religious influences – THE TALIBAN- part 1

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The word “Talib” [TAH-lib] is Arabic for student [Taliban is the plural of Talib].  The Taliban chose this name for themselves as many of their leaders and members are former students of Islamic “madrasahs” (Islamic schools) located in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.Muhammad OmarOrphan Boy

Madrasahs tend to attract students from the many thousands of poor and orphaned male children of Pashtun tribes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Although ethnically Pashtun and nationally Afghan, many of these orphan-students possess very little sense of connection to Afghanistan or the Pashtun peoples. 

While the majority of the Taliban are of Pashtun ethnicity, there are Tajik and Hazara Taliban as well. A large percentage of Pashtun are adamantly opposed to, and have suffered severely at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan.  A prime example is President Karzai - a Pashtun opposed to the Taliban.

The leader of the Taliban is Mullah [Islamic teacher] Muhammad Omar. Mullah Omar fought against the Soviet Union prior to their withdrawal in 1989. Because the Taliban’s activities are highly secretive and Mullah Omar is extremely reclusive, very little is known about him.  Along with Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda operatives, he is believed to be operating out of Pakistan. 

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