3 things you didn’t know about the Afghan civil war 1992-1998.

Conflict in Afghanistan has been covered in great detail. Going back to the British Imperial wars in the nineteenth century to modern-day Afghanistan struggling to reach peace with the Taliban, the country is aching for the wars to end. This article will highlight three interesting facts about the period between Soviet back President Najibullah’s ousting in 1992 and the Taliban winning power in 1996 after a series of internal conflicts between different factions looking for power.

Taliban were originally disgusted by the “ill treatment” of women from other warlords as they believed it to be unjust and un-islamic.

Something which is not normally associated with the movement is the protection of women and children. According to reports, when two teenage girls were kidnapped by commanding warlords in 1994 in a village called Singesar near Kandahar, this did not sit well with the Taliban head – Mullah Omar. Both girls were continuously raped and brutalised and the girls had their heads shaved and taken hostage in a military post.

With the shock of the story told, Mullah Omar commander and chief sent a group of Talibs to free to girls of their nightmare. The guilty commanders were hung and from an army tank by the Taliban as they were out to seek “Muslims who had gone wrong.” Mullah Omar stated “How could we remain quiet when we could crimes being committed against women and the poor”?

The Taliban and its leader Mullah Omar were seen as a type of ‘Robin Hood’ figure in Kandahar in the early years of their progression. He sought no reward for his actions of cleansing the province from the beneficiaries – although Taliban would later carry out many atrocities and discriminate against women and minority groups.

SHia Muslims were massacred by Taliban and visa versa.

In 1997 many Shia muslims from the Hazara tribe were massacred by Taliban as the islamic radicals made there to the North to try and take the region.

Unprepared and unaware of the new surroundings Taliban suffered severe losses and retreated to nearby Kunduz. On the way back from Mazir-E-Sharif after being decimated in their attempts to take the north of Afghanistan, perhaps hundreds of Shia Hazara were killed along the way. The victims were killed in many brutal ways. Some were skinned alive. Others throats were cut. The was shocking to locals as many Afghans who could not see how this was Islamic in any way.

Iranian support of the Hazara became more steady as the war progressed as a natural ally with Shia Iran. The Taliban were Sunni and supported by mainly Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In another offensive in 1998 Taliban attempted to take the North again with more support from its backers. Genocidal killings took place as Talibs sought revenge for the previous years losses in the North. Mullah Omar gave his field commanders the go-ahead to kill Shia’s for two hours and hundreds of Hazara died.

Others Hazara were jailed. Many died in truck containers which we see of many refugees being smuggled in today. Ultimately, the Taliban’s aim was to cleanse Northern Afghanistan of Muslims unlike them. The result was horrendously sad.

The United nations could not tolerate the complexity of the conflict.

The United Nation’ was so appalled by the situation in Afghanistan that it quit its programmes after concluding that trying to work there was too complex. Iran and Pakistan were singled out by mediation Secretary Kofi Annan as directly influencing the continuation of conflict by supplying proxies arms and other supports. Taliban did their very best to make life difficult for the UN as they were afraid such programmes would secularise the region and promote un-islamic ways of life – the opposite of what they were trying to achieve.

Taliban were unwilling to engage with the UN in 1998 as they felt it would show signs of weakness if they compromised with foreigners. What this resulted in was a reduction in funding for Afghanistan between 1996 and 1998. The UN requested $124m in 1996 and only received $65m. The following year the UN requested $133m, yet only received $56m. Furthermore, the Taliban’s forceful policy of targeting women working in International aid agencies forced a withdrawal and lack of belief that Afghanistan could develop under Taliban rule.

I hope you found this interesting. For more on Afghanistan why not read about How India, Pakistan and Afghanistan sought peace, power and influence in the region via the US; 2001-2010.

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