Abdulsalami M. Deji, PhD

Department of History,

Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Sciences,

Nigerian Army University, Biu.

Bornu State.


Leadership crisis has engulfed Afghanistan for long period of time. This is born out of quest for power among the actors (the Taliban and Pro-Democracy group) in the country. Interestingly, the Taliban came to limelight following the final withdrawal of Soviet troops in Afghanistan on 15th February, 1989. This marked the end of communist regime in Afghanistan. The Taliban emerged as a force for social order in 1994 in the Southern Afghan Province of Kanadhar and took full control of Afghanistan in 1996. The word “Taliban” echoes and reechoes terrorist phenomenon in the mind of people wherever it is mentioned. Taliban became a formidable authority in Afghanistan and subsequently toppled by foreign power, particularly, the US-led invasion in 2001. Thereafter, democratic government was installed. The activities of Taliban authority which do not connote democratic principles made them to be regarded as terrorists. Meanwhile, the Talibans believe that the principle of government should be rested on the Quranic injunction. On this note, between 1996 – 2001, Taliban authority ruled with Sunni principle which is a threat to the existence of Shia group who has its stronghold in Iran. At the same time, the US-led government see the Taliban as a terrorist group because of its defiance to democratic principle. Can ideological struggle within the ambit of religious law be tagged as terrorism? In view of the foregoing, it is pertinent to appraise Taliban authority in Afghanistan since 1996, up till 30th August, 2021, when the Taliban lunched itself back into state affairs in Afghanistan. The methodology adopted is secondary source which comprises the use of relevant materials such as textbooks, journals, newspapers, and other relevant documents. 

Keywords: Democracy, Leadership Crisis, Ideology and Terrorist.  


Leadership is ability to lead, the ability to guide, direct, or influence people. These are qualities of leadership which Afghans have demonstrated to influence people in Islamic political system. The Taliban movement was created in 1994 by a senior mullah (Islamic priest), Mohammed Omar, in the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahār to galvanize support for Islamic government. The name Taliban, meaning, “student,” refers to the movement’s origins in Islamic religious schools, or madrasas, although most members knew war all their lives and attended the madrasas only for rudimentary religious training[1]. The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist nationalist and pro-Pashtum movement founded in the early 1990s solidly for Islamic principle.

The United States sees democracy as a system of government that must observe specific rules and regulations. Democracy requires quality leadership to galvanize people for proper conduct of democratic norms. There is no doubt, the western world is an ardent supporter and propagator of democracy to the outside world. This has made the entire world to see the western world, particularly the US-led government, as an agent policing the entire world on democratic values. Both western and US-government had been at logger-head with Taliban for political supremacy. While the Taliban had bias for Islamic principle which is totally against the ideal of democracy, the US believes that democracy is the only means of government that can guarantee equal right for all in any society.

To US-led government, any society that negates the tenets of democracy falls short of the features of a civilized society, which tends to promote act of terrorism or oppression. The policy of using religious principles as means of governing state or society tends to promote particular interest of certain group of people who believe in that particular religion. This has made activities of the Taliban authority inimical to the US. Also, the alliance or fraternization with the Russia Communist system created bad relationship between the US-led government and Taliban authority.

In view of the foregoing, the paper analyzes the Taliban authority in Afghanistan from 1994 to 2021. The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist nationalist. The word “Taliban” is Pashto for “students” composed of peasant farmers and men studying Islam in Afghan and Pakistan madrassas, or religious schools[2]. The Taliban found a foothold and consolidated their strength in southern Afghanistan. By 1994, the Taliban had moved their way through the south, capturing several provinces from various armed factions who had been fighting a civil war after the Soviet-backed Afghan government fell in 1992. On 27th September, 1996, the Talibans captured Kabul, killed the country’s president, and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. This marked the beginning of Taliban authority in Afghanistan3[3].

To have in-depth analysis of germane issues in this study, the following sub-titles are critically examined. Geographical location and people of Afghanistan, brief historical account of Afghanistan as an entity, the political logjam in Afghanistan and emergence of Taliban, the coming of democracy and its sudden disappearance in Afghanistan, lesson from sudden collapse of democracy in Afghanistan and conclusion.  

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