Afghanistan The Genesis of Afghan Taliban


The genesis of the Taliban in Afghanistan

The article is written by Shahid Raza, a strategic affairs editor at GVS News, interested in Arms control, foreign policy, and Geopolitics. Moreover; affiliated with Force Magazine, Independent Urdu, and SASSI (Genesis of Taliban in Afghanistan), king Zahir shah was the monarch and absolute ruler of Afghanistan from 1933 to 1973. His rule was underlined by peace and stability on the borders of Afghanistan and within the country. He left for medical treatment in Italy in 1973, while the king was getting medical treatment, his cousin Muhammad Daud khan plotted to overthrow him in 1973 backed by the elements of the Afghan Army and communist-leaning people’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. He mounted a successful coup and took over Afghanistan. “Genesis of Taliban”

Historical background:

Muhammad Daud khan hosted General Secretary of National Awami Party, Khan Abdul Wali khan, Ajmal Khattak, Jumma Khan, Sufi Balouch militants to conduct militant action and terrorism in Pakistan. Between the 27th and 28th of April 1978, communist sleeper cells inside the Afghan Army were activated by PDPA leader Hafizullah Amin who had been under house arrest on Daud’s orders.

Saur Revolution coup:

In the Saur revolution coup that followed Daud khan along with the members of his family were massacred. On 30th April 1978 communist leader, Noor Muhammad Taraki took over the presidency as well as the control of the communist party. He quickly developed a feud with fellow communist Hafizullah Amin who plotted to overthrow him because of disagreement over the power-sharing formula.

Role of KGB:

On the 14th of September 1979, as Taraki returned from his Moscow trip, he was imprisoned on Hafizullah Amin’s orders, who had executed him by suffocation while in captivity and formally take over the presidency. From September to December 1979, Hafizullah Amin lost the confidence of his KGB handlers. KGB Russian intelligence believed him to be a double agent of the CIA due to his overtures to Washington. By early 1979, 25 out of 28 provinces of Afghanistan were unstable because of armed resistance against Amin’s regime.

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On the 29th of March 1979 the Herat uprising began, the uprising turned the revolt into an open war between the Mujahideen and the communist Afghan government. By 1979, the KGB had lost patience with Amin, and KGB’s General Yuri Drozdov approved plans to have him assassinated. Two failed attempts were made on his life so, they decided to have him executed in a bloody coup to take place at Tajbeg palace.


The Soviet leadership had established an alliance with Babrak karmal, he was to take over after Amin had been assassinated. On 27th December 1979, Amin and most of his family were massacred by KGB Spetsnaz in an operation codenamed: storm-333

Babrak Karmal enjoyed complete backing of the USSR when he took over the presidency on the same day when Hafizullah Amin was executed by KGB. For the next six years, he would oversee the scorched earth campaign of the 40th Red Army in his own country killing approximately 2 million Afghans.

Operation Cyclone: 

As the Soviet 40th Army intensified its brutal campaign in Afghanistan, a joint operation “Operation cyclone” was launched by the CIA and ISI. Over the next six years, the Mujahideen would bring the 40th Red Army to its knees along with its communist Afghan military allies.

As the war in Afghanistan turned into Soviet Vietnam, the KGB recommended overthrowing Babrak Karmal, and replacing him with the chief of Afghan Intelligence KHAD, Major General Mohammad Najibullah, who deposed Babrak in a bloodies coup and finally took over the presidency on 30 September 1987.

Najibullah was a bonafide KGB agent and enjoyed the full confidence of KGB chief Yuri Andropov. As the chief of KHAD, Najibullah oversaw the industrial scale, torture, and murder of Afghan prisoners.

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On 14th April 1988, the Aghani and Pakistani government signed the Geneva Accords, requiring the Soviet 40th Army to retreat from Afghanistan by 15th February 1989, making the end to a brutal civil war in the country. The future of Najibullah’s communist regime became uncertain.

After the Soviet 40th Army retreated and the disintegration process of the USSR began in 1992, all military aid to Najibullah around 300,000 dried up. Major cities were lost to Mujahideen and he resigned on the 14th of April. Najibullah requested political asylum from India but the Indian government refused despite Najibullah being a long-time partner of New Delhi against Pakistan.

He took refuge at the UN compound until 1996 when a new insurgent group defeated Ahmad shah, Massoud.

In the battle of Kabul, they arrested Najibullah and his brother as well as later on executed them with their bodies displayed publically, this little-known group was called the Taliban.


The genesis of the Taliban has to be understood in the convoluted historical context of the cold war Era politics in Afghanistan. The communists who took over the reign of power in an illegal coup introduced a reign of terror in Afghanistan that killed millions of people. A movement that defeated the Soviet 40th Army and later on fought a civil war against the fledgling government in Kabul as well as their Uzbek allies. The rise of the Taliban was in reaction to the infighting between the Mujahideen groups as the Emir of the Group, the elusive Mullah Omer sought to wrestle the Mujahideen into an alliance. This would lead to the fall of Kabul in 1996 to the Taliban.


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