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The Taliban ("the Seekers" or "Students") was formed in September of 1994 in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar by a group of graduates of Pakistani Islamic colleges (madrassas) on the border with Afghanistan, run by the fundamentalist Jamiat-e-Ulema. The members of the Taleban Islamic Movement of Afghanistan (TIMA) are mostly Pashtuns from Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan and are led by a mullah (a village-level religious leader), Mohammad Omar. The Taleban advocated an 'Islamic Revolution' in Afghanistan, proclaiming that the unity of Afghanistan should be re-established in the framework of Sharia (Islamic law) and without the mujahedin. Their fighting ranks were mostly filled with former veterans of the war against Soviet forces.

Despite their efforts at myth making, the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan had little to do with the grace of Allah as they claimed. From its inception, the movement appeared to rely on the financial backing of an unholy alliance of drug smugglers, traders, and trucking groups.

As of February 2010, mullah Omar, Mullah Sarajedin, and Mullah Abdulghaim (aka Berader) split the Taliban organization in Quetta, Pakistan into three separate factions with Mullah Abdulghaim in Karachi, Pakistan, Mullah Sarajedin in Miranshah, Pakistan, and Mullah Omar remained in Quetta, Pakistan.. Of the Taliban in Quetta, Mullah Omar, Mullah Sarajedin, son of Mullah Jalaladin Haqqani, and member of Hezb-e Islami Khalis, and Mullah Abdulghaim, also known as Mullah Radfr, ran the Taliban organization from Quetta, Pakistan. In early February 2010, Mullah Berader and Mullah Sarajedin decided to stop fighting under the banner of Mullah Omar and physically moved their taliban offices from quetta, pakistan. this decision was reached because mullah omar had a larger share of support from pakistan and other various unidentified arab countries. mullah berader and mullah sarajedin believed they should be entitled to more support in order to conduct unidentified operations. mullah berader moved his taliban offices to karachi, pakistan and mullah sarajedin relocated his ffi e to miranshah located on the afghanistan/pakistan border. name as rendered on the tazkira, the official afghan identity card, is rarely known, and may never be relevant for identification purposes. the names above are as source knows the individuals cited to be commonly known, and may not correlate to the individual's tazkira name. all translations and names were acquired through an interpreter and spelled phonetically. official titles and names are subject to variation. In late September 2010, the Taliban Quetta Shura was held. The Shura was attended by Gul Agha, who brought messages from Mullah 0mar. Also in attendance were Haji mullah Mohammed Rahim, the Taliban governor in Helmand province, Afghanistan; Mohibullah Akhundzada, the Taliban governor of Kandahar province, Afghanistan; Mullah Abdul Qaheer, the Taliban governor of Uruzgan province, Afghanistan; Mullah Razaq, the Taliban governor of Zabul province, Afghanistan; and Mullah Naqibullah, the Taliban commander from the Khakrez district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Mullah Omar established a new 10-member council. The purpose of the council was to act as a consulate for Mullah Omar, and to consider any messages Mullah Omar passed to the Shura.

By 2012 the Afghan insurgency was composed of a syndicate of semi-autonomous groups, including the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin. The insurgency is also supported by various transnational terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, as well as Pakistan-based militant groups such as Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan and the Commander Nazir Group. The primary actor within the insurgency is the Taliban, led by the Senior Shura [“Council”, a term with religious connotation] in Quetta, Pakistan, and the spiritual leader Mullah Omar. Overall, these groups maintain functional and symbolic relationships in pursuit of overlapping interests.

Amid major setbacks and the loss of several senior leaders in Pakistan resulting from aggressive US counterterrorism efforts, al Qaeda’s involvement in the Afghanistan insurgency was constrained. As al Qaeda has been degraded, it has become reliant on a shrinking cadre of experienced leaders primarily inside a Haqqani-facilitated safe haven in North Waziristan. Al Qaeda continues to seek safe haven in Afghanistan, and has a small presence in Kunar and Nuristan Provinces. The terrorist group continues to derive some benefits from its engagement in Afghanistan, including exploitation of incidents for propaganda, personnel recruitment, and tribal connections that it could use to re-establish future safe havens. Al Qaeda views continued involvement in Afghanistan as integral to its global image and relevance.

Although the specific area of operations for each group associated with the insurgency varies, the insurgency generally tends to operate along the border with Pakistan, primarily in the Pashtun-majority areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan, as well as in Pashtun communities in northern Afghanistan. The majority of insurgent commanders and fighters operate in or near their home districts, and low-level fighters are often well integrated into the local population. Out-of-area fighters comprise a relatively small portion of the insurgency.

Taliban senior leaders remained capable of providing strategic guidance to the broader insurgency and channeling resources to support operational priorities. Pakistan-based senior leaders exercise varying degrees of command and control over the generally decentralized and locally-based Afghan insurgency. Within Afghanistan, insurgent leadership structures vary by province. In general, a two-man team composed of a shadow governor and a military commander lead governance efforts and military operations at the provincial level, and also oversee district-level insurgent leadership and lower-level military commanders. Most shadow governors still reside in Pakistan.

To recruit, influence, and intimidate the Afghan populace, the insurgency uses a simple but effective messaging strategy. Capitalizing on the lack of basic services and government assistance at the village level, the insurgency encourages farmers to plant poppies as a means of closing the resource gap experienced by most rural Afghans. The insurgency also cultivates and exploits popular perceptions of the Afghan Government as corrupt, unresponsive, and uninterested in the plight of rural Afghans in order to recruit local Afghans to join the insurgency or to turn to shadow governments and courts to resolve issues.

The insurgency is funded from a variety of external sources, including Persian Gulf-based donors, state and non-state actors in Pakistan and Iran, and various transnational and criminal enterprises, but remains dependent on poppy cultivation and the narcotics trade as its primary source of revenue. Insurgents suspend operational efforts to provide labor for the poppy harvest, which typically begins in April and continues to June, as revenue from the poppy harvest is critical to insurgent operations throughout the year.

The insurgency also continued to receive critical support from neighboring Pakistan in the form of sanctuary, training infrastructure, and at times, financial and operational support. Pakistani sanctuaries bolster the efficacy of the insurgency – especially in areas where insurgents have access to direct or indirect Pakistani logistical and training support – and remain the most critical threat to the ISAF campaign in Afghanistan. The insurgency also receives materiel support from Iran, although to a lesser degree than from Pakistan.

Near-term insurgent operations were expected to focus on regaining control of safe havens and expanding influence over population centers in Helmand and Kandahar. Southern Afghanistan remains vital to the insurgency for its historical significance to the Taliban movement and its importance to the insurgency’s narcotics-related revenues. Kabul will remain a persistent target for high-profile attacks and assassinations in the Taliban’s effort to undermine public support for the Afghan Government and security forces. Additionally, the insurgency will likely continue to target the ANSF and local defense initiatives, including the Afghan Local Police (ALP) program. In the long term, despite initial overtures toward political cooperation with the Afghan Government and the international community, the Taliban retains its goal of overthrowing the elected Afghan Government following the withdrawal of international forces.

Although US and NATO officials have traditionally been tight-lipped about the guerrilla’s numerical strength, a defense attaché from a country with troops in Afghanistan said in 2014 that intelligence estimates put the number of active fighters and auxiliaries at about 30,000 — about the same as before the 2009 surge.

There were reportss in 2014 that Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had possibly died amid reports that the group has divided into three different parts. The Afghan Intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) said 19 November 2014 that Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor had initiated appointment of his friends as group’s top figures. Hasib Sediqi, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security (NDS) told reporters that senior Taliban figures have divided into three groups had major differences among them.

While the Quetta Shura — the Pakistan-based leadership under Mullah Omar — was considered the Taliban’s central decision-making body, the group is so splintered that it’s unclear how much command and control any one faction has.

The Taliban, under the heading the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, continue to speak as the rulers of the entire country who will not compromise that dominance, in a recent statement declared they have inflicted "ignominious defeat" on the United States.

On 30 July 2015 the Taliban formally confirmed the death of the group's founder, Mullah Omar. on 30 July 2015 Afghan government officials said Wednesday that reclusive Taliban chief Mullah Omar was dead, and that he died more than two years earlier in Pakistan.

On July 31, 2015 the Afghan Taliban announced that its 'shura' or supreme council had chosen Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the new chief of the Afghan insurgent group a day after confirming reports of the death of its founder, Mullah Omar. The new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor served as deputy to Mullah Omar and was the head of the Taliban's political and military affairs. The announcement also said that Maulvi Haibatullah Akundzada and Maulvi Sirajuddin Haqqani had been appointed as deputies to Mansoor.

Sirajuddin Haqqani has long headed the so-called Haqqani network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban and based in North Waziristan, one of Pakistan’s tribal regions along the Afghan border. The network has been blamed for many of the deadliest attacks against coalition forces and the Afghan government during the war. Taliban sources identified Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzada as the former head of courts during the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan before 2001.

Taliban commander Mullah Mansour is not to be confused with Mullah Bakht Mohammad (alias Mullah Mansour Dadullah), a popular military commander. Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, a logistics expert, was head of the Taliban’s senior shura council and a reputed pragmatist. Other senior pragmatists included Shahabuddin Delawar and Noorudin Turabi, who was released by Pakistan in December 2012. Some experts believed that these figures blame their past association with Al Qaeda for their loss of power. The pragmatists faced debate from younger and reputedly hardline, anti-compromise leaders who believed outright Taliban victory was possible. Some factions favor Mullah Yaqoub, the eldest son of Mullah Omar.

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