The roots of the Taliban movement can be traced to the Afghan Civil War and the foreign-based support of insurgent groups battling the Soviets and the PDPA. The Taliban emerged as a powerful group of mostly Pashto fighters who embraced a Sunni Islamist fundamentalist perspective. With financial backing and support from Pakistan, among other countries, the Taliban drew many of its fighters from Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and from tribal groups across southern Afghanistan. As the infighting among Mujahedeen factions continued to erode the fabric of Afghan society, the Taliban consolidated its power, particularly among Pashto Afghans who may have responded to the idea of placing Afghanistan’s government once again under Pashto control, as it had been for almost two hundred years prior to the Civil War (Ayub & Kuovo, 2008).
In 1994, Taliban forces began their first incursions in provinces of Afghanistan, largely able to overwhelm the resistance mounted by local warlords. The removal of the warlords from power, in many instances, immediately improved conditions for local Afghans as the extortion, corruption and anarchy that characterized many warlords’ regional control were eliminated (CIA Factbook, 2009). By mid-1996, the Taliban had proven successful in overcoming much of the resistance mounted by Mujahedeen warlords and their followers and in September of that year the Taliban seized control of Kabul (Miller et al., 2006).
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