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Taliban Fast Facts

Here's a look at the Taliban, a Sun...

Posted: Mar 26, 2018 1:11 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2018 1:11 PM

Here's a look at the Taliban, a Sunni Islamist organization operating primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Facts: Reclusive leader Mullah Mohammed Omar led the Taliban from the mid-1990s until his death in 2013.

Taliban, in Pashto, is the plural of Talib, which means student.

Most members are Pashtun, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.

The exact number of Taliban forces is unknown.

The group's aim is to impose its interpretation of Islamic law on Afghanistan and remove foreign influence from the country.

Timeline: 1979-1989 - The Soviet Union invades and occupies Afghanistan. Afghan resistance fighters, known collectively as mujahedeen, fight back.

1989-1993 - After the Soviet Union withdraws, fighting among the mujahedeen leads to chaos.

1994 - The Taliban is formed, comprised mostly of students and led by mujahedeen veteran Mullah Omar.

November 1994 - The Taliban seize the city of Kandahar.

September 1996 - The capital, Kabul, falls to the Taliban.

1996-2001 - The group imposes strict Islamic laws on the Afghan people. Women must wear head-to-toe coverings, are not allowed to attend school or work outside the home and are forbidden to travel alone. Television, music and non-Islamic holidays are also banned.

1997 - The Taliban issue an edict renaming Afghanistan the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The country is only officially recognized by three countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

1997 - Mullah Omar forges a relationship with Osama bin Laden, who then moves his base of operations to Kandahar.

August 1998 - The Taliban capture Mazar-e-Sharif, gaining control of about 90% of Afghanistan.

October-November 2001 - After US bombardment as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban lose Afghanistan to US and Northern Alliance forces.

December 2006 - Senior Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani is killed in an airstrike by the United States.

December 11, 2007 - Afghan troops backed by NATO recapture the provincial town of Musa Qala from Taliban control.

October 21, 2008 - Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal confirms that Saudi Arabia hosted talks between Afghan officials and the Taliban in September. It is reported that no agreements were made.

April 25, 2011 - Hundreds of prisoners escape from a prison in Kandahar by crawling through a tunnel. The Taliban take responsibility for the escape and claim that 541 prisoners escaped, while ISAF says the number is 470.

September 10, 2011 - Two Afghan civilians are killed and 77 US troops are wounded during a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack at the entrance of Combat Outpost Sayed Abad, an ISAF base in Afghanistan's Wardak province. The Taliban claim responsibility.

September 13, 2011 - Taliban militants open fire on the US embassy and NATO's International Security Assistance Force headquarters in central Kabul. Three police officers and one civilian are killed.

February 27, 2012 - The Taliban claim responsibility for a suicide bombing near the front gate of the International Security Assistance Force base at Jalalabad airport in Afghanistan. At least nine people are killed and 12 wounded in the explosion. The Taliban says the bombing is in retaliation for the burning of Qurans at a US base last week.

August 8, 2012 - According to senior US officials, in an effort to revive peace talks with the Taliban, President Barack Obama's administration has proposed a prisoner swap under which it would transfer five Taliban prisoners to Qatar in exchange for a US soldier held by the Taliban.

June 18, 2013 - An official political office of the Taliban opens in Doha, Qatar's capital city. The Taliban announces that they hope to improve relations with other countries, head toward a peaceful solution to the Afghanistan occupation and establish an independent Islamic system in the country.

September 21, 2013 - Pakistan announces that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the founding members of the Taliban, has been released from prison. Baradar had been captured in Karachi, Pakistan in 2010.

May 31, 2014 - The United States transfers five Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq and Mohammad Nabi Omari. It is believed Bergdahl was being held by the Taliban and al Qaeda-aligned Haqqani network in Pakistan.

July 29, 2015 - The Afghan government says in a news release that Taliban leader Mullah Omar died in April 2013 in Pakistan, citing "credible information," and a spokesman for Afghanistan's intelligence service tells CNN that Omar died in a hospital in Karachi at that time.

September 28, 2015 - Taliban insurgents seize the main roundabout in the Afghan provincial capital of Kunduz, then free more than 500 inmates at the prison. This is the first time the Taliban have taken over a provincial capital since 2001.

December 21, 2015 - It is reported that Taliban forces have taken almost complete control over Sangin, a strategically important city in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

March 27, 2016 - A suicide blast in Lahore, Pakistan, kills 69 and injures more than 341. The attack targeted Christians celebrating Easter, according to the group claiming responsibility, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban.

May 21, 2016 - Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour is killed in an airstrike in Pakistan.

May 25, 2016 - The Taliban say they have named Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, a senior religious cleric from its founding generation, as its new leader.

January 25, 2017 - The Taliban release an open letter to newly elected President Donald Trump. The letter calls on Trump to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan.

February 11, 2017 - The Taliban claim responsibility for a car bomb blast that kills at least eight people in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. At least 19 other people are wounded.

February 13, 2017 - A bomb explodes during a protest in Lahore, Pakistan, killing at least 14 people and injuring 59 more, the government says. Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claims responsibility in a statement emailed to CNN.

April 21, 2017 - The Taliban attack a northern army base in Afghanistan, killing more than 100 people.

July 25, 2017 - CNN reports it has exclusive videos that suggest the Taliban have received improved weaponry, including sniper rifles, Kalashnikov variants, and machine guns, in Afghanistan supplied by the Russian government. Moscow categorically denies arming the Taliban.

August 3, 2017 - Taliban and ISIS forces launch a joint attack on a village in northern Afghanistan, killing 50 people, including women and children, local officials claim.

January 27, 2018 - An attacker driving an ambulance packed with explosives detonates them in Kabul, killing 95 people and injuring 191 others, Afghan officials say. The Taliban claim responsibility.

February 28, 2018 - Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani says the government is willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement.

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