In the Pashto language the word "Taliban" means "students". Indeed, the Taliban movement began amongst students of Islam during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1978-1992).
However, the Taliban fighters we see today are not students. They are bearded warriors from a medieval costume museum riding in battered pick-up trucks or upon motorcycles, clutching purloined weapons. As well as having plenty of money from opium sales, they undoubtedly believe they have truth and justice on their side. They look into the camera like aliens from another planet.
The way they have retaken their country in just three weeks is breath-taking. It has been so easy. The official Afghan army has been as tough as wet tissue paper. All that money spent on training them and equipping them! They might as well have been provided with a bunch of white flags costing less than a hundred dollars.
It's as if the clock has been turned back to October 2001 so that the Taliban can continue with their harsh rule - only this time it's a bit different because the legacy of bitterness will have been boosted tremendously by the American-led occupation.