AboutFifteen years ago, southern Afghanistan was in even greater chaos than it is now. With the Russians newly departed and the mujahadden at each other's throats, life for the rural poor of Kandahar province was almost impossible. On 12 October 1994 a small group of religious students took matters into their own hands. Led by an illiterate village mullah with one eye, some 200 of them surrounded and took the town Spin Boldak. The students' numbers swelled as news of their triumph spread. The Taliban, as they now called themselves, had a simple mission statement: the disarmament of the population, and the establishment of a theocracy based on Sharia law. By February 1995, this people's revolt had become a national movement; 18 months later Kabul fell, and the country was effectively theirs. In Taliban, Fergusson tells the extraordinary story of this reviled group and gives a deeper insight into Afghanistan now and for the future.