When talking about Islamist terrorism, most people immediately think of terms like Taliban and Al Qaeda. Do the Taliban and Al-Qaeda belong together, or what is the difference between them?
Taliban – a group from Pakistan and Afghanistan
The Taliban are an Islamist population group that originated in Afghanistan. Taliban means “student” or “seeker”. The Islamist militia occupied large parts of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. This occupation was diplomatically recognized only by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. The number of Taliban members is estimated at around 13,000 to 20,000, who only live in Afghanistan.
Even today, the Taliban are advancing again in Afghanistan and are gaining more and more land, even though American troops are present there. Despite the American invasion and the support of NATO countries, the influence of the Taliban in Afghanistan could not be destroyed.
The Taliban were originally founded by graduates of religious universities who linked up with members of incoming Mujahedin troops.
Strict observance of Sharia has far-reaching implications for the lives of Pakistanis. There are strict rules for all areas of public life, compliance with which is monitored and non-compliance with which is severely punished. So there are regulations related to the appearance of the individual, to haircuts, beards, clothing. There is no freedom of the press, and women are subject to particularly strict regulations. They have to wear a burqa, and they are largely denied access to education.
Support from the CIA
In the 1980s, the Taliban received strong support, particularly from the CIA, and were equipped with modern weapons. After the Soviet Union rushed to help the then Afghan government to fight the Taliban, the Americans also got involved indirectly in the conflict and helped build the Taliban.
Al-Qaeda- a terrorist network operating worldwide
< p>While the Taliban rule only in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda is a loose network of terrorists operating worldwide. Their members come from a variety of nations and they try to spread fear and terror worldwide through terrorist attacks. In most cases, their attacks are carried out with letters of confession. A characteristic feature of their attacks is the mass murder of civilians.
The name Al-Qaeda means “solid base” and is intended to illustrate the Islamist efforts to implement jihad, despite all international attempts to combat it.
Al-Qaeda consists of a network of overlapping cells that operate autonomously. This makes infiltration by the police and secret services more difficult.
Al-Qaeda's aim is to establish a caliphate, an Islamist state in which Sharia rules prevail. Al-Qaeda believes that Israel and the western world are conspiring against Islam and preventing it from playing its role in the world. Furthermore, al-Qaeda does not see the victims of its terrorist attacks as civilians, only as enemies. For the Islamists, all people who practice a belief other than theirs are enemies who must be fought.
So the main difference between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is that the Taliban only enforce their reign of terror in Pakistan and practice in Afghanistan, whereas al-Qaeda is a terrorist network operating worldwide.