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Afghanistan followed the same fate as dozens of formerly Soviet-occupied countries after the collapse of Moscows Marxist government in 1991 Islamic factions which had united to expel the Russian occupiers in 1992 began to fight among themselves when it became apparent that post-communist coalition governments could not overcome the deep-rooted ethnic and religious differences of the members It was in this atmosphere of economic strife and civil war that a fundamentalist band of religious students emerged victorious By 1996 this group the Taliban ruled 90 of the country with a controversial holy iron hand The other 10 of the country is tenaciously held by minority opposition groups led by president Rabbani and military commander Ahmed Shah Massoud and aided by foreign Taliban adversaries This Northern Alliance shares critics objections to the Talibans extreme fundamentalist methods and especially scorns Pashtun ethnic chauvinism Today only Pakistan the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia recognize the Taliban as Afghanistans legitimate ruling party The United Nations still considers Massoud head of State the US advocates a broad based government and others favor Rabbani Zahir Shah Gulbuddin Hekmatyar or other opponents as rulers of Afghanistan The Taliban claim to follow a pure fundamentalist Islamic ideology yet the oppression they perpetrate against women has no basis in Islam Within Islam women are allowed to earn and control their own money and to participate in public life The 55-member Organization of Islamic Conference has refused to recognize the Taliban as Afghanistans official government The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt regarded by many as an ultraconservative fundamentalist organization has denounced the Talibans decrees Female employment and education is restricted or banned Women must stay at home If necessary women who do leave the house must be accompanied by a male relative and cover themselves with a burqa an ankle-length veil with a mesh-like opening in front of the eyes Non-religious music cassette tapes TV and movies are all banned Multi-colored signs are prohibited White
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