/tal"euh ban'/, n.
a Muslim fundamentalist group in Afghanistan.

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Political and religious faction and militia that came to power in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.

Following the Soviet Union's 1989 withdrawal from Afghanistan (see Afghan Wars), the Taliban (Persian: "Students")
whose name refers to the Islamic religious students who formed the group's main recruits
arose as a popular reaction to the chaos that gripped the country. In 1994–95, under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban extended its control in Afghanistan from a single city to more than half the country, and in 1996 it captured Kabul and instituted a strict Islamic regime. By 1999, the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan but failed to win international recognition of its regime because of its harsh social policies
which included the almost complete removal of women from public life
and its role as a haven for Islamic extremists. Among these extremists was Osama bin Laden, the expatriate Saudi Arabian leader of Al-Qaeda, a network of Islamic militants that had engaged in numerous acts of terrorism. The Taliban's refusal to extradite bin Laden to the U.S. following the September 11 attacks in 2001 prompted the U.S. to attack Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, driving the former from power and sending the leaders of both groups into hiding. See also Islamic fundamentalism.

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▪ militia government, Afghanistan
Persian  Ṭālebān (“Students”) , also spelled  Taleban 

      ultraconservative political and religious faction that emerged in Afghanistan in the mid 1990s following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the collapse of Afghanistan's communist regime, and the subsequent breakdown in civil order. The faction took its name from its membership, which consisted largely of students trained in madrasahs (Islamic religious schools) that were established for Afghan refugees in the 1980s in northern Pakistan.

      The Taliban emerged as a force for social order in 1994 in the southern Afghan province of Kandahār and quickly subdued the local warlords who controlled the south of the country. By late 1996 popular support for the Taliban among Afghanistan's southern Pashtun ethnic group, as well as assistance from conservative Islamic elements abroad, enabled the faction to seize the capital, Kabul, and gain effective control of the country. Resistance to the Taliban continued, however, particularly among non-Pashtun ethnic groups—namely the Tajik, Uzbek, and Ḥazāra—in the north, west, and central parts of the country, who saw the power of the predominantly Pashtun Taliban as a continuation of the traditional Pashtun hegemony of the country. By 2001 the Taliban controlled all but a small section of northern Afghanistan. World opinion, however, largely disapproved of the Taliban's social policies—including the near-total exclusion of women from public life (including employment and education), the systematic destruction of non-Islamic artistic relics (as occurred in the town of Bamiyan), and the implementation of harsh criminal punishments—and only a few countries recognized the regime. More significant was the fact that the Taliban allowed Afghanistan to be a haven for Islamic militants from throughout the world, including an exiled Saudi Arabian, Osama bin Laden (bin Laden, Osama), who, as leader of al-Qaeda (Qaeda, al-), stood accused of organizing numerous terrorist attacks against American interests. The Taliban's refusal to extradite bin Laden to the United States following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, prompted a military confrontation with the United States and allied powers (see September 11 attacks). The Taliban was subsequently driven from power.

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Universalium. 2010.

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