons.

Owing to their young age, very few of these Taliban were able to join their elders in the Jihad against the Soviets. They are the product of an environment that knew nothing but hardship: the poverty and  the unbearable
heat in lands that were strange to them,  their mothers, sisters and younger brothers. In addition to this, they had to put up with the public humiliation of their elders and their teachers at the hands of the men of the Pakistani "commissioners".

In the midst of such adversity,  these young Taliban were also witness to the self-indulgent life-styles of the sons and son in-laws of the Mujahideen leaders like Gilani, Mujadadi and Mohammadi,  wearing the traditional Pakool on the side of their heads and driving the latest model cars and jeeps. These Taliban, more than any one else,  longed for the moment when they would be able to return to their motherland, where they would no longer be humiliated and where they would rediscover their lost pride at the foot of the tombs of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi and Ahamad Shah Durani.

Instead, what these youths found upon returning home was nothing but tragedy after tragedy, all  caused by no other than Masood, Hekmatyar, Rabani, Sayaf, Mazari, Mujadadi, Gilani and the rest of their followers. It was the frustration and the expression of the anger of these Taliban youths, who were vituperatively referred to as "Chalee" by the very same "heroes", that provided the basis of the rise the Taliban movement.  Ironically, it was the same "Chalee" Taliban that brought down General Mullah Naqib from the royal throne of Ahamadshah,  Qari Baba from that of  Sultan of Ghazni, Toran Ismai from Shah Rukh's, Hekmatyar from Chaharasayb and Masood forced to run fromDelhi to Moscow trying to save his throne in Kabul.

3-The Taliban of the Afghan and Pakistani Madrasas:

A: The Afghan Refugee Madrasas:
These Madrasas, financed by the Arab nations, were based on the principles of the Sonat. The biggest of these, established in NWFP and Baluchistan in early 1980s, were directly controlled by Mohammadi's Islamic Revolutionary Movement. Despite all this,  the Taliban, in general, and their teachers, in specific,  did not consider either Mohammad Nabi, or his organisation, as their leader or their organisation receptively. The obvious reason for this was the fact that as far as the Taliban were concerned, Mohammadi neither possessed any leadership qualities, nor did his sons' life-style conformed with the religious outlook of the Taliban.  In addition,  for the Taliban, Mohammadi's whole organisation remained divorced from the Taliban's cause. With the existence of such an obvious gap between the Taliban and their supposed leadership,  these Madrasas soon came under the profound influence of the personality of Mufti Mahmood, who was a descendant of an Afghan tribe,  and his organisation, the Jamiat Ulama of Islam.

The Jamiat of Ulama is based on the principles of the Shariat as professed by the Daiwband School of thought. With the death of Mufti Mahmood, it was his son,  Moulavi Fazul Rahman, who  replaced him as the leader of the organisation. Despite Fazul Rahman's obvious weaknesses, he was more acceptable to the Taliban as a leader than was Mohammadi. The only substantial difference between these Madrasas and those in Afghanistan  were that in addition to the religious studies, these Madrasas offered classes in contemporary social sciences as well as English and Urdu languages.

The Madrasas based on the Wahabi and Ikhwani principles and teachings, of which the biggest and most prominent were those in NWFP and Baluchistan of Pakistan,  run by Sayaf's Itehad Islami, were established in early 1980s with lots of Petro-Dollars. These Madrasas attracted numerous Afghan youths with very poor or no families. Hekmatyar, Rabani and Khales too had their own Madrasas which offered religious teachings as well as military training. While some of these students had gradually turned to the Wahabi and Ikhwani schools of thought, many of them remained wedded to the basic teachings of the Shariat and its principles. So the latter group, by not falling for the myth of the Islamic revolution as propagated by the Ikhwani and Wahabi schools, are today fighting their old masters.

The obvious question to ask is how and why were Gilani and Mujadadi not  given an opportunity to have Madrasas of their own. This was so because these individuals and their respective families, in collaboration with the Intelligence services, have historically been playing a different role: luring tribal leaders and their children as well as army officers, bureaucrats, and Afghan intellectuals to the king's circle for special duties. Furthermore, their self-indulgent and Western life-styles did not conform with the specific mentality of the Taliban. Hence,  they remained confined to their traditional role, as defined above, working for the Pakistani Intelligence agencies.

B: The Pakistani Madrasas:
According to a United Press International report of 2 March, 1995,  a survey conducted by the prestigious Newsline Magazine indicates that there are more than 2,500 Madrasas in Pakistan with some 225,000 students. These Madrasas, with some 90% of them in rural Pakistan, are financed by foreign countries, especially the Gulf nations. A majority of these students come from poor familial backgrounds. And since these Madrasas provide free food and accommodation for most, the very survival of the students depend on them. These students are put through some "toughening procedures" such as mental and physical pressures as well as military training. They are taught in such a way that Jihad against those who oppose them politically is their religious duty and that the opposition must be fought regardless of geographical boundaries, that is wherever they are. Sepah Sahiba and Sepah Mohammadi are the most prominent groups of these Madrasas. The Government of Pakistan has no control over these Madrasas. In fact, it was at the beginning of 1995  that Benezir Bhutto's Cabinet stopped foreign aid to these Madrasas. 

While it would be hard to estimate the precise number of the Afghan religious students in these Pakistani Madrasas, considering the fact that more than three million Afghan refugees lived in Pakistan with much poverty and great financial problems, it is not very hard to imagine that the number would be considerably high.

Today, not only a great number of the Afghan Taliban from the Pakistani Madrasas have joined the Taliban movement, but they in actual reality link the Taliban movement to the Taliban across the region, including the NWFP, Baluchistan and even the Pashtoon members of the Madrasas in Sindh.

It is hard to categorise these religious students as a unified group. Even in their Madrasas,  they did not all have a uniform religious educational curriculum,  but generally speaking,  they followed the  idea of the Shariat, based on the principles of "Adela and Arba'a". These religious students of different backgrounds have reached as far as the Philippines. Some have become quite a nuisance to the Arab Governments as well.

What differentiates the Taliban educated outside Afghanistan from the local ones is the knowledge of the former group of the political and economic "sciences". These disciplines of study were mainly part of their teaching curriculums. Also through the Pakistani environment and an interaction with the different Islamist groups from around the Muslim world, these Taliban became familiarised  with regional and global political issues. Today, some of these Taliban manage the administrative and political affairs of the provinces under the Taliban control.

4-The Former Army Officers:
After the indigenous or local Taliban, the  former army officers constitute the best and most useful strata of the Taliban movement. There are two groups of army officers that are part of the Taliban movement: those whom together with their military units joined the Mujahideen during the Jihad against the Soviets and those impartial members of the army who in the event of the disintegration of the Afghan army during the Mujahideen regime, based on Northern Alliance, were expelled from the army.

The post-communist Islamic Government was characterized by nepotism and ethnic preferentialism. Despite the presence of tens of highly skilled and qualified Afghan diplomats in Europe, the United States and Pakistan,  the portfolio of the Foreign Ministry at the beginning of the Islamic Government went to a very lowly qualified person by the name of Solaiman Gilani. In fact, all diplomatic posts were occupied by people with no background in the field of diplomacy. Nepotism was most evident in the Defence Ministry. All the highly-qualified military personnel were expelled and replaced by "trusted" people from Panjsher and Shamali. Most of the officers thrown out of the Afghan Army fled either to Pakistan or some Afghan provinces. So when Kandahar was captured by the Taliban, these officers were among the first to offer their services to the Taliban.

Those officers, who left their children and wives behind at the mercy of the Government and joined the Mujahideen to fight against the Soviet-backed regime and the Soviets, are among the front line Taliban forces. These officers were initially used to provide the Pakistani Intelligence services further information about the Kabul regime of the time, but were soon forgotten and in many cases forced to do physical labour to survive. To justify the presence of the numerous important military generals and some thousands of other officers from the Najib regime in its ranks, the Rabani regime calls these officers "Khalqis".

The second group of officers among the ranks of the Taliban are those non-communist members of the Afghan army, who due to the alliance between the Rabani and the Northern elements, were expelled from the army. The Rabani regime etained Najib's army Generals such as Baba Jan and Delawar, and expelled most officers from the Pashtoon ethnic group.

The military officers working for the Taliban include graduates from the Military University, technicians of different backgrounds, trained in Turkey, the former Soviet Union, India and the United States. There are also quite a few pilots of Mig 21, helicopters and Sukhi among these officers.

Do the Taliban have an Afghan or foreign origin?

From very early days, the Taliban, based on their adherence to the Sonni school of thought, were steadfastly opposed to the presence of the Salafyoon, whether in the guise of the Wahabis or Ikhwanis. Even in their Jihadi ranks, the Taliban would not give such elements a chance to come to the fore. As a result, the specific Islamic predilections of the Salafyoon in the pre-communist society remained confined to the precincts of the educational and Government institutions. The general understanding among the religious scholars was that these elements were in actual reality the product of the Government's policies. This notion was reinforced by the fact that these individuals received salaries from the Government: Moulavi Khalis worked for Information and Culture Ministry, Rabani and Sayaf were teaching at the Kabul University,  while Hekmatyar and Masood were openly involved in political activities at various Government and educational institutions.

During the Jihad against the occupying Soviet forces,  the Taliban strongly opposed the Pakistani support for the Wahabi and Ikhwani elements and made no secret of their dislike for such elements. The Taliban even accused Mohammad Nabi of secretly assisting the Pakistani Government in its support of the Wahabi and Ikhwani groups. In fact, the Pakistani policy to divide the Mujahideen into two groups of "fundamentalist" and "traditionalist" was designed to appease the Taliban leaders by inserting the Taliban into "traditionalist" organisations such as those of  Mohammdi, Gilani and Mujadadi.

It was due to the irreconcilable differences between the Taliban and the fundamentalists that the Taliban opted out of the Islamic Government and the "Provincial Committees". Being mistrustful of the fundamentalists, the Taliban closely followed the course of the events under the Islamic Government. With the joining of the Khalqis with Hekmatyar, those of Parchamis with Masood and the subsequent alliances of these fundamentalist elements in the form of the Northern Alliance and that of the Supreme Coordination Council,  the mask of conspiracy from the faces of these elements was lifted, awaking the Taliban to the realities and the dangers that the country and the Shariat of Mohammadi faced.

 To tackle this new challenge,  the Taliban initially joined  the Council of "Hul and A'aqd". However, this council, comprised of the Taliban and some fellow commanders from the Muhahideen organisations, stagnated due to the lack of a full co-operation on the parof some elements in the organisations of Mohammadi and Khalis. Hence, the Taliban were forced to disassociate themselves from these commanders and their respective organisations and began to take action on their own. To get a Fetwa, or Religious injunction,  for their actions,  the Taliban distanced themselves from those who had close associations with the Pakistani officials and Intelligence services. In fact, these elements proved as an obstacle in the getting of  the Fetwa by the Taliban. Those who were witness to these difficulties would attest to the fact that the Taliban were initially as opposed to the armed groups belonging to the various Mujahideen organisations as they were to their Pakistani masters and trainers.

Before the Taliban eventually came to the fore in November of 1994, the movement went through its first stages of formation in a deserted school building for some one year. Nobody took the movement seriously,  although some attempts were made by General Mullah Naqib of Rabani to use the Taliban against his regional foes, or the forces belonging to Hekmatyar. The breakthrough for the Taliban in winning a world-wide recognition came when the Taliban,  in the vicinity of the Kandahar Airport,  rescued a Pakistani goods convoy looted by the various armed groups in Spin Bouldak on the New Silk Highway. Soon after that incident and the Taliban's subsequent capture of the Province of Kandahar, the Taliban grabbed the attention of the Pakistani officials and the news of the Taliban
"as angles and saviours" went as far as the West. It was here that the unprecedented public support for the Taliban started and groups after groups of Taliban from various parts of the country came to join the movement. The support for the Taliban was so overwhelming that it soon became hard to differentiate between the local Taliban and those from other regions. Not only that, but it proved beyond the imagination of the ordinary Talib that they were now a force that the world had to reckon with. It was also here that Charles Santose and Mahmood Mestiri of the UN, as well as  Nasarullah Babur and Sardar Asif Ali came along and started creating spider webs around the Taliban. These were events that proved beyond the imagination of both the Taliban and Rabani. Rabani called them " a self-boiling force", while Masood went as far as calling himself and others the "soldiers of the Taliban".

Taliban and foreign intervention:

Although the official records of the former Soviet Union deny the involvement of the Soviets in Sardar Daud Khan's coup of 17 July of 1973 and that of the so-called Saur Revolution of 27 April of 1978, the Islamic fundamentalists claim that the former Soviet Union was behind both these events. The principal reason why the Islamic fundamentalists argue that the Soviet Union was the main instigator of these events is to do with their attempts to justify their own close association with Pakistan at the time and their direct involvement in the Pakistani-instigated uprisings in Panjsher and Lagham  in 1975. Where for the Afghan public there is little doubt that the Soviet Union was behind the so-called Saur Revolution of 1978, considerable doubt remains over the supposed Soviet involvement in the Daud's coup of 1973.

Nevertheless, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on the 27 Decembers, 1979, represents the darkest chapter in the Afghan history and the biggest interference in Afghanistan of a foreign country and their Afghan communist followers. Questions over why the Soviets would invade Afghanistan have come to play second fiddle to the new issues of global and geopolitical magnitude that the Soviet invasion brought about. Even members of the Polit Bureau of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan do not know the answer to the question why the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

The Afghan communists, the Khalqis and the Parchamis,  nevertheless,  have repeatedly published the details of the Pakistani-instigated coup attempts of the Afghan fundamentalist groups led by Hekmatyar, Rabani and Masood. The coup plan was made at the Balahesar of Peshawar under the direct and watchful eye of General Narullah Babur. Due to the lack of public support, the coup attempt of 1975 could only be partially materialized in Panjsher and Laghman, as a result of which both Pakistan, as the instigator, as well as the Afghan fundamentalists were humiliated internationally. It was as a result of this failure and humiliation that Pakistan was forced to resort to diplomacy, prompting a visit to Afghanistan by the Pakistani Prime Minister  Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the end of 1976. At the dinner, Bhutto quoted some lines from Mirza Ghaleb, the poet,  and invited Daud Khan to visit Pakistan. Bhutto promised Daud that he would get such a reception in Pakistan that would be remembered by the future generations. When Daud finally visited Pakistan, he was received with much honour in the Shalimar Bagh of Lahore.

There is no doubt that issues such as Bhutto's policies regarding Afghanistan, Pakistan's role in the aborted coup attempt of 1975 and its training of the Afghan elements like Rabani, Hekmatyar and Masood proved to have a lasting influence on the future events of the country. The close association of these Afghan fundamentalist elements with Pakistan became for the Afghan public the measure of the understanding of the leadership capabilities and lack of dedication of these foreign-created elements to the protection of the national integrity.

It was due to the direct association of these elements with the Pakistani ISI that Pakistan came to control and monopolise the Afghan popular uprising and the Afghan Jihad against the Russian forces. These fundamentalist elements proved to be the last remnants of the colonial British intervention in Afghanistan. Today, both the patriots and the fundamentalists have the opportunity to read the records of the selling of the Afghan Jihad to foreign forces by these elements. The facts related to these issues are today well-documented and have had a world-wide exposure. Publications like Brigadier Yousif's "Bear Trap" and "The Silent Soldier" as well as "The Islamic Movements of Afghanistan" by Sayed Hadi Khesrowshahi, published by the Iranian Foreign Ministry sources, all document the extent of the involvement of these fundamentalist Afghan forces with foreign countries. These publications point to how and why these elements inevitably put the independent-minded people of Afghanistan, including the Taliban, into the traps of foreign intervention.

Speaking of foreign intervention, from the world-wide media and press sources it is clear that the bringing of the Soviet Polar Bear in Afghanistan was a 10 billion Dollar Project. The different aspects of the global intervention in Afghanistan during its war against the Soviet occupation were much more deep-rooted than one can possibly imagine. What is important to point out is the specific conception of the fundamentalists of the idea of Islamic intervention. To be sure, the Islamic fundamentalists, in general, and its Afghan brand, in specific, believe in the notion of the internationalisation of Islam". Such a conception of the world does not recognise the importance of national boundaries. Hence, the protection of the national integrity for these elements is a non-issue. For instance, Sayed Qutb, the leader and one of the founding fathers of the Egyptian Islamists, argues that "society is not a country but a community of the momens". "Momens" are only those who are members of their Islamic organisations. It was based on this specific ideology that the fundamentalist Mujahideen leaders not only welcomed the Pakistani interference in Afghanistan in the pre-communist era but also continuously termed it as not sufficient. Today, Rabani is not against the Pakistani intervention. What he wants, however, is "positive intervention", that is one which favours him. So if an intervention is "positive", despite being against the objective of the  national integrity, it is acceptable and welcomed. A case in point is the "positive" interference of India. This is how Benezir Bhutto, who today has
no need for the fundamentalists, puts it: "Rabani wants us to interfere in the Afghan issue, but in his own favour". The anti-thesis to the idea of "positive interference" was best expressed by Ahmad Wali Masood, Masood's diplomat brother, in an interview with Omar Khetab's radio in California in mid-October 1995, complaining of the "negative Pakistani interference". Ironically, attempts by the Rabani elements, shuttling from Kabul to Paris and back,  to win the support of the so-called "mild" fundamentalists is not seen to consitute an interference!

Today, these fundamentalist groups have left such a legacy of foreign interference behind that no patriotic movement, including the Taliban, can avoid its effects . Foreign interference, today, intermingled with geopolitical imperatives, presents itself in such a ubiquitous form that its role is not only  unavoidable but undeniable. The simple-minded and inexperienced Taliban are today unable to deal adequately with the existence of such imperatives and the extent of the deep-rooted foreign interference.

Nevertheless, considering the  historically-proven  independent-mindedness, on the one hand, and their privileged status in the eyes of the Afghan public, on the other, the movement of the Taliban is comparatively the least
likely to be vulnerable to foreign influence.

The Taliban,  as a religious and respected strata, are the product of  a unique combination of the genuine historical Afghan civilisation and that of the Islamic culture. The leaders of the fundamentalist Mujahideen organisations, on the other hand, are the product of a specific historical milieu in which foreign interference has played a profound role. These organisations were the product of an era when Afghanistan, due to the invasion of a superpower,  had lost its
"national will" and others, based on their own interests, were readily creating leaders for it. It is in the background of such an understanding that the Taliban, like all other national strata, can be seen as an indigenous entity.

The long history of the existence of the Taliban in Afghanistan is witness to their lack of interest in political power. This is best demonstrated by the fact that the Taliban have never chosen from within their ranks someone to lead the country. Neither in the past, nor today,  the Talbian have any claims to the throne; they do not see themselves to be fit to run the country. The Taliban, unlike Hekmatyar and Masood's ego-boosting drives for political power, simply do not have any pretensions to the country's throne.

The Taliban have simply rebelled against a state of affairs that threatened the very existence of the national integrity and every Afghan national's individual rights. Being inspired by the teachings of the Quran and the Shariat of Mohammadi, the Taliban stood up against forces that had not only deviated from the basic tenants of Islam, but also knew nothing but thirst for political power. Their resurgence is but another chapter in their struggle against the social and political evil that took the country to the brink of a total disaster.

This issue of foreign interference is a vital one. There is a fine line between foreign interference and foreign co-operation. The specific historical conditions that the Afghans have lived under during the past 17 years, marked by ideological polarisation of the society into the Left and the Right resulting in a lack strong sense of unity, and the fact that millions of Afghans lived on foreign lands as refugees, further complicates the issue of foreign interference. The Afghan Jihad against the Soviets brought with it various degrees and forms of foreign interference. Theforeign interference exacerbated with the anarchical situation, marked by the egoistic political drives of the "champions commanders" and various personalities of the post-Najibullah era. The Taliban too have proven to be vulnerable to foreign interference.

Today, however, the priority of the Afghan nation lies in the promotion of the principles of national unity and integrity and the ending of the endless cycle of fighting, brought about by the political conspiracies of the "heroes". It is by achieving the above-mentioned prerequisites that the Afghan nation can then have the opportunity to reassess and set itself new priorities. The absolute importance of putting an end to the internal fighting and the creation of the necessary conditions for a national unity is underlined by the fact that when the Taliban captured areas like Kandahar, Helmund, Ourozgan, Neemrooz, Ghazni and Logar, nobody came forward to ask who financed the Taliban. Similarly, nobody bothered to ask the Mujahideen and ISI-favourite leaders during the Jihad against the Russians as to who supported and financed them. One stark difference that remains between teh Taliban and the so-called "heroes" is that the Taliban, by promising to put an end to the war and protect national unity, have not taken away the right of people to their properties and looted national treasures, as done by the "heroes".

If one analyses Benezir Bhutto's apparent shift of allegiance from the previously Peshawar-based Mujahideen organisations in favour of the Taliban, and the views of some respected Afghan circles,  in the light of the changing global and regional circumstances, the factors that have come to shape this change of policy are political as well as economic. These factors include the Pakistani attempts to attract foreign capitalist investment, extending trade relations with the Central Asian states and the fact that Afghanistan had turned into a "terrorist heaven" for the radical Muslim groups. The last factor posed a threat not only to the very national security of Pakistan, but also threatened to tarnish Pakistan's prestige and image on the international scene. In ideological terms,  this was a policy
characterised by a shift away from supporting fundamentalist and radical Islamist movements and toward the Daiwband-based schools of thought which included Mufti Mahmmod's Jamiat-ul-Ulama of Pakistan as well as the Taliban. Today, due to changes of a global nature, Pakistan's involvement in the Afghan issue is different than the specific attitude of Zulfikar Bhutto, General Zia, Akhtar Abdurahman and Hamid Gul's. Today, based on the changing geopolitical imperatives,  Pakistan's involvement in the Afghan issues does not constitute "invasion" or "occupation" in any possible diplomatic or political sense.

The dominant conception of the Afghans with regard to Iran, on the other hand,  has been that it considers the shared culture with the Afghans and other regional neighbours,  such as some Central Asian states,  as a property of its own. It is based on this truism that Iran considers Afghanistan, partly or entirely, as a part of its own national integrity.

Based on some baseless claims pertaining the boundaries of  the Ancient Khurasaan, Iran considers Herat as part of its territorial integrity. To achieve this obvious end, Tehran, in the guise of cultural and religious unity, has always trained some local elements to the detriment of the Afghan national integrity .These attempts have proven to have worked against the unique and historical Afghan identity  as well as having serious repercussions for the specific Afghan national interests. The claims made by the Iranian-Afghan agents , from Paris to London, New York and Hayward,  California, in associating some invisible Pakistani hands in the Taliban's capture of Herat and so on,  are all part of a well-thought out Iranian plan to achieve its above-mentioned goals. The sudden fall of Herat to the Taliban  points out to only one conspiracy, that of Masood and his group's. All these shows and claims for the protection of the Afghan national integrity are nothing but Iranian-instigated attempts to justify the Iranian intervention in Afghanistan as part of its current attempts to become a "regional police" as well as its attempts throughout history to claim back Herat.

There is much to ask about the Rabani regime's claims of calling the Taliban Pakistani agents. The fall to the Taliban of all other territories, including 14 provinces,  did not the least bother Alowdin and Ismail,  but when they lost Herat,  the Taliban suddenly became "Pakistani agents" and, in their words, the integrity of the nation came to be threatened. Not long before that, for Rabani and his bunch of military and political strategists, the Taliban were "a self-boiling" force. 

  What caused this overnight change of mind and shift in rhetoric? The answers to questions like these are now all clear. For the opportunist elements, who were themselves a product of foreign hands, to even raise issues relating to national integrity is but farcical. What is of a more immediate source of concern is the Iranian intervention and its role in the creation of the Northern Alliance and the subsequent hijacking of the 1991 UN-mediated peace initiative, an event which proved to be the principal cause of the post-Najib Afghan tragedies. This is a fact now widely known to both the informed Afghan and Western sources. While the Iranian intervention in Afghanistan has historically been inspired by motives of invasion, the Pakistani involvement is but a defensive matter. Pakistan has historically proven that it is hardly a nation that can hold its national unity. While the Afghan dispute with Pakistan over NWFP and Baluchistan has a justified basis, Nawaz Sharif's putting pressure on Mujadadi to transfer power to Rabani and Masood, based on the Peshawar Accord and the Northern Alliance's conspiracy, was a politically defensive move. The Pakistani involvement in the Afghan issue is a matter of little or no concern for both the Afghan and foreign analysts. The presence of the Russian plane, one of the 42 such Russian operations in Afghanistan, in Kandahar and the sending of Russian-printed banknotes to the Rabani regime, on the other hand, represents a continuation of the Russian interference in Afghanistan, something that the Afghan nation and the Taliban had fought against for more than a decade. In addition, the continuos Indian attempts to reunify the sub-continent, based on the claims of the pundit Jawaher Lal Nehro that the Hindu Kush or the north-western Indian border is historical, does not require a wide geopolitical study. However, this is not to say that the Taliban, both from the view point of the Afghan people and that of the patriots', are proper candidates to run the country. Their role is to end the seemingly interminable cycle of fighting  and disarm the Mujahideen leaders and their associate commanders who have systematically looted the country and violated the honour of the Afghan nation. The Taliban religious and political role today lies in their freeing of the Afghan nation from tragedies like Mazari's prisons of naked women and similar prisons belonging to the Shoraay Nezar. All that the Taliban want is to protect the sanctity of the nation. They have told no lies to the people as to what Masood and Rabani were about and what they have done. What Rabani and Masood have done are self-evident. The safeguarding of the national unity, and the creation of the necessary conditions for the convening of the traditional  Loya Jerga, through which to transfer power to people-elected Governments,  is all the Taliban want.

The Taliban have risen up from the midst of the people and have partially completed their mission with the support of the people. This gives the Taliban a unique understanding of the specific needs of the people in this historical juncture. If the Taliban do not stay sincere in their claims, which have so far been vindicated by time, then their fate would be similar to that of Rabani, Masood, Hekmatyar, Qari Baba, Mullah Naqib, Ali Mazari, Toran Ismail and Alowdin's.

The Taliban, according to the wishes of the nation, have so far refused to allow in their ranks any of those, including the leaders and the commanders of the Mujahideen, who have betrayed the nation and caused mass suffering. By doing so, the Taliban have avoided to be part of the national tragedies brought about by these elements. The Taliban have rather decided to let the nation decide the fate of these elements.

The Taliban, at this historical juncture, are well aware of the fact that the Afghan nation has always nurtured lions who have cut the hands and feet of their enemies. A nation that has historically proven to be the worst nightmare of conquerors such as Alexander the Great, Owrang and the British colonial rule would never yield to foreign influences. This country of patriots deserves to have the opportunity to decide its own fate and a Government of its own choice. The Taliban's mission is to return the Chadar of honour and respect to the mothers and sisters of the nation; provide the opportunity for those who have lost their honour and prestige, humiliated in the refugee camps, to return home with honour and take part in the reconstruction of the nation; to return to the tombs and the inspiration of their real heroes such as the conqueror of Somanat, the Sultan of Ghazni, and Ahmadshah Abdali,  the founder of modern Afghanistan. It would be only and only then that  Afghanistan, as a united, independent and free nation, would re-occupy its place among the nations of the region and the world. God willing, the dream of the late Abdurahman  Pazhwak may one day be translated into a reality:

Baaz Khwahad Daad Darya Khatem-e Gom Gashta Ra
Gar Khuda Khwahad Telesm-e Daiow-ha Khwahad Shekast


The sea would return the long-lost (Solomon ring
If God wishes,  the magic spell of the devils would soon be broken

The end


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