The Origins of the Taliban and Where They are Now


Via BBC News

Dianne Barahona Bonilla, Reporter

They never went away; insidiously, they kept recruiting, training, and strengthening, waiting for the day they would rise to power again. The Taliban struck Kabul on the 15th of August, 2021. Immediately after the US military withdrew from Afghanistan, Taliban forces captured the capital and entered the presidential palace after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. Thousands were killed in the process, leaving countless more to survive off the remains of the land. 

The Taliban are a war-waging Islamic fundamentalist group fighting for their own version of Sharia, or Islamic law, to be enforced in Pakistan and Afghanistan as it once was. The group originated in the early 1990s and quickly strengthened in numbers. In September of 1995, they captured the province, Herat. The following year, they overthrew President Burhanuddin Rabbani and captured the capital of Afghanistan. By the late 1990s, they controlled over 90% of the country. Initially, Afghans welcomed the Taliban because they drove out Soviet corruption. The tables turned when Taliban punishments became more extreme. Men and women followed a strict dress code. All sources of entertainment were either banned or destroyed; girls over 10-years-old could no longer receive an education. 

Many are familiar with the name Malala Yousefzai, a courageous woman who fought for the rights of girls’ education. She was a victim of the Taliban. Malala was on her way home when she was shot in the head by Ehsanullah Ehsan. She was only 15-years-old, a sophomore in high school; however, she survived the injury and made a speech at the United Nations advocating for education and women’s rights. Her story was heard all over the world. Malala made a significant impact on world leaders through her speech, but she did not halt the Taliban’s actions. The war against the US had been going on for years, starting in 2001 when they launched their attack on New York and Washington – also known as 9/11. 

After 20 years, President Joe Biden ended the longest war in American history, but the after effects are devastating. The terrorists have come back, and they are more ruthless and unmerciful than ever. A young Afghan girl pleaded, “Help, help, help, please the Taliban are coming for [her].” The terrorists, who have no obvious obstacles in their path, claim they empower women, announcing they will not make a full burqa required for women as they have done in the past. A senior officer told NPR that “women…have a right to education” and a right “to work…only they should observe a hijab.” 

The people of Afghanistan feel the Taliban will continue pushing their ideals onto the country. Desperate citizens gathered in the Kabul airport trying to flee the country, and parents passed their newborn babies to British paratroopers to get them to safety. Those who have succeeded in evacuating are in desperate need of help. Volunteer services like the Red Cross are asking for comfort kits, donations, and vouchers for the refugees. Students are free to contact the Briar Woods Red Cross Club’s advisor at [email protected] for more information. One donation is all it takes to transform the lives of many.