Difference between Taliban and Al Qaeda

Key Difference: Taliban is an Islamic movement in Afghanistan. The fundamentals of Islam are the Quran and the Sunnah. Al Qaeda are the Sunni Muslims who follow the practice of Wahabism, which is one of the extreme forms of Islam.

The recent events in the world which are related to man-made disasters are done by the so called organizations, Taliban and Al Qaeda, which are termed as the terrorists organizations born out of Islamic ancestry. Though they are from the same religion, their thoughts and activities vary from each other.

The term Taliban is an Arabic word, meaning “student”. At first, the Taliban consisted of religious students who were very conservative. The Taliban follow the fundamentals of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah. The Taliban started as a movement in Afghanistan, which has not spread around the whole world.

The term Al Qaeda is a translation of the word “the base” or "the foundation". It was basically formed by Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, in 1988. It is the international post-national terrorist organization whose mission is to replace all the kinds of governance present in the world with the rules of Islam. The leaders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Abdullah Azzam are the ones who had formed Al Qaeda with Osama Bin Laden.

In short, Al Qaeda and the Taliban both believe in a strict interpretation of Islamic law and that violence is needed to enact it. Al-Qaeda views this as a global pursuit, while the Taliban limits their efforts to Afghanistan.

According to rawa.org/rules, restrictions of women in Taliban include the following points:

  • Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.
  • Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).
  • Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.
  • Ban on women being treated by male doctors.
  • Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious seminaries.)
  • Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.
  • Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.
  • Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.
  • Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."
  • Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.
  • Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.
  • Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".
  • Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.
  • Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.
  • Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus. Public buses have now been designated "males only" (or "females only").
  • Ban on the photographing or filming of women.

Apart from the above restrictions on women, the Taliban has:

  • Banned listening to music, not only for women but men as well.
  • Banned the watching of movies, television and videos, for everyone.
  • Banned celebrating the traditional New Year (Nowroz) on March 21. The Taliban has proclaimed the holiday un-Islamic.
  • Ordered that men should wear Islamic clothes and a cap.
  • Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.
  • Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.
  • Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.
  • All boy students must wear turbans. They say "No turban, no education".
  • Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just like what did Nazis with Jews.
  • Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.

Comparison between Taliban and Al Qaeda:



Al Qaeda



Taliban is a Muslim fundamentalist group in Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda is a radical Sunni Muslim organization dedicated to the elimination of a Western presence in Arab countries and militantly opposed to Western foreign policy.

Also spelled as


Al Qaida

Word Meaning


The base or the foundation

Year of act



Founded by

Mullah Mohammed Omar

Osama Bin Laden

Consists of


Sunni Muslims

Areas of practice

Afghanistan and Pakistan



There are boundaries. Restricted to a particular region

No boundaries


Taliban is a combination of Sharia Law and Pashtun tribal vodes, sharing some concepts of Jihad followed by the Al-Qaeda group.

Al-Qaeda members are based in Sharia Law. The ideology believes in the concept of offensive Jihad, which is armed warfare to advance Islam.

How do they treat women

  • Afghan women are forced to lead under the Taliban.
  • They treat women worse than they treat animals.
  • They imprison Afghan women within the four walls of their own houses.
  • They have only the job to produce children, satisfy male sexual needs or do the housework.
  • Treat women as their own property and abuse children.
  • Use women for terror.
  • Mentally handicapped woman used for explosion in some places.


Not necessarily a particular sect of Islam, the locals of Afghanistan is its main followers.

People following the Sunni sect of Islam, but are the only one who follow Wahabism.

Image Courtesy: jamesfergusson.info, thecommentfactory.com

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