LONDON, 24 February 2012: Thesigers, a London-based research and advisory firm, today announced the launch of the Taliban Sources Project, a major initiative to preserve an unprecedented collection of original Taliban print and audio materials.
Three researchers, Alex Strick van Linschoten, Felix Kuehn, and Anand Gopal, acquired the materials while living and working in Afghanistan over a period of several years.
Strick van Linschoten and Kuehn are co-authors of the recently published book An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban/Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970-2010 (Hurst Publishers, 2012). Gopal, a former Christian Science Monitor and Wall Street Journal correspondent, is currently working on a book for Henry Holt and Co. on the war in Afghanistan.
They estimate the collection contains more than 1.5 million words worth of Pashto-language text. Their initial inventory includes poetry, maps, night letters, press releases, transcripts of radio broadcasts, memoirs, and 10 volumes of Taliban laws and edicts. It also contains full runs of dozens of official Taliban newspapers and magazines published between 1996-2001, when the Taliban were the ruling power in Afghanistan.
Strick van Linschoten explained that he and Kuehn initially focused on documents that pre-dated 2001. Gopal contributed post-2001 sources. All