An aerial view of Nad Al Sheba Desert in Dubai

An aerial view of Nad Al Sheba Desert in Dubai.

Mullah Mohammed Omar

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes in...
English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center complex in New York City during the September 11 attacks (Photo credit:
Mullah Omar has been wanted by the U.S. State Department‘s Rewards for Justice program since October 2001, for sheltering Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda militants in the years prior to the September 11 attacks.[3] Those who were close to him say that he requested evidence from the United States regarding bin Laden and his alleged hand in the 9/11 attacks but did not receive any.[4] He is believed to be directing the Taliban insurgency against the U.S.-led NATO forces and the Government of Afghanistan.[5][6]
Despite his political rank and his high status on the Rewards for Justice most wanted list,[3] not much is publicly known about him. Few photos exist of him, none of them official, and a picture used in 2002 by many media outlets has since been established to be someone other than him. The authenticity of the existing images is debated.[7] Apart from the fact that he is missing one eye, accounts of his physical appearance are contradictory: Omar is described as very tall (some say 2 m).[8][9] Mullah Omar has been described as shy and non-talkative with foreigners.[10]
During his tenure as Emir of Afghanistan, Omar seldom left the city of Kandahar and rarely met with outsiders,[8] instead relying on Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil for the majority of diplomatic necessities. Many, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, claim that Mullah Omar and his Taliban movement are used as puppets by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan. Additionally, many current and former U.S. senior military officials such as Robert Gates,[11] Stanley McChrystal,[12] David Petraeus[13] and others claim that Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are also involved in helping the Taliban.[14]
 Personal life
Omar is thought to have been born around 1959 or 1962 in the village of Nodeh in the Deh Rahwod District[2] of Urozgan Province[1][15] of Afghanistan to a landless peasant family.[16] He is an ethnic Pashtun from the Hotak tribe, which is part of the larger Ghilzai branch.[17] His father is said to have died before he was born and the responsibility of fending for his family fell to him as he grew older.[18]
Omar fought as a guerrilla with the anti-soviet Mujahideen under the command of Nek Mohammad and others, but did not fight against the Najibullah regime between 1989 and 1992.[18] It was reported that he was thin, but tall and strongly built, and “a crack marksman who had destroyed many Soviet tanks during the Afghan War.”[19]
Omar was wounded four times. Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef claims to have been present when shrapnel destroyed one of his eyes during a battle in Sangsar, Panjwaye District shortly before the 1987 Battle of Arghandab.[20] Other sources place this event in 1986[21] or in the 1989 Battle of Jalalabad.[22]
After he was disabled, Omar may have studied and taught in a madrasah, or Islamic seminary, in the Pakistani border city of Quetta. He was reportedly a mullah at a village madrasah near the Afghan city of Kandahar.
Unlike many Afghan mujahideen, Omar speaks Arabic.[23] He was devoted to the lectures of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam,[24] and took a job teaching in a madrassa in Quetta. He later moved to Binoori Mosque in Karachi, where he led prayers, and later met with Osama bin Laden for the first time.[8]

  Forming the Taliban

Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the collapse of Najibullah’s Soviet-backed regime in 1992, the country fell into chaos as various mujahideen factions fought for control. Omar returned to Singesar and founded a madrassah.[25] According to one legend, in 1994, he had a dream in which a woman told him: “We need your help; you must rise. You must end the chaos. Allah will help you.”[25] Mullah Omar started his movement with less than 50 armed madrassah students, known simply as the Taliban (Students). His recruits came from sand madrassahs in Afghanistan and from the Afghan refugee camps across the border in Pakistan. They fought against the rampant corruption that had emerged in the civil war period and were initially welcomed by Afghans weary of warlord rule. Reportedly, in early 1994, Omar led 30 men armed with 16 rifles to free youths who had been kidnapped and raped by a warlord, hanging the local commander from a tank gun barrel. The youths were two young girls. His movement gained momentum through the year, and he quickly gathered recruits from Islamic schools. By November 1994, Omar’s movement managed to capture the whole of the Kandahar Province and then captured Herat in September 1995.[26]

 Leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

In April 1996, supporters of Mullah Omar bestowed on him the title Amir al-Mu’minin (أمير المؤمنين, “Commander of the Faithful”),[27] after he donned a cloak alleged to be that of Muhammad which was locked in a series of chests, held inside the Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed in the city of Kandahar. Legend decreed that whoever could retrieve the cloak from the chest would be the great Leader of the Muslims, or “Amir al-Mu’minin[citation needed].[28]
In September 1996, Kabul fell to Mullah Omar and his followers. The civil war continued in the northeast corner of the country, near Tajikistan. The nation was named the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in October 1997 and was recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A “reclusive, pious and frugal” leader,[8] Omar visited Kabul twice between 1996 to 2001. Omar stated: “All Taliban are moderate. There are two things: extremism [“ifraat”, or doing something to excess] and conservatism [“tafreet”, or doing something insufficiently]. So in that sense, we are all moderates – taking the middle path.[29]
In a BBC’s Pashto interview after the September 11 attacks in 2001, he told that “You (the BBC) and American puppet radios have created concern. But the current situation in Afghanistan is related to a bigger cause – that is the destruction of America…This is not a matter of weapons. We are hopeful for Allah’s help. The real matter is the extinction of America. And, Allah willing, it [America] will fall to the ground… We will not accept a government of wrong-doers. We prefer death than to be a part of an evil government…”[30]

 

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John Kerry Visit to Saudi Arabia

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah at Yamamah Palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 4, 2013. Saudi Arabia is the seventh leg of Kerry’s first official overseas trip.
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah at Yamamah Palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 4, 2013. Saudi Arabia is the seventh leg of Kerry's first official overseas trip.

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Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Riyadh is the nations legislative, financial administrative, diplomatic and commercial center. It is the location for foreign embassies, universities, banks and corporate headquarters. It is the capital of the nation.
Riyadh is a particularly youthful city, with half the population under 20 years of age.
The land around it, however, is old.
In a region where tradition, modernity and globalization converge, Riyadh is the focal point of the Middle East’s largest economy. Riyadh is an international business hub where you can experience contrasting lifestyles in a traditional Islamic environment.
Its vibrant globalized environment features: World Class buildings, shopping, restaurants, historical and cultural sites, nature reserves and all the elements of an old Arab city.
Visually the countryside is dominated by the central Najd plateau. The majority of settlements run along the line of the magnificent Twaiq Escarpment with the sites of cities originally determined by the availability of water.
To the north and east of the province is the sandier landscape of the Ad Dahna. To the west is the higher land and harder rocks of the Arabian shield. In the south is the great sandy desert; the Rub al-Khali. This hardy and evocative desert is the traditional homeland of the Bedouin.
Ultimately, Riyadh is a concentration of the apparent opposites of history, modernity, religion, business, desert, oasis, nature and city. These different worlds converge to live side by side in the Arab Peninsula’s most challenging and stimulating city.

  

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Tauqir Sadiq likely to be brought back

 


ABU DHABI: Former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman Tauqir Sadiq, allegedly involved in Rs80billion scam, is expected to be brought back to Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) within 48 hours, Geo News reported.

According to sources in Pakistan embassy, UAE, all the relevant documents have been handed over to UAE authorities.
The sources added that Pakistani officials held meeting with UAE authorities last night and handed over documents to them.
It may be noted here that Tauqir Sadiq is allegedly involved in Rs80 billion corruption and the case is under hearing in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The court had issued orders for his arrest in this scam. (The News)

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List of Languages of Saudi Arabia

Day Translations is a professional language translation company. We provide high qualitative translations of every language, inclusive professional Arabic translation and interpreting services. We hope that this information about the languages of Saudi Arabia helps you.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, al-Mamlaka al-`Arabiya as-Sa`udiya. 25,795,938. National or official language: Standard Arabic. Literacy rate: 38%, 50% men. Also includes Bengali (15,000), Egyptian Spoken Arabic (300,000), English (60,000), French (22,000), Indonesian (37,000), Italian (22,000), Kabardian (17,000), Korean (66,000), Somali (42,727), Sudanese Spoken Arabic (86,000), Tagalog (700,000), Urdu (382,000), Uyghur (5,919), Western Cham (100), Western Farsi (102,000), Chinese (58,000), from India (120,000), from the Philippines (700,000), others from Nigeria. Information mainly from M. Bateson 1967; T. M. Johnstone 1987; B. Comrie 1987; A. S. Kaye 1988; C. Holes 1990; B. Ingham 1994. Blind population: 140,000. Deaf population: 1,103,284. The number of languages listed for Saudi Arabia is 5. Of those, all are living languages.
:: List of Languages ::
Arabic, Gulf Spoken [afb] 200,000 in Saudi Arabia. Northern and southern Eastern Province. Alternate names: Gulf Spoken. Dialects: Al-Hasaa. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic.
Arabic, Hijazi Spoken [acw] 6,000,000 in Saudi Arabia (1996). Red Sea coast and adjacent highlands. Also spoken in Eritrea. Alternate names: Hijazi, West Arabian Colloquial Arabic. Dialects: North Hijazi, South Hijazi, Valley Tihaamah, Coastal Tihaamah. North Hijazi has 4 subdialects, South Hijazi has 16. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic.
Arabic, Najdi Spoken [ars] 8,000,000 in Saudi Arabia. Population total all countries: 9,863,520. Also spoken in Canada, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, USA. Dialects: North Najdi (Shammari, Bani Khaalid, Dafiir), Central Najdi (Rwala, Haayil, Al-Qasiim, Sudair, Riyadh, Hofuf, Biishah, Najraan, Wild `Ali, `Awaazim, Rashaayda, Mutair, `Utaiba, `Ajmaan), South Anjdi (Aal Murrah, Najran). Some dialects are spoken by Bedouins. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic.
Arabic, Standard [arb] 206,000,000 first-language speakers of all Arabic varieties (1999 WA). Middle East, North Africa, other Muslim countries. Also spoken in Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. Alternate names: High Arabic, Al Fus-Ha, Al Arabiya. Dialects: Modern Standard Arabic (Modern Literary Arabic), Classical Arabic (Koranic Arabic, Quranic Arabic). Preserves the ancient grammar. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic.
Saudi Arabian Sign Language [sdl] Classification: Deaf sign language
:: Reference ::
Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/

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Saudi Arabia Statistics

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia occupies 80% of the peninsula). It is bordered to the northwest by Jordan, to the north by Iraq and Kuwait, to the west by the Red sea and to the east Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and to the south by Yemen. The Kingdom’s geographic location makes it an easy passage for the markets of Europe, Asia and Africa. Therefore, professional Arabic translation and interpreting services play a major role. Saudi Arabia possesses 25% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and plays a leading role in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Saudi Arabia is an important force for stability in its region and also in global energy markets.
Arabic Translation Services in Saudi Arabia
 
The importance of professional Arabic translations is increasingly growing in a constantly changing, global world. If you don’t speak Arabic yourself, we are glad to translate your vision into reality and bring to you the finest and most accurate Arabic language translations. We aim to have you absolutely satisfied!
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen.
Geographic coordinates: 25 00 N, 45 00 E
Area:
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
Land boundaries:
total: 4,431 km
border countries: Iraq 814 km, Jordan 744 km, Kuwait 222 km, Oman 676 km, Qatar 60 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,458 km
Coastline: 2,640 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate: harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes.
Terrain: mostly uninhabited, sandy desert
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda’ 3,133 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land use:
arable land: 1.67%
permanent crops: 0.09%
other: 98.24% (2005)
Natural hazards: frequent sand and dust storms
Environment – current issues: desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills.
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution- Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements.
:: People of Saudi Arabia ::
Population: 28,146,656 note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 38% (male 5,458,023/female 5,245,911)
15-64 years: 59.5% (male 9,470,353/female 7,284,696)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 356,910/female 330,764) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.5 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 19.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.954% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 28.85 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 2.49 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -6.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.3 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.08 male(s)/female
total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 11.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: 3.89 children born/woman (2008 est.)
total population: 76.09 years
male: 74.04 years
female: 78.25 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.89 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prévalence rate: 0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Saudi(s) adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groups: Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
Religions: Muslim 100%
Languages:. Arabic
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)

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TheTaliban

Taliban in Herat.
Taliban in Herat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 The Taliban (Pashto: طالبان ṭālibān “students”), alternative spelling Taleban,[7] is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement inAfghanistan. It spread into Afghanistan and formed a government, ruling as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from September 1996 until December 2001, with Kandahar as the capital. However, it gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Mohammed Omar has been serving as the spiritual leader of the Taliban since 1994.[8]
While in power, it enforced its strict interpretation of Sharia law,[9] and leading Muslims have been highly critical of the Taliban’s interpretations of Islamic law.[10] The Taliban were condemned internationally for their brutal treatment of women.[11][12] The majority of their leaders were influenced by Deobandi fundamentalism,[13] and many also strictly follow the social and cultural norm calledPashtunwali.[14]
From 1995-2001, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence[15] and military[16] are widely alleged by the international community to have provided support to the Taliban. Their connections are possibly through Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a terrorist group founded by Sami ul Haq.[17] Pakistan has been accused by many international officials of continuing to support the Taliban today, but Pakistan claims to have dropped all support for the group since 9/11.[18][19][20] Al Qaeda also supported the Taliban with regiments of imported fighters from Arab countries and Central Asia.[21][22][23] Saudi Arabia provided financial support.[24] The Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians,[25][26][27] denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians[28] and conducted a policy ofscorched earth burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes during their rule from 1996-2001.[29][30]Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee to United Front-controlled territory, Pakistan, and Iran.[30]
After the attacks of September 11, 2001 the Taliban were overthrown by the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. Later it regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).[31] The Taliban have been accused of using terrorism as a specific tactic to further their ideological and political goals.[32][33] According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 75% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011, and 80% in 2012.[34][35][36] It is widely believed that the city of Quetta in Pakistan serves as Quetta Shura‘s headquarter.[37][38]

Etymology

The word Taliban is Pashtoطالبان ṭālibān, meaning “students”, the plural of ṭālib. This is a loanword from Arabic طالب ṭālib,[39] plus the Persian plural ending -ān ان (the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb, whereas طالبان ṭālibān is a dual form with the incongruous meaning, to Arabic speakers, of “two students”). Since becoming a loanword in English, Taliban, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has also 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 often used when referring to more than one Taliban. The spelling Taliban has come to predominate over Taleban in English.[40]

History

Origin

The Taliban movement traces its origin to the Pakistani-trained mujahideen in northern Pakistan, during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. When Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq became President of Pakistanhe feared that the Soviets were planning to invade Balochistan, Pakistan so he Akhtar Abdur Rahman. In the meantime, the United States and Saudi Arabia joined the struggle against the Soviet Union by providing all the funds.[1] Zia-ul-Haq has been labelled the “grandfather of global Islamic jihad”. He aligned himself with Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and later picked General Akhtar Abdur Rahman to lead the insurgency against the Soviet Union inside Afghanistan. About 90,000 Afghans, including Mohammad Omar, were trained by Pakistan’s ISI during the 1980s.[1]
After the fall of Soviet-backed regime of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, several Afghan political parties agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement, the Peshawar Accord. The accord created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government for a transitional period. According to Human Rights Watch:
The sovereignty of Afghanistan was vested formally in the Islamic State of Afghanistan, an entity created in April 1992, after the fall of the Soviet-backed Najibullah government. … With the exception of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar‘s Hezb-e Islami, all of the parties… were ostensibly unified under this government in April 1992. … Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami, for its part, refused to recognize the government for most of the period discussed in this report and launched attacks against government forces and Kabul generally. … Shells and rockets fell everywhere.[41]
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received operational, financial and military support from Pakistan.[42] Afghanistan expert Amin Saikal concludes in Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival:
Pakistan was keen to gear up for a breakthrough in Central Asia. … Islamabad could not possibly expect the new Islamic government leaders… to subordinate their own nationalist objectives in order to help Pakistan realize its regional ambitions. … Had it not been for the ISI’s logistic support and supply of a large number of rockets, Hekmatyar’s forces would not have been able to target and destroy half of Kabul.[43]
In addition, Saudi Arabia and Iran – as competitors for regional hegemony – supported Afghan militias hostile towards each other.[43] According to Human Rights Watch, Iran assisted the ShiaHazara Hezb-i Wahdat forces of Abdul Ali Mazari, as Iran attempted to maximize Wahdat’s military power and influence.[41][43][44] Saudi Arabia supported the Wahhabite Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and his Ittihad-i Islami faction.[41][43] Conflict between the two militias soon escalated. A publication by the George Washington University describes:
[O]utside forces saw instability in Afghanistan as an opportunity to press their own security and political agendas.[45]
Due to the sudden initiation of the civil war, working government departments, police units or a system of justice and accountability for the newly created Islamic State of Afghanistan did not have time to form. Horrific crimes were committed by criminals and individuals inside different factions. Rare ceasefires, usually negotiated by representatives of the Islamic State’s newly appointed Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud, President Sibghatullah Mojaddedi and later President Burhanuddin Rabbani (the interim government), or officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), commonly collapsed within days.[41] The countryside in northern Afghanistan, parts of which was under the control of Defense Minister Massoud remained calm and some reconstruction took place. The city of Herat under the rule of Islamic State ally Ismail Khan also witnessed relative calm.

Taliban Emirate against United Front

Role of the Pakistani military

The Taliban were largely founded by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 1994.[14][61][62][63][64][65][66][67] The ISI used the Taliban to establish a regime in Afghanistan which would be favorable to Pakistan, as they were trying to gain strategic depth.[37][68][69][70] Since the creation of the Taliban, the ISI and the Pakistani military have given financial, logistical and military support.[15][71][72][73]
According to Pakistani Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid, “between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis trained and fought in Afghanistan” on the side of the Taliban.[74]Peter Tomsen stated that up until 9/11 Pakistani military and ISI officers along with thousands of regular Pakistani armed forces personnel had been involved in the fighting in Afghanistan.[75]
In 2001 alone, according to several international sources, 28,000-30,000 Pakistani nationals, 14,000-15,000 Afghan Taliban and 2,000-3,000 Al Qaeda militants were fighting against anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan as a roughly 45,000 strong military force.[21][22][76][77] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf – then as Chief of Army Staff – was responsible for sending thousands of Pakistanis to fight alongside the Taliban and Bin Laden against the forces of Ahmad Shah Massoud.[22][58][78] Of the estimated 28,000 Pakistani nationals fighting in Afghanistan, 8,000 were militants recruited in madrassas filling regular Taliban ranks.[21] A 1998 document by the U.S. State Department confirms that “20–40 percent of [regular] Taliban soldiers are Pakistani.”[58] The document further states that the parents of those Pakistani nationals “know nothing regarding their child’s military involvement with the Taliban until their bodies are brought back to Pakistan.”[58]According to the U.S. State Department report and reports by Human Rights Watch, the other Pakistani nationals fighting in Afghanistan were regular Pakistani soldiers especially from theFrontier Corps but also from the army providing direct combat support.[17][58]
Human Rights Watch wrote in 2000:
Of all the foreign powers involved in efforts to sustain and manipulate the ongoing fighting [in Afghanistan], Pakistan is distinguished both by the sweep of its objectives and the scale of its efforts, which include soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban’s virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and … directly providing combat support.[17]
On August 1, 1997 the Taliban launched an attack on Sheberghan the main military base of Abdul Rashid Dostum. Dostum has said the reason the attack was successful was due to 1500 Pakistani commandos taking part and that the Pakistani air force also gave support.[79]
In 1998, Iran accused Pakistan of sending its air force to bomb Mazar-i-Sharif in support of Taliban forces and directly accused Pakistani troops for “war crimes at Bamiyan“. [80] The same year Russia said, Pakistan was responsible for the “military expansion” of the Taliban in northern Afghanistan by sending large numbers of Pakistani troops some of whom had subsequently been taken as prisoners by the anti-Taliban United Front.[81]
In 2000, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo against military support to the Taliban, with UN officials explicitly singling out Pakistan. The UN secretary-general implicitly criticized Pakistan for its military support and the Security Council stated it was “deeply distress[ed] over reports of involvement in the fighting, on the Taliban side, of thousands of non-Afghan nationals.”[82]In July 2001, several countries including the United States, accused Pakistan of being “in violation of U.N. sanctions because of its military aid to the Taliban.”[83] The Taliban also obtained financial resources from Pakistan. In 1997 alone, after the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, Pakistan gave $30 million in aid and a further $10 million for government wages.[84]
In 2000, British Intelligence reported that the ISI was taking an active role in several Al Qaeda training camps.[85] The ISI helped with the construction of training camps for both the Taliban and Al Qaeda.[85][86][87] From 1996 to 2001 the Al Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri became a state within the Taliban state.[88] Bin Laden sent Arab and Central Asian Al-Qaeda militants to join the fight against the United Front among them his Brigade 055.[88][89]
After the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan claimed to have ended its support to the Taliban.[90][91] But with the fall of Kabul to anti-Taliban forces in November 2001, ISI forces worked with and helped Taliban militias who were in full retreat.[92] In November 2001, Taliban, Al-Qaeda combatants and ISI operatives were safely evacuated from Kunduz on Pakistan Army cargo aircraft to Pakistan Air Force bases in Chitral and Gilgit in Pakistan’s Northern Areas in what has been dubbed the “Airlift of Evil”[93] Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf wrote in his memoirs that Richard Armitage, the former US deputy secretary of state, said Pakistan would be “bombed back to the stone-age” if it continued to support the Taliban,[94][95][96][97] although Armitage has since denied using the “stone age” phrase.[98]
The role of the Pakistani military has been described by international observers as well as by the anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud as a “creeping invasion”.[74] Yet the “creeping invasion” proved unable to defeat the severely outnumbered anti-Taliban forces.[74]
Pakistan has been accused of continuing to support the Taliban since 9/11, an allegation Pakistan denies.[19][20]

Anti-Taliban resistance under Massoud

Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostum, former enemies, created the United Front (Northern Alliance) against the Taliban that were preparing offensives against the remaining areas under the control of Massoud and those under the control of Dostum. The United Front included beside the dominantly Tajik forces of Massoud and the Uzbek forces of Dostum, Hazara troops led by Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq and Pashtun forces under the leadership of commanders such as Abdul Haq and Haji Abdul Qadir. Notable politicians and diplomats of the United Front includedAbdul Rahim GhafoorzaiAbdullah Abdullah and Masood Khalili. From the Taliban conquest of Kabul in September 1996 until November 2001 the United Front controlled roughly 30% of Afghanistan’s population in provinces such as BadakhshanKapisaTakhar and parts of ParwanKunarNuristanLaghmanSamanganKunduzGhōr and Bamyan.
After longstanding battles especially for the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Junbish forces were defeated by the Taliban and their allies in 1998. Dostum subsequently went into exile. Ahmad Shah Massoud remained the only major anti-Taliban leader inside Afghanistan who was able to defend vast parts of his territory against the Taliban.
In the areas under his control Massoud set up democratic institutions and signed the Women’s Rights Declaration.[99] In the area of Massoud, women and girls did not have to wear the Afghan burqa. They were allowed to work and to go to school. In at least two known instances, Massoud personally intervened against cases of forced marriage.[22]
It is our conviction and we believe that both men and women are created by the Almighty. Both have equal rights. Women can pursue an education, women can pursue a career, and women can play a role in society – just like men.[22]
—Ahmad Shah Massoud, 2001
Massoud is adamant that in Afghanistan women have suffered oppression for generations. He says that ‘the cultural environment of the country suffocates women. But the Taliban exacerbate this with oppression.’ His most ambitious project is to shatter this cultural prejudice and so give more space, freedom and equality to women – they would have the same rights as men.[22]
—Pepe Escobar, Massoud: From Warrior to Statesmann 1996, bin Laden moved to Afghanistan from Sudan. He came without invitation, and sometimes irritated Mullah Omar with his declaration of war and fatwas against citizens of third-party countries,[247] but relations between the two groups improved over time, to the point that Mullah Omar rebuffed his group’s patron Saudi Arabia, insulting Saudi minister Prince Turki while reneging on an earlier promise to turn bin Laden over to the Saudis.[248]
Bin Laden was able to forge an alliance between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The Al Qaeda-trained 055 Brigade integrated with the Taliban army between 1997 and 2001. Several hundred Arab Afghan fighters sent by bin Laden assisted the Taliban in the Mazar-e-Sharif slaughter.[249] The so-called Brigade 055 was also responsible for massacres against civilians in other parts of Afghanistan.[21] From 1996 to 2001 the organization of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri had become a virtual state within the Taliban state.
Taliban-Al-Qaeda connections were also strengthened by the reported marriage of one of bin Laden’s sons to Omar’s daughter. While in Afghanistan, bin Laden may have helped finance the Taliban.[250][251]
After the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, bin Laden and several Al-Qaeda members were indicted in U.S. criminal court.[252] The Taliban rejected extradition requests by the U.S., variously claiming that bin Laden had “gone missing”,[253] or that Washington “cannot provide any evidence or any proof” that bin Laden is involved in terrorist activities and that “without any evidence, bin Laden is a man without sin… he is a free man.”[254][255]
Evidence against bin Laden included courtroom testimony and satellite phone records.[256][257] Bin Laden in turn, praised the Taliban as the “only Islamic government” in existence, and lauded Mullah Omar for his destruction of idols such as the Buddhas of Bamyan.[258]
At the end of 2008, the Taliban was in talks to sever all ties with Al-Qaeda.[259]
In 2011, Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation claimed that the two groups did not get along at times before the September 11 attacks, and they have continued to fight since on account of their differences.[260]

Iran

Iran has historically been an enemy of the Taliban. In early August 1998, after attacking the city of Mazar, Taliban forces killed several thousand civilians and 10 Iranian diplomats and intelligence officers in the Iranian consulate. Alleged radio intercepts indicate Mullah Omar personally approved the killings.[261] In the following crisis between Iran and the Taliban, the Iranian government amassed up to 200,000 regular troops on the Afghan-Iranian border.[262] War was eventually averted.
Many U.S. senior military officials such as Robert Gates,[263] Stanley McChrystal,[264] David Petraeus[265] and others believe that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps nowadays is involved in helping the Taliban to a certain extent. Reports in which NATO states accused Iran of supplying and training some Taliban insurgents started coming forward since 2004/2005.
“We did interdict a shipment, without question the Revolutionary Guard‘s core Quds Force, through a known Taliban facilitator. Three of the individuals were killed… 48 122 millimetre rockets were intercepted with their various components… Iranians certainly view as making life more difficult for us if Afghanistan is unstable. We don’t have that kind of relationship with the Iranians. That’s why I am particularly troubled by the interception of weapons coming from Iran. But we know that it’s more than weapons; it’s money; it’s also according to some reports, training at Iranian camps as well.”[266]
General David Petraeus, Commander of US-NATO forces in Afghanistan, March 16, 2011

United States

The United States supported the Taliban through its allies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia between 1994 and 1996 because Washington viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia and pro-Western.[267] Washington furthermore hoped that the Taliban would support development planned by the U.S.-based oil company Unocal.[268] For example, it made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995, and expelled thousands of girls from schools;[269] the Taliban began killing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras), and restricting the rights of women.[175] In late 1997, American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright began to distance the U.S. from the Taliban. The next year, the American-based oil company Unocal withdrew from negotiations on pipeline construction from Central Asia.[270]
One day before the capture of Mazar, bin Laden affiliates bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa, killing 224 and wounding 4,500, mostly Africans. The U.S. responded by launching cruise missiles on suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan, killing over 20 though failing to kill bin Laden or even many Al-Qaeda. Mullah Omar condemned the missile attack and American President Bill Clinton.[271] Saudi Arabia expelled the Taliban envoy in protest over the refusal to turn over bin Laden, and after Mullah Omar allegedly insulted the Saudi royal family.[272] In mid-October the U.N.Security Council voted unanimously to ban commercial aircraft flights to and from Afghanistan, and freeze its bank accounts worldwide.[273]
Adjusting its counterinsurgency strategy, in October 2009, the U.S announced plans to pay Taliban fighters to switch sides.[274]
On November 26, 2009, in an interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, President Hamid Karzai said there is an “urgent need” for negotiations with the Taliban, and made it clear that the Obama administration had opposed such talks. There was no formal American response.[275][276]
In early December 2009, the Taliban offered to give the U.S. “legal guarantees” that they would not allow Afghanistan to be used for attacks on other countries. There was no formal American response.[146]
On December 6, U.S officials indicated that they have not ruled out talks with the Taliban.[277] Several days later it was reported that Gates saw potential for reconciliation with the Taliban, but not with Al-Qaeda. Furthermore, he said that reconciliation would politically end the insurgency and the war. But he said reconciliation must be on the Afghan government’s terms, and that the Taliban must be subject to the sovereignty of the government.[278]
In 2010, General McChrystal said his troop surge could lead to a negotiated peace with the Taliban.[279]
Allegations of connection to CIA There have been many claims that the CIA directly supported the Taliban or al-Qaeda. In the early 1980s, the CIA and the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency) provided arms and money, and the ISI helped gather radical Muslims from around the world to fight against the Soviet invaders.[280] Osama Bin Laden was one of the key players in organizing training camps for the foreign Muslim volunteers. “By 1987, 65,000 tons of U.S.-made weapons and ammunition a year were entering the war.”

United Kingdom

After 9/11, the United Kingdom froze the Taliban’s assets in the U.K., nearly $200 million by early October 2001.[281] The U.K. also supported the U.S. decision to remove the Taliban, both politically and militarily.[282]
The UN agreed that NATO would act on its behalf, focusing on counter-terrorist operations in Afghanistan after the Taliban had been “defeated”. The United Kingdom took operational responsibility for Helmand Province, a major poppy-growing province in southern Afghanistan, deploying troops there in the summer of 2006, and encountered resistance by re-formed Taliban forces allegedly entering Afghanistan from Pakistan. The Taliban turned towards the use of improvised explosive devices.[283]
In 2008, the U.K. announced plans to pay Taliban fighters to switch sides or lay down arms;[284] later, in 2009 the United Kingdom government backed talks with the Taliban.[285]

India

India is one of the Taliban’s most outspoken critics. India was concerned about growing Islamic militancy in its neighborhood, and refused to recognize the Taliban regime.[286] Ahmad Shah Massoud also had close ties to India.[287]
In December 1999, Indian Airlines Flight 814 en route from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked and taken to Kandahar. The Taliban moved its militias near the hijacked aircraft, supposedly to prevent Indian special forces from storming the aircraft, and stalled the negotiations between India and the hijackers for days. The New York Times later reported that there were credible links between the hijackers and the Taliban.[288] As a part of the deal to free the plane, India released three militants. The Taliban gave a safe passage to the hijackers and the released militants.[289]
Following the hijacking, India drastically increased its efforts to help Massoud, providing an arms depot in DushanbeTajikistan.[290] India also provided a wide range of high-altitude warfare equipment, helicopter technicians, medical services, and tactical advice.[291] According to one report, Indian military support to anti-Taliban forces totaled US$70 million, including five Mil Mi-17helicopters, and US$8 million worth of high-altitude equipment in 2001.[292] India extensively supported the new administration in Afghanistan,[293] leading several reconstruction projects[294] and by 2001 had emerged as the country’s largest regional donor.[295]
In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in India, there have been growing concerns about fundamentalist organisations such as the Taliban seeking to expand their activities into India. During the2011 ICC Cricket World Cup which was co-hosted in India, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Interpol chief Ronald Noble revealed that a terrorist bid to disrupt the tournament had been foiled; following a conference with Noble, Malik said that the Taliban had begun to base their activities in India with reports from neighboring countries exposing their activities in the country and a Sri Lankan terrorist planning to target cricketers was arrested in Colombo.[296][297][298] Kashmir-based militant groups thought to have ties with the Taliban have historically been involved in theJammu and Kashmir insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir.[299] In 2009, the Times of India called for India to reassess its Taliban threat.[300]

United Nations and NGOs

A major issue during the Taliban’s reign was its relations with the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Twenty years of continuous warfare had devastated Afghanistan’s infrastructure and economy. There was no running water, little electricity, few telephones, functioning roads or regular energy supplies. Basic necessities like water, food, housing and others were in desperately short supply. In addition, the clan and family structure that provided Afghans with a social/economic safety net was also badly damaged.[184][301] Afghanistan’s infant mortality was the highest in the world. A full quarter of all children died before they reached their fifth birthday, a rate several times higher than most other developing countries.[302]
International charitable and/or development organisations (NGOs) were extremely important to the supply of food, employment, reconstruction, and other services. With one million plus deaths during the years of war, the number of families headed by widows had reached 98,000 by 1998.[303] Thus Taliban restrictions on women were sometime a matter not only of human rights, but of life and death. In Kabul, where vast portions of the city had been devastated from rocket attacks, more than half of its 1.2 million people benefited in some way from NGO activities, even for water to drink.[304] The civil war and its never-ending refugee stream continued throughout the Taliban’s reign. The Mazar, Herat, and Shomali valley offensives displaced more than three-quarters of a million civilians, using “scorched earth” tactics to prevent them from supplying the enemy with aid.[305]
Despite the aid, the Taliban’s attitude toward the UN and NGOs was often one of suspicion, in place of gratitude or even tolerance. The UN operates on the basis of international law, not Sharia, and the UN did not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Additionally, most foreign donors and aid workers, were non-Muslims. As the Taliban’s Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:
Let us state what sort of education the UN wants. This is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women which would lead to adultery and herald the destruction of Islam. In any Islamic country where adultery becomes common, that country is destroyed and enters the domination of the infidels because their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anyone who talks to us should do so within Islam’s framework. The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people’s requirements, people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran.[306]
Taliban decision-makers, particularly Mullah Omar, seldom if ever talked directly to non-Muslim foreigners, so aid providers had to deal with intermediaries whose approvals and agreements were often reversed.[200] Around September 1997 the heads of three UN agencies in Kandahar were expelled from the country after protesting when a female attorney for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was forced to talk from behind a curtain so her face would not be visible.[307]
When the UN increased the number of Muslim women staff to satisfy Taliban demands, the Taliban then required all female Muslim UN staff traveling to Afghanistan to be chaperoned by amahram or a blood relative.[308] In July 1998, the Taliban closed “all NGO offices” by force after those organizations refused to move to a bombed-out former Polytechnic College as ordered.[309]One month later the UN offices were also shut down.[310] As food prices rose and conditions deteriorated, Planning Minister Qari Din Mohammed explained the Taliban’s indifference to the loss of humanitarian aid:
We Muslims believe God the Almighty will feed everybody one way or another. If the foreign NGOs leave then it is their decision. We have not expelled them.[311]
In 2009 a top U.N official called for talks with Taliban leaders.[312] In 2010 the U.N lifted sanctions on the Taliban,[313] and requested that Taliban leaders and others be removed from terrorism watch lists.[314] In 2010 the U.S. and Europe announced support for President Karzai’s latest attempt to negotiate peace with the Taliban.[315]
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