Evil’s Posterchild: The Taliban

Background and Formation:

In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in order to intervene and assist it’s ally The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’s war on the Mujahideen. The Mujahideen or ”Holy Warriors” were simple Afghan civilians as well as former soldiers who banded together to resist the communist government which had formed in 1978 as a result of the Saur Revolution and the Soviets who came to help them. They fought a 10 year long war from 1979 to 1989, eventually driving the Soviets out and overthrowing the communist regime of Mohammad Najibullah. This great victory however, was short lived, as Afghanistan immeadiately proceeded to descend into a Civil War in the same year, with many factions and Mujahideen warlords all struggling for power over the government. Among these, the most popular was the Taliban, headed by Mohammed Omar, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, as were most of his subordinates. By 1996, he and his Taliban won the Civil War and gave rise to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the first government under Taliban rule.

Evil’s Purest Form in the Beginning:

Soon after the establishment of their new government they began to consolidate their control through malicious means under the guise of Sharia or ”Islamic Law”. Step 1; Massacre Campaigns and Resistance Suppression: between 1996-2001, 15 random massacres against civilians were ordered and carried out by their Ministry of Defense, according to one 55 page UN Report. One UN official stated ”These are the same type of war crimes as were committed in Bosnia and should be prosecuted in international courts”. In many villages, eyewitnesses describe Taliban Fighter carrying long knives to slit throats and skin people, as described by another UN Report. On August 8, 1998, the Taliban launched a massive military campaign to take city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Home of the Northern Alliance founded in 1996 to oppose the new government. They overran the city and slew 1400 of the 1500 defenders, then proceeded to shoot civilians indiscriminately and locking some others in shipping containers and leaving them to die. 5 to 6,000 people were left dead with numerous women raped, and thousands left homeless as well as countless others unaccounted for. 10 Iranian Diplomats were counted among the dead, which nearly provoked a war with Iran. Meanwhile, outside the city, they destroyed irrigation systems, razed the countryside burning crops, homes, and whatever else they wanted to. This then leads to Step 2; fund the regime. The Taliban funded their regime and continue to do so through producing drugs with opium, a key ingredient in heroin, ransoms, weapons smuggling, as well as human trafficking according to Central Intelligence. Hanging is a favorite method of execution for the Taliban, who enjoy doing so to their victims publicly by way of pole, construction crane or as of recently helicopter. This practice usually leads to slow, painful, and excruciating deaths which hence is the reason the civilized nations of the world have outlawed it. Victims are usually bound and drug through the streets by a truck until they reach their final destination. Cultural genocide is a social norm there with 2,500 year old Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001 and artifact over 100,000 years old from the National Museum of Afghanistan in1992, not to mention the Puli Khumri Public Library, all faced destruction. Music and all forms of recreation are banned.

US Invasion and Return to Power:

The Taliban’s reign of terror came to a brief end in 2001, when the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama Bin-Laden, the perpetrator of the attacks of September 11,2001, and leader of Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda was a key component of the establishment of the Taliban Government in 1996, and since then these terrorists were harbored by them. Now in 2021, they have fought a 20 year guerilla war with the US, fighting from the shadows and occasionally launching random cowardly attacks used in conjunction with underhanded tactics. Suicide bombings and IED are a few such tactics that have claimed many lives. Civilians are routinely used as human shields, according to NATO. In 2017 they destroyed thousands of schools and killed many more students and educators, citing a report from the UN’S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In 2010 they murdered 10 medical workers from a Christian organization passing through Badakhshan Province and in 2012 Taliban gunmen killed 4 unarmed UN doctors in Karachi, Pakistan. Later, in August of 2021, the Taliban returned to power after the US pull out, with the capture of Kabul, their capital. With the US gone, the Taliban have millions of dollars worth of equipment they left behind, including M1A1 Tanks and Blackhawk Helicopters, enabling them to extend their cruelty all the way to all of Afghanistan’s borders which they were unable to do in the past.

The Current State of Afghanistan:

Today, Taliban leaders are not only on the FBI’s most wanted list but are also the rulers of Afghanistan, including the Minister of the Interior, Sirajuddin Haqqani who has a 5 million dollar bounty on his head for a terrorist attack on a hotel in 2008 that killed 8 people and kidnappings as well as Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar who was mentioned previously, is wanted for assasinations and suicide bombings. Reminiscent of the empires of old like Rome and the Ottomans, the Taliban operate a society based on religious law, oppression of women, Christians, Hindus, sikhs and jews, and severe punishment for any crime. Between 2008 and 2012, the Taliban undertook a series of assassinations targeting Christian and Jewish aid workers, the UN states. Their ways have changed little in the 20 years since they were ousted with the masscres of Christians returning as a normalcy. Testimony from Taliban captives in Guantanamo Bay during the Combatant Status Review Tribunals also revealed that they force children to be soldiers. Women have no rights again, are barred from educational institutions, getting jobs, and can not leave the house without a male relative or else they will be beaten, flogged, and potentially publicly executed. One such instance is in the case of a young woman named Sahalia, who was outside with a male who was not her relative, and was caught by the Taliban, accused of adultery and publicly flogged in Gazi Stadium 100 times. In the recent takeover, the Taliban have released criminals from prisons to hunt the female judges whom convicted them. All women are required to be completely covered except for the eyes. Times, however, have changed. With the emergence of social media and other technologies, comes new problems for them, as civilians can record their evil doings with cellular devices for all to see. More horrific things can be seen, such as the slaughter of a Christian group and the execution of other dissidents by hanging by way of helicopters left behind by the Americans. They will face new challenges to curb its usage and regulate it in order to completely consolidate their power.

The Bottom Line:

The Taliban is distinctively different from most other evil governments like Nazi Germany, Syria or the Soviet Union in the way that they will just randomly kill one another without hesitation if something as little as a harmless mistake is made. They had a certain disciplined way of selecting people to kill while the Taliban will do so indiscriminately, without reason. If your neighbor accuses you of something, the Taliban will kill you or let them do, even if its no true, says one refugee who saw it happen to his brother. Hide your kids, hide your wife, hide yourself. The Taliban is back and more dangerous than ever before.

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