Afghanistan the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get hot in summers. Kabul serves as its largest city. Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia; the land has been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs, British and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries. It has been called "unconquerable" and nicknamed the "graveyard of empires"; the land served as the source from which the Kushans, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Khaljis, Hotaks and others have risen to form major empires.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire, its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until 50 years when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and a Soviet Union protectorate; this evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for over five years.
The Taliban were forcibly removed by the NATO-led coalition, a new democratically-elected government political structure was formed, but they still control a significant portion of the country. Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic with a population of 31 million composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks, it is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Group of 77, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement. Afghanistan's economy is the world's 108th largest, with a GDP of $64.08 billion. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, documented in the 10th-century geography book Hudud ul-'alam; the root name "Afghan" was used in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, the suffix "-stan" means "place of" in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more in a historical sense, to land of the Pashtuns. However, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that "he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan."
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites; the country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire. Many empires and kingdoms have risen to power in Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Samanids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids and the Hotak and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. Urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan and India. In more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well. After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic
Badakhshan Province is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and northern Pakistan. It shares a 56.5-mile border with China. It is part of a broader historical Badakhshan region; the province contains 22 to 28 districts, over 1,200 villages, 904,700 people. Feyzabad serves as the provincial capital. Badakhshan is bordered by Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and Khatlon Province in Tajikistan to the north and east. In the east of the province a long spur called the Wakhan Corridor extends above northern Pakistan's Chitral and Northern Areas to a border with China; the province has a total area of 44,059 square kilometres, most of, occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges. Badakhshan was a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path, China has shown great interest in the province after the fall of the Taliban, helping to reconstruct roads and infrastructure. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Badakhshan contains temperate grasslands and shrublands, as well as Gissaro-Alai open woodlands along the Pamir River.
Common plants found in these areas include pistachio, walnut, apple and sagebrush. Montane grasslands and shrublands are existent in the province, with the Hindu Kush alpine meadow in the high mountains in the northern and southwestern regions; the Wakhan corridor contains two montane grassland and shrubland regions: the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe and in the Pamir Mountains and Kuh-e Safed Khers in Darwaz region. South of Fayzabad the terrain becomes dominated by xeric shrublands. Common vegetation includes thorny bushes, zizyphus and Amygdatus. Paropamisus xeric woodlands can be found in central areas. Common vegetation includes almond, pistachio and sea-buckthorn; the area has a long history like the rest of Afghanistan, dating to its conquering by the Achaemenid Empire and beyond. Badakhshan etymologically derives from an official title; the suffix of the name, -ān, means the region belonged to someone with the title badaxš. The territory was ruled by the Uzbek Khanate of Bukhara between the early 16th century and the mid-18th century.
It was given to Ahmad Shah Durrani by Murad Beg of Bukhara after a treaty of friendship was reached in or about 1750 and became part of the Durrani Empire. It was ruled by the Durranis followed by the Barakzai dynasty, was untouched by the British during the three Anglo-Afghan wars that were fought in the 19th and 20th centuries, it remained peaceful for about 100 years until the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War at which point the Mujahideen began a rebellion against the central Afghan government. During the 1990s, much of the area was controlled by forces loyal to Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud, who were de facto the national government until 1996. Badakhshan was the only province that the Taliban did not conquer during their rule from 1996 to 2001. However, during the course of the wars a non-Taliban Islamic emirate was established in Badakhshan by Mawlawi Shariqi, paralleling the Islamic Revolutionary State of Afghanistan in neighboring Nuristan. Rabbani, a Badakhshan native, Massoud, were the last remnants of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the peak of Taliban control in 2001.
Badakhshan was thus one of the few provinces of the country that witnessed little insurgency in the Afghan wars - however during the 2010s Taliban insurgents managed to attack and take control of several districts in the province. On 26 October 2015, the 7.5 Mw Hindu Kush earthquake shook northern Afghanistan with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII. This earthquake destroyed 30,000 homes, left several hundred dead, more than 1,700 injured; the current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb. His predecessors were Baz Mohammad Ahmadi; the borders with neighboring Tajikistan and Pakistan are monitored by the Afghan Border Police. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police. A provincial Police Chief is assigned to lead both the ANP and the ABP; the Police Chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces. Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province, sits on the Kokcha River and has an approximate population of 50,000.
The chief commercial and administrative center of northeast Afghanistan and the Pamir region, Fayzabad has rice and flour mills. Fayzabad Airport serves the province with regular direct flights to Kabul; the percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011. The overall literacy rate fell from 31% in 2005 to 26% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate increased from 46% in 2005 to 68% in 2011. Despite massive mineral reserves, Badakhshan is one of the most destitute areas in the world. Opium poppy growing is the only real source of income in the province and Badakhshan has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, due to the complete lack of health infrastructure, inaccessible locations, bitter winters of the province. BORNA Institute of Higher Education being the first private university located on the bank of Kokcha river. Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Sar-e-Sang mines, located in the Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan, for over 6,000 years.
The mines were the largest and most well-known source in ancient times. Most recent
Kuran wa Munjan District
Kuran wa Munjan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. Located in the Hindu Kush mountains, the district is home to 8,000 residents; the district administrative center is Kuran wa Munjan. The district is in the southwest corner of the province, is bordered on its northeast side by the Jurm and Zebak Districts. Most of the district's boundaries are adjacent to other Afghan provinces, but a small section on the eastern edge of the district lies on the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan; the epicenter of the October 26 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake was 45 km north of here. Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services
Ghazni known as Ghaznin or Ghazna, is a city in central Afghanistan with a population of around 270,000 people. The city is strategically located along Highway 1, which has served as the main road between Kabul and southern Afghanistan for thousands of years. Situated on a plateau at 2,219 metres above sea level, the city is 150 km south of Kabul and serves as the capital of Ghazni Province. Ghazni is an ancient city with a rich history. Ghazni Citadel, the Minarets of Ghazni, the Palace of Sultan Mas'ud III and several other cultural heritage sites have brought travellers and archeologists to the city for centuries, in 2013, ISESCO declared Ghazni the year's Islamic Capital of Culture. During the pre-Islamic period, the area was inhabited by various tribes who practiced different religions including Buddhism and Hinduism. Arab Muslims introduced Islam to Ghazni in the 7th century and were followed in the 9th century by the Saffarids. Sabuktigin made Ghazni the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire in the 10th century.
The city was destroyed by one of the Ghurid rulers, but rebuilt. It fell to a number of regional powers, including the Timurids and the Delhi Sultanate, until it became part of the Hotaki dynasty, followed by the Durrani Empire or modern Afghanistan. During the First Anglo-Afghan War in the 19th century, Ghazni was destroyed by British-Indian forces; the city is being rebuilt by the Government of Afghanistan in remembrance of the Ghaznavid and Timurid era when it served as a major center of Islamic civilisation. The Afghan National Security Forces have established bases and check-points to deal with the Taliban insurgency. Ghazni is a transit hub in central Afghanistan. Agriculture is the dominant land use at 28%. In terms of built-up land area, vacant plots outweigh residential area. Districts 3 and 4 have large institutional areas; the city of Ghazni's population surged from 143,379 in 2015 to 270,000 in 2018 as refugees from violent areas fled to the city. The city covers a total land area of 3,330 hectares.
The total number of dwellings in Ghazni city is 15,931. In 2013, ISESCO declared Ghazni the year's Islamic Capital of Culture. In August 2018, the city became of the site of the Battle of Ghazni; the city was founded some time in antiquity as a small market town. It may be the Gazaca mentioned by Ptolemy, although he may have conflated it and the town of Ganzak in Iran. In the 6th century BC, it was conquered by the Achaemenid king Cyrus II and incorporated into the Persian empire; the city was subsequently incorporated into the empire of Alexander the Great in 329 BC, called Alexandria in Opiana. By the 7th century AD, the area was a major centre of Buddhism. In 644, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited a city named Jaguda—which was certainly the contemporary name of the Ghazni – while returning from Varnu —and as he crossed the land of a people he called O-po-kien. In 683, Arab armies brought Islam to the region. Yaqub Saffari from Zaranj conquered the city in the late 9th century. For nearly two hundred years the city was the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavid Empire, which encompassed much of what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eastern Iran and Rajasthan.
The Ghaznavids took Islam to India and returned with fabulous riches taken from Indian princes and temples. Although the city was sacked in 1151 by the Ghorid Ala'uddin, it became their secondary capital in 1173, subsequently flourished once again. Between 1215 and 1221, Ghazni was ruled by the Khwarezmid Empire, during which time it was destroyed by the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan's son Ögedei Khan. In the first decades of the 11th century, Ghazni was the most important centre of Persian literature; this was the result of the cultural policy of the Sultan Mahmud, who assembled a circle of scholars and poets around his throne in support of his claim to royal status in Iran. The noted Moroccan travelling scholar, Ibn Battuta, visiting Ghazni in 1333, wrote: Ghazni City is famous for its Ghazni Minarets built on a stellar plan, they date from the middle of the twelfth century and are the surviving elements of the mosque of Bahramshah. Their sides are decorated with intricate geometric patterns.
Some of the upper sections of the minarets have been destroyed. The most important mausoleum located in Ghazni City is that of Sultan Mahmud. Others include the Tombs such as the Tomb of Al Biruni; the only ruins in Old Ghazni retaining a semblance of architectural form are two towers, about 43 m high and 365 m apart. According to inscriptions, the towers were constructed by Mahmud of his son. For more than eight centuries the “Towers of Victory” monuments to Afghanistan’s greatest empire have survived wars and invasions, the two toffee-colored minarets, adorned with terra-cotta tiles were raised in the early 12th century as monuments to the victories of the Afghan armies that built the empire. By the time the Ghurids had finalized the Ghaznavid removal from Ghazni, the city was a cultural center of the eastern Islamic world; the Buddhist site at Ghazni is known as Tapar Sardar and consists of a stupa on a hilltop, surrounded by a row of smaller stupas. Nearby, an 18-metre long Parinirvana Buddha was excavated between early 1970s.
It is believed to have been built in the 8th Century AD as part of a monastery complex. In the 1980s, a mud brick shelter was created to protect the sculpture, but the wood supports were stolen for firewood and the shelter collaps
The Pashtuns known as ethnic Afghans and Pathans, are an Iranian ethnic group who live in Pakistan and Afghanistan in South-Central Asia. They speak the Pashto language and adhere to Pashtunwali, a traditional set of ethics guiding individual and communal conduct; the ethnogenesis of the Pashtun ethnic group is unclear but historians have come across references to various ancient peoples called Pakthas between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC, who may be their early ancestors. Their history is spread amongst the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centred on their traditional seat of power in that region. Globally, the Pashtuns are estimated to number around 50 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979; the majority of the Pashtuns live in the region regarded as Pashtunistan, split between the two countries since the Durand Line border was formed after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. There are significant Pashtun diaspora communities in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan, in particular in the cities of Karachi and Lahore.
A recent Pashtun diaspora has developed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates. The Pashtuns are a significant minority group in Pakistan, where they constitute the second-largest ethnic group or about 15% of the population; as the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, Pashtuns have been the dominant ethno-linguistic group for over 300 years. During the Delhi Sultanate era, the 15th–16th century Lodi dynasty replaced the preexisting rulers in North India until Babur deposed the Lodi dynasty. Other Pashtuns fought the Safavids and Mughals before obtaining an independent state in the early 18th century, which began with a successful revolution by Mirwais Hotak followed by conquests of Ahmad Shah Durrani; the Barakzai dynasty played a vital role during the Great Game from the 19th century to the 20th century as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires. The Pashtuns are the world's largest segmentary lineage ethnic group. Estimates of the number of Pashtun tribes and clans range from about 350 to over 400.
There have been many notable Pashtun people throughout history: Ahmad Shah Durrani is regarded as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan, while Bacha Khan was a Pashtun independence activist against the rule of the British Raj. Some others include Malala Yousafzai, Shah Rukh Khan, Zarine Khan, Imran Khan, Farhad Darya, Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Ahmad Zahir, Zakir Husain, Hamid Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Mullah Mohammed Omar; the vast majority of the Pashtuns are found in the traditional Pashtun homeland, located in an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and west of the Indus River in Pakistan, which includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern part of Balochistan. Additional Pashtun communities are located in Western and Northern Afghanistan, the Gilgit–Baltistan and Kashmir regions and northwestern Punjab province, Pakistan. There are sizeable Muslim communities in India, which are of Pashtun ancestry. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are referred to as Pathans. Smaller Pashtun communities are found in the countries of the Middle East, such as in the Khorasan Province of Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, North America and Australia.
Important metropolitan centres of Pashtun culture include Peshawar, Quetta, Mardan and Jalalabad. In Pakistan, the city of Karachi in Sindh province has the largest Pashtun diaspora communities in the world, with as much as 7 million Pashtuns living in Karachi according to some estimates. Several cities in Pakistan's Punjab province have sizeable Pashtun populations, in particular Lahore. About 15% of Pakistan's nearly 200 million population is Pashtun. In Afghanistan, they are the largest ethnic group and make up between 42–60% of the 32.5 million population. The exact figure remains uncertain in Afghanistan, affected by the 1.3 million or more Afghan refugees that remain in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns. Another one million or more Afghans live in Iran. A cumulative population assessment suggests a total of around 49 million individuals all across the world. A prominent institution of the Pashtun people is the intricate system of tribes; the Pashtuns remain a predominantly tribal people, but the trend of urbanisation has begun to alter Pashtun society as cities such as Kandahar, Peshawar and Kabul have grown due to the influx of rural Pashtuns.
Despite this, many people still identify themselves with various clans. The tribal system has several levels of organisation: the tribe, tabar, is divided into kinship groups called khels, in turn divided into smaller groups, each consisting of several extended families called kahols. Pashtun tribes are divided into four'greater' tribal groups: the Sarbani, the Bettani, the Gharghashti, the Karlani. Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that early humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago. Since the 2nd millennium BC, cities in the region now inhabited by Pashtuns have seen invasions and migrations, including by Ancient Indian peoples, Ancient Iranian peoples, the Medes and Ancient Macedonians in antiquity, Hephthalites, Turks and others. In recent times, people of the Western world have explored the area as well. Most historians acknowledge that the origin of the Pashtuns is some
Ghazni is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in central Afghanistan, towards the east. The province contains 19 districts, encompassing over a thousand villages and 1.3 million people. The city of Ghazni serves as the capital, it lies on the important Kabul–Kandahar Highway, has functioned as an important trade center. The Ghazni Airport is located next to the city of Ghazni and provides limited domestic flights to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul; the province was known as Ghazna in the 10th century and after the Ghaznavid era. Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist center before and during the 7th century AD. Excavations have revealed religious artifacts of Buddhist traditions. "The two other great Buddhist centers and Tepe-e-sardar in its phase are a different matter and display another phase of influences coming from India from the seventh to eighth century. The representations show themes from Mahayana iconography and in the case of the latter site assume Tantric aspects which had established themselves in the large Indian monasteries like Nalanda."
In 644 AD, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited the city of Jaguda, while returning from Varnu In 683 AD, armies from the Umayyad Caliphate brought Islam to the area and attempted to conquer the capital of Ghazni but the local tribes fiercely resisted. Its resistance was so famed that Yaqub Saffari from Zaranj made an example of Ghazni when he ranged the vast region conquering in the name of Islam; the city was destroyed by the Saffarids in 869. A substantial portion of the local population including Hindus and Buddhists were converted to Islam by Mahmud of Ghazni "There is no evidence that Ghazna had formed part of the Samanid kingdom, it had been overrun with the whole of Zabulistan and Kabul by the Saffaris by 260 but it is doubtful how far their power was permanent and when the Samanids became paramount there is no evidence that Kabul or Ghazna were under them. The ruler of Ghazna was allied to the Hindushahis of Kabul; these titles were not as yet used by the Muhammadan rulers. The Padshah Lavik was a Hindu chief though some passages in the Tabakth i Nisiri give him the name of Abu Bakr or Abu Ali."
After the rebuilding of the city by Yaqub's brother, it became the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavids from 994 to 1160, encompassing much of North India and Central Asia. Many iconoclastic campaigns were launched from Ghazni into India; the Ghaznavids took Islam to India and returned with fabulous riches taken from both prince and temple god. Contemporary visitors and residents at Ghazni write with wonder of the ornateness of the buildings, the great libraries, the sumptuousness of the court ceremonies and of the wealth of precious objects owned by Ghazni's citizens. Ferishta records attacks by Muhammad of Ghor: "at the same time most of the infidels who inhabited the mountains between Ghazni and the Indus were converted, some by force and others by persuasion." Ghazni's eponymous capital was razed in 1151 by the Ghorid Alauddin. It again flourished but only to be permanently devastated, this time in 1221 by Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies after 6 years of Khwarezmid rule. Ghazni's strategic position, both economically and militarily, assured its revival under the Qarlughids, albeit without its dazzling former grandeur.
Ghazni is famous for its minarets built on a stellar plan. They date from the middle of the twelfth century and are the surviving element of the mosque of Bahramshah, their sides are decorated with geometric patterns. Upper sections of the minarets have been destroyed; the most important mausoleum located in Ghazni is that of Sultan Mahmud's. Others include the tombs of poets and scientists, for example Sanai; the only ruins in Old Ghazni retaining a semblance of architectural form are two towers, about 43 m high and some 365 m apart. According to inscriptions, the towers were constructed by Mahmud of his son. Ibn Battuta noted "The greater part of the town is in ruins, with nothing but a fraction of it still standing, although it was a great city."Babur records in his memoirs that Ghazni was part of Zabulistan. The area was controlled by the Mughals until Nader Shah and his Persian forces invaded it in 1738. Ahmad Shah Durrani made it part of the Durrani Empire. During the First Anglo-Afghan War, the capital of Ghazni province was destroyed by the British-led Indian forces in the Battle of Ghazni.
In the 1960s a 15-meter female Buddha was discovered lying on its back and surrounded by empty pillars that once held rows of smaller male Buddhas. Parts of the female Buddha have been stolen. In the 1980s a mud brick shelter was created to protect the sculpture, but the wood supports were stolen for firewood and the shelter collapsed. Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, there has been a Provincial reconstruction base and a NATO forces base; these western forces are hunting al-Qaida militants, who are still active in the area. Like many southern Afghan provinces, Ghazni has a precarious security situation; the Taliban insurgents are found in the rural areas outside of the capital, are involved in attacks on provincial schools and government infrastructure. The province has avoided the outright warfare seen in other provinces of Afghanistan such as Helmand and Kandahar, but, due more to political expediency and the tactical plans of the NATO-led ISAF force than the existence of a stable security situation in the province.
Ex-Governor Taj Mohammad was killed by insurgents in 2006 af
The Taliban or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan waging war within that country. Since 2016, the Taliban's leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada; the leadership is based in Pakistan. From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban held power over three quarters of Afghanistan, enforced there a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law; the Taliban emerged in 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War and consisted of students from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan, educated in traditional Islamic schools, fought during the Soviet–Afghan War. Under the leadership of Mohammed Omar, the movement spread throughout most of Afghanistan, sequestering power from the Mujahideen warlords; the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was established in 1996 and the Afghan capital was transferred to Kandahar. It held control of most of the country until being overthrown after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in December 2001 following the September 11 attacks.
At its peak, formal diplomatic recognition of the Taliban's government was acknowledged by only three nations: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. The group regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the War in Afghanistan; the Taliban have been condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans women. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes. According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 76% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011, 80% in 2012. Taliban has engaged in cultural genocide, destroying numerous monuments including the famous 1500-year old Buddhas of Bamiyan.
The Taliban's ideology has been described as combining an "innovative" form of sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism and the militant Islamism and Salafi jihadism of Osama bin Laden with Pashtun social and cultural norms known as Pashtunwali, as most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and military are alleged by the international community and the Afghan government to have provided support to the Taliban during their founding and time in power, of continuing to support the Taliban during the insurgency. Pakistan states. In 2001 2,500 Arabs under command of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden fought for the Taliban; the word Taliban is طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loanword from Arabic طالب ṭālib, using the Persian plural ending -ān ان. In Arabic طالبان ṭālibān means not "students" but "two students", as it is a dual form, the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb—occasionally causing some confusion to Arabic speakers.
Since becoming a loanword in English, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has been used as a singular noun referring to an individual. For example, John Walker Lindh has been referred to as "an American Taliban", rather than "an American Talib". In the English language newspapers of Pakistan, the word Talibans is used when referring to more than one Taliban; the spelling Taliban has come to be predominant over Taleban in English. After the Soviet Union intervened and occupied Afghanistan in 1979, Islamic mujahideen fighters engaged in war with those Soviet forces. Pakistan's President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq feared that the Soviets were planning to invade Balochistan, Pakistan, so he sent Akhtar Abdur Rahman to Saudi Arabia to garner support for the Afghan resistance against Soviet occupation forces. A while the US CIA and Saudi Arabic General Intelligence Directorate funneled funding and equipment through the PakistanI Inter-Service Intelligence Agency to the Afghan mujahideen. About 90,000 Afghans, including Mohammed Omar, were trained by Pakistan's ISI during the 1980s.
The British Professor Carole Hillenbrand concluded that the Taliban have arisen from those US-Saudi-Pakistan-supported mujahideen: "The West helped the Taliban to fight the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan". After the fall of the Soviet-backed regime of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, many Afghan political parties, but not Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, Hizb-e Wahdat, Ittihad-i Islami, in April agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement, the Peshawar Accord, which created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government for a transitional period. Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami party refused to recognize the interim government, in April infiltrated Kabul to take power for itself, thus starting this civil war. In May, Hekmatyar started attacks against Kabul. Hekmatyar received operational and military support from Pakistan's ISI. With that help, Hekmatyar's forces were able to destroy half of Kabul. Iran assisted the Hizb-e Wahdat forces of Abdul Ali Mazari. Saudi Arabia supported the Ittihad-i Islami faction.
The conflict between these militias escalated into war. Due to this sudden initiation of civil war, working g