Taliban conscription
During the Taliban administration of Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 (1996–2001) there was an extensive, varied conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...


Kidnapping foreigners

Prior to the collapse of their regime the Taliban made widespread use of conscription, and according to some of the Guantanamo captives, kidnapping and virtual slavery.

Conscription of children

According to a report from Oxford University the Taliban made widespread use of the conscription of children in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
The report states that during the civil war that preceded the Taliban regime thousands of orphaned boys joined various militia for "employment, food, shelter, protection and economic opportunity."
The report said that during its initial period the Taliban "long depended upon cohorts of youth".

Post September 11th, Pre-collapse Taliban conscription

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

 quotes a young Afghan, who reported:
"They're rounding men up for a fight to the last man."

According the ABC report Ahmed Zia said there had been a large-scale exodus from Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

. He claimed the Taliban were rounding up young boys for battle. He also claimed the Taliban were forcing people to give blood.

The British paper The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

 reported, on September 29, 2001, that the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Omar, had closed all Afghanistan's religious schools, so the students could fight beside the Taliban.

The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

, reported, on October 13, 2001, an account of a young man who had a lucky encounter with a Taliban conscription patrol reminiscent of the 18th Century Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 press gang
Impressment, colloquially, "the Press", was the act of taking men into a navy by force and without notice. It was used by the Royal Navy, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries, in wartime, as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice goes back to...

"Samim, the young man who fled with his family, is an ethnic Tajik. He said he had a lucky escape Thursday night, walking home from the bazaar with his friend, Farid Alsoo.
"They stumbled across a Taliban patrol roughly shoving young men into a minivan. About five or 10 young men were already captive. The Taliban men seized Alsoo and pushed him into the van.
"'They tried to get me, but I ran,' Samim said. 'They chased me for a few meters, but I got away,' he said, speaking in English. As the family breadwinner, he couldn't afford to be arrested or pressed to fight."

Accounts of the Taliban's conscription policies from Guantanamo detainees

On March 3, 2006, after exhausting all it legal appeals, the US Department of Defense was forced to comply with a court order
Court order
A court order is an official proclamation by a judge that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case...

 and release information about the identity of the captives held in extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

s, in Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. The DoD released thousands of pages of documents prepared for, or arising from, the captives' Combatant Status Review Tribunal
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
The Combatant Status Review Tribunals were a set of tribunals for confirming whether detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp had been correctly designated as "enemy combatants". The CSRTs were established July 7, 2004 by order of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense...

s and Administrative Review Board
Administrative Review Board
The Administrative Review Board is a United States military body that conducts an annual review of the suspects held by the United States in Camp Delta in the United States Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba....


Those thousands of pages of documents revealed that many of the detainees described themselves as conscripts, somethimes enlisted at gunpoint, and imprisoned in their barracks under armed guards, kept on hand for the Taliban to use as "cannon fodder
Cannon fodder
Cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where soldiers are forced to deliberately fight against hopeless odds in an effort to achieve a strategic goal...


"Enemy combatant" status

Some skeptical commentators have discounted the accounts of Guantanamo detainees whose stories suggested they weren't hardened terrorists. However, there are captives who even the American intelligence analysts acknowledged were reluctant conscripts.

Under questioning by US District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green
Joyce Hens Green
Judge Joyce Hens Green is a Senior United States District Court Judge for the District of Columbia.-Childhood:Green was born in 1928 in New York City. Her father was a psychiatrist and her mother was a homemaker. She had one brother...

US Government lawyer Brian Boyle confirmed that the definition of "enemy combatant" status was so broad that even a little old lady from Switzerland, who sent money to what she thought was a legitimate charity, could be classified as an "enemy combatant" if workers for that charity clandestinely diverted some of its resources to back projects with ties to terrorism.

Some of the Guantanamo detainees had their classification as "enemy combatants" confirmed because they had a business arrangement to supply al Qaeda, or the Taliban, with mundane items, like firewood.

Some of the Guantanamo detainees had their classification as "enemy combatants" confirmed even when they claimed they were enlisted at gunpoint, and housed in their barracks under armed guard.

Some of the Guantanamo detainees had their classification as "enemy combatants" confirmed even when they claimed they were kidnapped, and employed as kitchen helpers, or servants, as virtual slaves.

Some of the Guantanamo detainees reported that they were conscripted, not for military duties, but simply to perform civilian duties the Taliban couldn't fill through normal hiring practices.
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