The Taliban Army Asia Times

by Nathan Hamm on 8/26/2003

The Taliban Army
Asia Times has an interesting story on how the Taliban builds its army along the Af-Pak border.

A local doctor had this to say about how the Taliban transformed Islamic education in the area:

‘Before the Taliban emerged there used to be a few Islamic
seminaries, and they were unable to meet their day-to-day expenditures.
The mullahs used to send the students from door to door to collect
meals twice a day for both the mullahs and the students.
‘But after the emergence of Taliban the situation changed upside down.
The Taliban heavily influenced the politics of the area, and the people
were influenced by their Islamic ideologies. As a result, donations
were showered on the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam, [a Pakistani organization
ideologically associated with the Taliban movement], which then
established a network of Islamic schools and which had huge funds to
operate them. Now, some times in a single village, there are two
Islamic seminaries, and I think the total number in Chaman and the
villages around it comes to 200, with at least 50 students in each
The doctor adds, ‘This is the real fuel for the Taliban [resistance]
movement in Afghanistan, and for the only fighters for the Taliban.’

The story continues with:

The Taliban and their supporting parties in Pakistan have
invested everything in this region. At the time that the Taliban faced
the crunch in Afghanistan (driven out of power in late 2001 and on the
run thereafter) their madrassas around Chaman remained well guarded
against ideological impurity and outside influences. This investment
has paid off, as now the seminaries that dot both sides of the border
provide the best fodder for the resistance movement.

This change from city-based madrassahs in the early 80s to the rural
ones in Baluchistan has put the Taliban and its recruitment centers
well beyond the reach of either the Pakistani or Afghan governments.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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