As the focus of the world turns to the fighting in Afghanistan, fighting that relates to the infamous attacks of September 11, 2001, it may be important to take a look at the cities of Afghanistan, and particularly at the oft-cited Taliban.
The word Taliban translates as "students". In 1994, Afghan and Pakistani Muslim students, now known as "Taliban,” who comprise most of the Sunni sect, sought to bring order and end lawlessness and civil fighting in this ancient region. Most of the members of this Taliban were, and are, of Pashtun ethnicity. Pashtun are farmers and herders. The forty tribes of Pashtun often feuded among themselves, with some of these feuds lasting centuries. But the Pashtuns unite to repel invaders.
Most Pashtuns are farmers, raising wheat, fruits, sugar cane. Some Pashtuns herd sheep, goats, camels, and cattle. The farmers live in homes made of mud brick; the nomads live in tents made of goat hair. The Taliban enforce strict guidelines: the men must wear beards, the women, veils, and Islamic law is strictly enforced. We in America might find the enforcement extreme, however the Taliban rejects most forms of entertainment and other "lewdness" which they see as being contamination from the Western World. This dates back in the Sunni Muslim world to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by an Egyptian school teacher, Hassan al-Banna, who, it is said, was appalled by atheism and lewdness. In his words, "[Westerners] imported their half-naked women into these regions, together with their liquors, their theaters, their dance halls, their amusements, their stories, their newspapers, their novels, their whims, their silly games, and their vices." He maintained that the Islamic world was penetrated by European "schools and scientific and cultural institutes" that "cast doubt and heresy into the souls of its sons and taught them how to demean themselves, disparage their religion and their fatherland, divest themselves of their traditions and beliefs, and to regard as sacred anything Western."
The Taliban, in their effort to control Afghanistan and to enforce ancient traditions, captured Afghanistan's second largest city, Kandahar, in November 1994. Kandahar is Afghanistan's chief trade center. It is a market for sheep, wool, cotton, grains, tobacco, and fabric, including silk. The region produces fine fruits. Kandahar was founded by Alexander the Great 2400 years ago. Dominating the city is the domed mausoleum, and numerous mosques and bazaars. It has a technical college.