Author(s): Kamal M
In his book, The Taliban Phenomenon, Kamal Matinuddin does not offer a central thesis regarding Afghan politics or the Taliban movement. Rather, he discusses a number of important questions pertaining to the Taliban movement. Since the rise of the Taliban, their identity has been disputed. The opponents of the Taliban claim that many members of the movement are natives of Pakistan. In contrast, the supporters of the Taliban assert that they are ethnic Afghans. Matinuddin's discussion of the origins of the Taliban addresses this controversy. According to Matinuddin, during the 1980s a large number of Islamic seminaries (d―in―i mad―aris) were established in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan and oil-rich Arab states paid for most of the expenses of these institutions. In 1997, about 220,000 students were enrolled in these seminaries. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a large number of young Afghan refugees registered in these institutions. When the Taliban movement began, not only Afghan students (Taliban) of these seminaries joined the movement, but Pakistani Taliban from these institutions also joined their Afghan colleagues in their efforts to take control of Afghanistan. Thus, according to Matinuddin, the Taliban movement is an Afghan phenomenon, but occasionally Pakistani Taliban help their Afghan colleagues in the battlefield. However, Pakistani Taliban do not take orders from the government of Pakistan.