Circled by high terrain and nations struggling with their own Islamic unrest, Afghanistan is among the hardest places on earth to fight. Other worries: millions of land mines, a harsh climate and a population famous for resisting invasion


The militia that dubbed itself the Taliban, Pashtu for Islamic students, emerged in 1994 from the rural southern hinterlands of Afghanistan, under the guidance of the reclusive onetime village preacher Mullah Mohammed Omar. Fed by recruits from conservative religious schools across the border in Pakistan attended by destitute refugees from the 1979-89 war against the Soviet invasion, the Taliban...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!