|Participant in the
War in Afghanistan and
War on Terror
Flag of the Taliban
Mohammed Omar (Founder, 1994–2013)
Mullah Akhtar Mansour (2015–2016)
Hibatullah Akhundzada (current leader, 2016–present)
Mullah Muhammad Rasul (splinter faction, 2015–present)
|Area of operations
||45,000 (2001 est.)
11,000 (2008 est.)
36,000 (2010 est.)
60,000 (2014 est.)
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
|Battles and wars
Afghan Civil War (1992–96)
Afghan Civil War (1996–2001)
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The Taliban (
Pashto: طالبان ṭālibān "students"), alternatively spelled Taleban, which refers to itself as the
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA),
 have been described as a movement of religious students (talib) from the
Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in
traditional Islamic schools in Pakistan,
 and as a
Islamic fundamentalist political movement in
Afghanistan currently waging
jihad) within that country.
 Since 2016, the Taliban's leader is Mawlawi
From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban
held power over roughly three quarters of Afghanistan, and enforced there a strict interpretation of
Sharia, or Islamic law. The Taliban emerged in 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the
Afghan Civil War,
 and largely consisted of students recently trained in
madrassas in Pakistan.
 Under the leadership of
Mohammed Omar, the movement spread throughout most of Afghanistan, sequestering power from the
Mujahideen warlords. The
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was established in 1996 and the Afghan capital transferred to
Kandahar. It held control of most of the country until being overthrown after the American-led
invasion of Afghanistan in December 2001 following the
September 11 attacks. At its peak, formal
diplomatic recognition of the Taliban's government was acknowledged by only three nations:
Saudi Arabia, and the
United Arab Emirates. The group later regrouped as
an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed
Karzai administration and the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the
War in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have been condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic
Sharia law, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans, especially
 During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a policy of
scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes.
 According to the
United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 76% of Afghan
civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011, and 80% in 2012.
The Taliban's ideology has been described as combining an "innovative form" of
sharia Islamic law based on
 and the
militant Islamism and
Salafi jihadism of
Osama bin Laden
Pashtun social and cultural norms known as
 as most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen.
Inter-Services Intelligence and
military are widely alleged by the international community and the Afghan government to have provided support to the Taliban during their founding and time in power, and of continuing to support the Taliban during the insurgency.
Pakistan states that it dropped all support for the group after the
September 11 attacks.
 In 2001, reportedly 2,500
Arabs under command of
Osama bin Laden fought for the Taliban.