Who are the Taliban?

  • Date and time: Thursday 16 October 2014, 6.00pm
  • Location: Bowland auditorium, Berrick Saul building
  • Admission: is free and open to all. No ticket required.

Event details

PRDU lecture

Who are the Taliban? Are the Taliban that took power in the late 1990s in Afghanistan the same as those who challenge the current Afghan government and the foreign forces that support it? And what are the roots of the Taliban that rose in 1994? These are all questions about the Taliban's identity. Alex Strick van Linschoten will take you on a guided tour of the Taliban's self-perception as expressed through their publications and writings, showing how the movement and those who lead it have changed over the past three and a half decades.


Biography: A graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (BA Arabic and Persian), Alex Strick van Linschoten is currently working on a PhD at the War Studies Department of King’s College London on the identity of the Taliban movement as expressed through their own writings and statements pre-2001.

He co-edited a book written by former Taliban envoy to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, published by Hurst and Columbia University Press to critical acclaim in winter 2010; a history of the relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda entitled An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban – Al-Qaeda Merger, 1970-2010; and a volume of poetry written by Taliban members, published by Hurst (UK) entitled Poetry of the Taliban.

He is currently working on a large project dealing with archival primary sources by the Afghan Taliban and recently launched a publishing house dedicated to providing access to primary sources from Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has worked as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Somalia. He speaks Arabic, Dutch, Pashto, Farsi, and German and can get by in French.

Alex Strick van Linschoten, King's College London