CHAPTER
 
Taliban
in Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, ed, Encyclopedia of Religion and War (New York: Berkshire/Routledge, 2003), pp 421-23
The Taliban are an extremist Islamic movement that formed in October 1994 in Kandahar province in southeastern Afghanistan. The Taliban captured Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, in September 1996 and governed most of the country until they were overthrown by US forces by the end of 2001. The Taliban ruled Afghanistan according to a strict version of shari'a that had no parallel in earlier Islamic history. The Taliban may have fallen in Afghanistan, but the domestic and regional fallout from their extremist legacy is far from over. The rise of Taliban in Afghanistan had a spillover impact on all the Muslim nations bordering Afghanistan, particularly Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It fuelled Islamic extremism in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and led to what is called the "Talibanization of Pakistan". Owing to their pan-Islamic outlook, the Taliban did not recognize international borders. Consequently, from Chechnya in Russia to Kashmir in India, the Taliban made their militant-and terrorist presence felt for the respective state authorities. The Taliban's practice of shari'a was so cruel in humanitarian terms and so out of keeping with the spirit of the modern age that their demise has led to a renewed debate in the Muslim world on how Islam can coexist productively with modernity. For many in the Western world as well, the Taliban's success in Afghanistan led to renewed questions about Islam's compatibility with democracy and modernity. While the remnants of the Taliban continue to endanger peace and security in Afghanistan, the Afghani people may now look forward to a future free from the horrors of the Taliban era. Full Text