religious Influences – THE TALIBAN - part 2

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The Taliban’s original mission was to restore peace, disarm the population, enforce Islamic law, and defend the character and integrity of Afghanistan during the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal. For a time they were supported by the population, until they began to enforce their extreme version of Islam. Today many Taliban fight out of economic necessity as much as to serve Islamic ideals. 

Taliban fightersThe Taliban's interpretation of Islam grew out of the extremist sects connected to the various madrasahs in the region. The Taliban's view of Islam is considered to be the most extreme interpretation in existence. The Taliban closed girls' schools, restricted women to their homes, and banned nearly all forms of entertainment including TV, sports and even kite flying – an extremely popular Afghan pastime.  Punishments for violations include burning buildings, beatings, beheadings, stonings and hangings.

Taliban with opium

The opium trade is considered to be a major source of income for the Taliban. They do not control the poppy farming, opium production or any facet of the trade directly.  Rather they use strong-arm tactics to tax those involved in exchange for protection – similar to other organized crime syndicates throughout the world.

As of mid 2009, the Taliban controlled much of southern and western Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan. Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda operatives are believed to be in the Taliban-controlled region of northwest Pakistan directing terrorist activities, strategizing against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and threatening Pakistan’s secular rulers.

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