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article imageDid you know that there are two different Taliban groups?

By SarahJones     Apr 1, 2013 in World
There are two Taliban groups with two different objectives operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mainstream media has oversimplified the situation by referring to both groups as Taliban. So what are the differences and similarities between them?
Did you know that there are two different Taliban groups?
The biggest difference between the Afghani Taliban and Pakistani Taliban is that the Afghani Taliban is a national movement whereas the Pakistani Taliban has global ambitions.
The similarities between these groups can create room for confusion.
The biggest similarity between the Afghani Taliban and Pakistani Taliban is both resort to terrorism and violence as a means to their ends.
Secondly the Afghan Taliban has cooperated with various entities as an "armed group for hire" under the premise that working for the entities will help the Afghani Taliban regain control of their country, one of those organizations being the Pakistani Taliban.
Also the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the rural tribal areas of Afghanistan are fluid and the Pakistani Taliban operates heavily in this area.
Most of the time mainstream media fails to make a distinction about which Taliban it is referencing in a report and most people will say they never even knew there were two!
Bottom line is - it does make a difference which Taliban is being reported on in a story because even thought the tactics are the same the objectives of these two groups differ greatly.
Afghan Taliban
Founded: Early 1990s but gained strength in late 1994/early 1995 when it seized most of southern and western Afghanistan, including Kandahar and Herat.
Underlying Cause:
The various foreign approaches to ending the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had "devestating effects" according to the UN. Afghanistan became what the UN called the "world's worst refugee crisis" as millions fleed from the fight for power between various factions that evolved after the Soviet withdrawl: "by 1990 there were 6.3 million civilians in exile -3.3 million in Pakistan and 3 million in Iran."
Immediate Cause:
In 1992 an Afghan government was forming encouraging over 1.2 million Afghani refugees that it was finally ok to leave Pakistan and return home according to the UN.
Who were the original members? The Taliban were mostly the Mujaheddin's orphaned children who had been raised in refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran and these young males grew up opposed to the corruption of their fathers according to the United Nations (UN).
Type of Movement: National Politically Rooted Religious & Cultural Movement that employs terrorist tactics
This is the only confirmed photo of Mohammed Omar
This is the only confirmed photo of Mohammed Omar
Wikipedia File
Leader: Mullah Omar, listed as Mohammed Omar (TI.O.4.01on the 1988 Sanctions List), aka "Amir Al-Mu'Minin" meaning the "commander of the faithful"
Who is Mullah Omar? Very little is known about Mullah Omar except that he is rarely seen in public and definitely not from the elite in Afghanistan. It is believed that he is from the Hotak tribe in Kandahar province, and from a lower class family that had no political ties. He initially gained respect locally for his religious piety which is also heavily influenced by his experiences in a tribal society. He is also believed to have been a small time commander in the Afghan resistance who formed the Taliban with others in response to the immoral conduct of their local leaders.
Mission: To rule Afghanistan and impose the groups interpretation of Islamic law which includes influences of Deobandi fundamentalism and Pashtunwali culture
Means: Terrorism and cooperating with terrorist organizations in order to harbor fear and gain control/power. The opium trade helps fund it activities. It also receives funding, weapons, medical help etc from various investors in major global terrorist organizations that the Afghan Taliban is allied with at that time (including the Pakistani Taliban or Al-Qaeda). It is in Pakistan's interest to preserve the Afghan Taliban in order to prevent Indian's infuence in Afghanistan.
PakistanI Taliban or Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
Founded: officially organized in 2007 but the name and idea dates back to 1998
Underlying Cause: It's impossible to know for sure the underlying cause of the TTP, but it could possibly be wanting the Afghan Taliban to remain in control of Afghanistan out of fear of an increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan. Ironically Pakistan's political rhetoric and nationalistic propaganda appears to be rooted in anti-Indian sentiment but bilateral trade figures from the last two years suggest increased cooperation between the countries is economically beneficial to both India and Pakistan.
The Fighting is in Mountainous Terrain Like This
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan are in mountains similar to this one in Afghanistan, where ISAF are operational. This photo was taken by a NATO officer near Sasan.
Péter Lippai
Immediate Cause:
The TTP was against Pakistani military fighting alongside the US and NATO by launching operations against Al-Qaida & Al-Qaida related militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA),
Who were the original members? Dozens of formerly disparate militant groups especially those located in South Waziristan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Afghanistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In 2007 these groups formally joined forces creating the largest Pakistani based militia alliance.
Type of Movement:
Politically Rooted Religious & Cultural Movement that employs terrorist tactics and reportedly maintains close ties to senior al-Qa'ida leaders, especially al-Qa'ida's former head of operations in Pakistan. Many experts say these close ties are not simply rooted in a temporary symbiotic relationship but rather a shared ideology of attacking America and American Allies nationally and internationally
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud
Pakistan's top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, right, talks to journalists in the Pakistani tribal area near the Afghan border.
still photo grabbed from video
Baitullah Mahsud, who was killed in 2009 was the founding TTP leader. A change in leadership is expected this year, Hakimullah Mahsud, who was elected in 2009, according to Pakistan military officials is likely to be replaced by Wali ur Rehman according to a publication posted on the UN Human Rights Committee Website.
Mission: According to the UN the "TTP’s stated objective is the overthrow of the elected government of Pakistan in order to establish an emirate based on its interpretation of Islamic law,"which includes influences of Deobandi fundamentalism and Pashtunwali culture. According to a former Pakistani official and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government fellow Hassan Abbas in his profile of the TTP, the group also wants to unite against NATO forces in Afghanistan, stop military operations in the Swat District and North Waziristan, abolish all military checkpoints in FATA, Demand the release of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) Imam Abdul Aziz.
Violence, terrorism, cooperating with Al-Qaeda. There are reported allegations of cooperation or infiltration into Pakistani Intelligence (ISI).
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