Muslim Crosscurrents

June 4 1997 3:30 AM

Muslim Crosscurrents

Looking beyond the Iranian revolution.

(Continued from Page 1)

The Taliban is both a product of and a reaction to the civil war that has gripped Afghanistan since the demise of the Soviet-backed regime in 1992. The movement developed out of refugee Koranic schools in Pakistan. Taliban leaders declared a holy war against the various warlords who carved up Afghanistan, and preached the role of strict Islamic rules as a unifying force. This simple message found a ready audience among the largely rural population of southern Afghanistan. Like the Taliban leadership, most southerners are ethnic Pashtun Sunni Muslims who, though accounting for the majority of the Afghan population, had not fared well in the civil war.

The Taliban captured the southern city of Kandahar--where its reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, resides--in late 1994 and the capital, Kabul, last September. In all conquered regions, the Taliban has immediately implemented its own interpretation of Islamic law. Among other things, women are barred from work and most education, and men may not trim their compulsory beards. In southern rural areas, such strictures have been accepted, especially as the Taliban has provided a stable environment for the cultivation of poppies. Domestic drug use is severely punished, but heroin production for export is permitted.


Taliban rule has not been popular with non-Pashtun communities or the more sophisticated, liberal-minded residents of the major cities, especially Kabul. This is unlikely to change. The recent heavy defeat of the Taliban in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif highlights both its failure to incorporate ethnic Tajiks, Uzbeks, or Shiah Hazaras into its leadership, and its refusal to moderate its Islamic zeal. Even if the Taliban succeeds in conquering the entire country, many areas will remain subject to guerrilla warfare.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 8:46 AM The Vintage eBay Find I Wore to My Sentencing
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.