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The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist political group found primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Throughout its rise to power in Afghanistan and its subsequent relegation to insurgency status, it has been a powerful yet destabilizing force. As a result, it is viewed by many as a local, regional, and even international security threat.

Origins and Rise to Power

The Taliban (meaning “students”) emerged in late 1994 as a movement made up of individuals from Islamic madrasahs (theological schools) who were living in Pakistan. They vowed to bring peace to Afghanistan by imposing sharia (Islamic law). The group has strongly held fundamentalist beliefs, putting them outside mainstream Islam. As a result, they routinely clashed with the secular intelligentsia even ...

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