Taliban app launched, taken down from Google store
On 1 April, Islamist fundamentalist group Taliban launched 'Alemarah', a new app available for Android phones through the Google Play Store. The content of the app, in the Pashto language, includes official statements and videos from the Afghan movement. The app was taken down from the Play Store shortly after launch, with the Taliban citing 'technical issues'. Google declined to comment on the matter.
The origin of Taliban
The Taliban was one of the Mujahideen factions that formed following the Soviet occupation (1979 - 1989) and the internal fighting in Afghanistan. A predominantly Pashtun movement, the Taliban came into prominence in 1994. The original aim of Taliban was to "restore peace, disarm the population, enforce Sharia law and defend the integrity and Islamic character of Afghanistan."
Meaning of Taliban
The word Taliban, alternately spelt as Taleban, in Pashto means "students".
Rise of the Taliban
Pakistan allegedly provided weapons, military training and financial support to the Taliban. Most of the Taliban's leaders were educated in refugee camps in Pakistan. Mullah Mohammed Omar was the founder and the spiritual leader/ supreme commander of the Taliban. From 1996-2001, Taliban was in power in Afghanistan until the US led an invasion to topple them.
Destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas
On 26 Feb 2001, Mullah Omar issued a decree ordering the elimination of all non-Islamic statues and sanctuaries from Afghanistan. In March, the 1,700-year-old sandstone statues of Bamiyan Buddha were destroyed in stages using artillery, dynamites and rockets. Mullah Mohammed Omar was quoted as saying, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to Allah that we have destroyed them."
9/11 incident triggers the beginning of the end
The Taliban were accused of providing sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda movement who were blamed for the attacks on World Trade Center 11 Sep 2001. After the 9/11 attack, US invoked the 'Bush Doctrine' which said, "we will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them". The US-led coalition invaded and overthrew the Taliban regime in 2001.
Afghanistan continues to be under attack
Since the start of 2006, Afghanistan has been facing a wave of attacks by improvised explosives and suicide bombers, particularly after NATO took command of the fight against the insurgents in 2006. Suicide bombing was a favored tactic of the Taliban through 2006 to 2007. In 2010, during the swearing-in ceremony of President Hamid Karzai, militants attacked multiple locations in Kabul.
Taliban attacks in Pakistan
In Oct 2012, Pakistan Taliban shot 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head and neck. She was targeted for promoting the education of women. The shooting occurred while Malala was on her way home on a school bus. In Dec 2014, the Pak-Taliban attacked Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan. 145 people, including 132 children were killed in the siege.
Taliban strikes Afghanistan parliament
On 22 June, Taliban members, including a suicide bomber and 6 gunmen attacked the Afghan parliament in Kabul. The suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the parliament gates and then gunmen stormed the compound. The attack was carried out to coincide with the parliamentary meet to vote for the new defence minister. Afghan security forces managed to eliminate all the the six gunmen
4 rockets fired at Afghanistan's new Parliament
A day after Pakistani Taliban claimed the lives of 72 people in Lahore, 4 rockets were fired at Afghanistan's new Parliament. One rocket exploded near the building but no casualties were reported. The attack occurred when the Afghani legislators were being briefed by the security officials. It was announced that MPs would continue as per their schedule at the Parliament, inspite of the explosions.
The new Afghani Parliament: A gift from India
The new Afghanistan Parliament was built in 2015 by India as a mark of friendship and support to help reconstruct Afghanistan, and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2015.