The Taliban Reader represents a collection of diversified primary sources associated with the Taliban movement that renders a comprehensive frame on the origin, scope, goals, beliefs, and worldview of this Sunni Islamic traditionalist organization originating from the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan, which strives for the creation of a sociopolitical reality grounded on the principles of the Qur’an and Sharia law.
From a chronological point of view, the sources are divided into three main periods of Taliban activity. The first covers the period from 1979 to 1994, retracing on one hand the wartime experiences the brave mujahedeen faced during the ten-year long resistance against the Soviet invader and its pro-Communist Afghan government and on the other, the complex reality of post-Soviet Afghanistan, in which numerous warlords attempted to gain political power. The second, from 1994 to 2001, depicts the foundation, rise, and consolidation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan under Taliban rule, with the implementation of Islamic fundamentalist reforms. Finally, the third, from 2001 to today, describes the precipitous downfall of the Taliban regime due to the post-9/11 U.S.-led international military intervention and the post-2003 semi-clandestine revival of the movement and its shadow political activity in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including the organization’s recent developments updated to 2017.