A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD - Taliban - 2012



The Taliban (“students” in Pashto) formed in 1994, amidst the Afghan civil war which broke out following the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989.[1] Its members were mainly Pashtun Afghans educated in madrasas (Islamic religious schools) throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan with a Deobandi interpretation of Sunni Islam.[2]  Taliban ideology purports a strict adherence to sharia law with strict punishments, including amputations and public executions for those who refuse to comply.[3] The group first gained international notoriety after taking control of Kandahar in 1994.[4] Two years later, they gained control of Kabul; assassinated the former president, Mohammad Najibullah; and effectively took control of the country.[5]  The Taliban established a new government, declaring it the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and brought widespread order through the implementation of sharia law.[6]
While the international community supported the newfound peace, the Taliban was criticized for its extreme interpretation of sharia law.[7] In 1996, when Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, the Taliban gave him and his followers sanctuary under the condition that his group did not perpetrate attacks against the United States.[8] Bin Laden later broke this agreement when al-Qa’ida orchestrated the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.[9] These acts of violence led the United Nations to enact sanctions against the Taliban in 1999, demanding the surrender of Osama bin Laden, which the Taliban refused.[10] In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the United States led an international invasion in Afghanistan to apprehend bin Laden and drive out the Taliban.[11] Some Taliban members rejoined society while the majority of the leadership, including top leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, fled across the border to Pakistan.[12]
The remnants of the Taliban formed the Quetta Shura, a governing council subordinate to Mohammed Omar, to oversee and plan future operations.[13] The Pakistani government made an attempt to negotiate with tribal leaders in 2004 to eradicate the Taliban, offering monetary compensation if they would give up the Taliban hiding in their territories, but the negotiations proved futile.[14] The notable increase in Taliban activity, especially suicide attacks, in 2005 elevated violence to levels not seen since the initial invasion in 2001.[15] Since then, the group has remained active throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, carrying out operations against Afghan and coalition forces through armed attacks and bombings. View full narrative

Quick Facts for 2012


7396 (Total of 1998 through 2012)



Territorial Control:
Controls Territory (1)

Funding through Drug Trafficking:

Sorry, but there are no organizational details available for this group at this time.


Primary Ideology

  • Ag = Anti-Globalization
  • An = Anarchist
  • En = Ethnic
  • Ev = Environmental
  • Le = Leftist
  • Re = Religious
  • Ri = Rightist
  • Se = Separatist
  • Su = Supremacist
  • Vi = Vigilante


  •  Ally
  •  Suspected Ally
  •  Rival
  •  Violence
  •  Mixed Relations


  •  Blue 0 - 1479 fatalities
  •  Green 1479 - 2958 fatalities
  •  Yellow 2958 - 4437 fatalities
  •  Orange 4437 - 5916 fatalities
  •  Red 5916 - 7396 fatalities

Lethality is calculated as the total number of fatalities from 1998-2012.


Icon sizes depict approximate relative sizes of the organizations.

  • Smallest 0 - 10 members
  •   11 - 100 members
  •   101 - 1000 members
  •   1001 - 10000 members
  • Largest > 10000 members

Other Notes

Icons with no color coding or ideology icon have no detailed data at this time, and are provided as relationship information only.