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20 September 2017
30 June 2015

Taliban movement: external causes for its emergence

Taliban movement: external causes for its emergence

The project “Caliphate” actively promoted by the “Islamic State” group threatens to become a para-state where the Sharia laws will be followed in a barbaric way. History shows the examples of theoretical ideas about a theocratic state turning into a bitter reality. The power of “Taliban” movement in Afghanistan is one of the most vivid of them.

The movement “Taliban” emerged in 1994 at the very height of the civil war in Afghanistan. Within a very short period of time the Talibs managed to take a considerable part of the country under control and become the most influential political force in the area. Effectively, “Taliban” was in power between 1996 and 2001. However, the Taliban regime was not recognised internationally. Diplomatic relations were established only with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Although Taliban power is associated with a societal meltdown in the country caused by the civil war, it would be wrong to believe that it is only the internal phenomenon presented by “Taliban” played the crucial part. Foreign policy factor had quite a considerable impact too.

Pakistan, the United States of America and Saudi Arabia played an important part as far as emergence and establishment of the “Taliban” movement. When the Soviet Union withdrew their troops from Afghanistan in 1989, Pakistan decided to take political situation of the country under control. This was essential not only for taking possession of the Afghanistan natural resources, but also for installing a gas oil pipe from Turkmenistan to Karachi, the biggest seaport city of Pakistan. As the ex-president Muhammad Najibullah and his successor Burhanuddin Rabbani were against the Pakistani goals having been implemented at Afghanistan’s cost, the official Islamabad counted on the arising movement “Taliban”. Some of the movement members were trained in Pakistani madrasahs, others were fighting with Pakistani mujahidins against the Soviet in 1970-1980. Therefore, Pakistan found it to be quite feasible to ideologically influence the Talibs. In addition to this, Pakistan supported the Talibs financially and provided the movement militants with military instruction.

Taliban movement: external causes for its emergence

It is worth noting that apart from Islam, Pashtun nationalism played a crucial part in the ideological doctrine of “Taliban”. It was actively fueled by the Pakistanis. Majority of the “Taliban” group were ethnic Pashtuns who lived at the south of Afghanistan and north-west part of Pakistan. The idea of the Pashtuns national liberation from the dominance of the non-native people (Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras) was critically important with regard to the manpower mobilisation. The Pashtuns factor explains why the Talibs’ did not intend to escalate their expansion outside Afghanistan borders. According to the Talibs’ way of Sharia interpretation, their state should be restricted to the territory of Afghanistan.
Supporting the Talibs, the United States and Saudi Arabia pursued their objective of capturing the Caspian oil and gas bearing basin. Interestingly enough, the United States originally considered the Talibs as the effective stabilisation factor in the country. Historically, Afghanistan has not had the power centre for many centuries. This put the execution of the Caspian oil and gas project at threat. The US and Saudi Arabia assumed that “Taliban” would be the guarantor of order in the country.
It is important to say that “Taliban” movement was demonised by the United States not from the very beginning of their relations, but some time later. Moreover, Kabul and Washington had been publicly discussing the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations for quite a long time. There were obvious reasons for presenting “Taliban” in a completely opposite way. And these reasons can be expressed in monetary terms.

Taliban movement: external causes for its emergence

It is widely known that the United States officially launched a military operation in Afghanistan because the Talibs declined to extradite the leader of “Al-Qaeda” Osama bin Laden and hand him over to the American justice for the 9/11 attacks. However, the true causes of the war are as follows: “Taliban” movement failed to further the American and Saudi financial interest. Internal divisions within “Taliban” and China and Russia stepping up pushed Washington to establish military presence in Afghanistan. Under these circumstances, it did not seem possible to position the Talibs as their partners.

In the author’s subjective opinion, all the above-mentioned proves the indisputable truth that the religion (in these circumstances it is Islam, first of all) has always been a powerful tool used by backstairs politicians to influence people. It turned out that the most valuable natural resources are located in the areas where the Muslims have been living. They tempt the most powerful states in the world. Unfortunately, in this situation the religious principles, which are supposed to help an individual to self-improve, reveal the worst and the ugliest traits of a human being when he commits murder without a second thought. The examples of “Taliban”, “Al-Qaeda” and “Islamic State” and other radicals are the clear evidence of this.

Aidar Zinatullin