The History of the Taliban in Afghanistan

The History of the Taliban in Afghanistan

Kat Cassell, Writer

Islamic militia officially names themselves the Taliban in 1994 in the city of Kabul, during a civil war between the state of Afghanistan and various rebel groups. Their purpose was to uphold traditional Islamic values. When it started the group was generally approved by the population, who had been suffering through power struggles and instability throughout the history of Afghanistan. The land was sought after by both the Soviet Union and the U.S., leaving its politics constantly stuck between two conflicting systems. The Taliban prohibits the growing and selling of opium, as well as women’s education. Women are not allowed to leave the house alone, and they are to be fully veiled. From the beginning, they enforce these policies via public execution and amputation.


The Taliban struggled with the northern alliance and southern forces for control of the land. Famously they assassinate the former president of Afghanistan and former secretary of the people’s democratic party of Afghanistan. In 1998 the Taliban harbors Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda against the demands of the U.S. They are then subject to an attack on Al-Qaida camps by U.S. missiles. In 2000 they destroyed Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. They also place international aid workers on trial for spreading Christianity. All of this is before the attacks on the world trade center on September 11th, 2001. At that time the Taliban still refused to extradite Bin Laden. The U.S. and British forces launch airstrikes onto Taliban targets. Then the Taliban surrenders in the province of Zabul, with diminished power over Afghanistan.


The U.N. soon elects new leaders and attempts to establish a new government in Afghanistan. NATO becomes involved in the security of the new establishment efforts. In 2004 a new constitution was adopted with the input of citizens. It calls for a President, two VPs, and equality for women. The Taliban, Al- Qaida, the new government, and NATO forces still have conflict as Nato expands to southern Afghanistan. The Taliban launches a suicide attack against American troops in 2006. Not long after NATO and the Afghanistan government confirm the death of Mullah Badulla, a Taliban commander, in a U.S. operation.


In 2012 President Hamid Karzai, of the new Afghan nation calls for a withdrawal of American troops after increasing violence between U.S. troops and Afghanistan civilians. Civilians were harboring former Taliban members, and people of other rebel groups. The U.S. begins efforts to reduce the troupes after the Afghanistan army takes over NATO’s security operations. In 2014 NATO officially ends its combat mission in Afghanistan. U.S. troops stay on the land. By the end of Obama’s presidency in 2017, the plan to withdrawal soldiers is abandoned. In 2019 the U.S. and the Taliban sign a peace deal. It’s called off not long thereafter when a U.S. soldier dies in an attack by the Taliban.


In 2020 the U.S. announces plans to withdraw troops again. In 2021 troops are removed from Bagram airfield without telling the base’s Afghan commander. In August of2021 the Afghanistan government collapses the land is taken over by the Taliban again. U.S. troops were not completely removed yet. Terrorist groups like ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and ISIS-K (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant- Khorasan) take credit for two suicide bombings on Afghanistan airports filled with fleeing civilians and U.S. troops not long after. U.S. president Biden promises to “make them pay” and remaining American citizens left on Afghanistan soil after the final flight back to America are told to retreat using “diplomatic channels”.