طالبان (Pashto)
Participant in
Flag of the Taliban
Flag of the Taliban
Group(s)Primarily Pashtuns;[9][10] Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmens[11]
Area of operationsTaliban insurgency in Afghanistan (2015–present).svg
  Under control of the Afghan Government, NATO, and Allies
  Under control of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Allies
  Under control of the Islamic State (ISIL) and Allies
  • 45,000 (2001 est.)[16]
  • 11,000 (2008 est.)[17]
  • 36,000 (2010 est.)[18]
  • 60,000 (2014 est.)[19]
Originated asStudents of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
AlliesState allies

Non-state allies

Opponent(s)State opponentsNon-state opponents
Battles and war(s)

The Taliban (Pashto: طالبانṭālibān "students") or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA),[34] are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country.[35][36] Since 2016, the Taliban's leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.[37]

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[38] and largely consisted of students (talib) from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools, and fought during the Soviet–Afghan War.[39][40][41][42] 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 was 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: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The group later regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led 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 women.[43][44] 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.[45][46][47][48][49][50] 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.[51][52][53][54][55][56] Taliban has also engaged in cultural genocide, destroying numerous monuments including the famous 1500-year old Buddhas of Bamiyan.[57][58][59][60]

The Taliban's ideology has been described as combining an "innovative" form of sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism[61] and the militant Islamism and Salafi jihadism of Osama bin Laden[61] with Pashtun social and cultural norms known as Pashtunwali,[9][10][62][page needed][63] as most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen.

The Pakistani 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.[64][65][66][67][68][69] In 2001, reportedly 2,500 Arabs under command of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden fought for the Taliban.[70]


The word Taliban is Pashto, طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loanword from Arabic طالب ṭālib, using the Persian plural ending -ān ان. In Arabic طالبان ṭālibān means not "students" but "two students", as it is a dual form, the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb—occasionally causing some confusion to Arabic speakers. 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 be predominant over Taleban in English.[71][72]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Taliban
العربية: طالبان
asturianu: Talibán
azərbaycanca: Taliban
বাংলা: তালিবান
Bân-lâm-gú: Taliban
беларуская: Талібан
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Талібан
Bikol Central: Taliban
български: Талибани
català: Talibà
Cebuano: Taliban
čeština: Tálibán
Cymraeg: Y Taleban
dansk: Taliban
Deutsch: Taliban
eesti: Ţālebān
Ελληνικά: Ταλιμπάν
español: Talibán
Esperanto: Talibano
euskara: Taliban
فارسی: طالبان
føroyskt: Taliban
français: Taliban
Gaeilge: An Talaban
galego: Talibán
ગુજરાતી: તાલિબાન
한국어: 탈레반
hrvatski: Talibani
Bahasa Indonesia: Taliban
interlingua: Taliban
íslenska: Talíbanar
italiano: Talebani
עברית: טליבאן
ქართული: თალიბანი
қазақша: Талибан
kurdî: Taliban
Latina: Taliban
latviešu: Taliban
lietuvių: Talibanas
Limburgs: Taliban
magyar: Tálibok
македонски: Талибанци
മലയാളം: താലിബാൻ
मराठी: तालिबान
Bahasa Melayu: Taliban
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Taliban
монгол: Талибан
Nederlands: Taliban
norsk: Taliban
norsk nynorsk: Taliban
occitan: Taliban
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਤਾਲਿਬਾਨ
پنجابی: طالبان
پښتو: طالبان
polski: Talibowie
português: Talibã
română: Taliban
русский: Талибан
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱛᱟᱞᱤᱵᱟᱱ
Scots: Taliban
sicilianu: Talibbani
Simple English: Taliban
slovenčina: Tálibán
Soomaaliga: Daliban
کوردی: تاڵیبان
српски / srpski: Талибан
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Talibani
suomi: Taliban
svenska: Taliban
Tagalog: Taliban
தமிழ்: தாலிபான்
తెలుగు: తాలిబాన్
Türkçe: Taliban
українська: Талібан
Tiếng Việt: Taliban
文言: 塔利班
ייִדיש: טאליבאן
Yorùbá: Taliban
粵語: 塔利班
Zazaki: Taliban
中文: 塔利班