In reality, the Taliban acted out of ignorance and wanted to keep a generation of Afghans illiterate and malleable, religious scholars and education officials say.
Thirty years after the end of the USSR's bloody occupation of Afghanistan, some of President Vladimir Putin's cronies are attempting to rewrite that story, analysts say.
The Taliban killed 10 civilians who refused to pay the militants ushr and regularly force coal truck drivers to pay extortion, local residents and officials say.
Taliban representative Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai said the Afghan National Army should be dissolved. He swiftly backtracked after widespread condemnation from the Afghan public.
'Looking for peace in an enemy's home is not the right thing to do,' a religious scholar in Herat said.
The goal of the delegation to bring 'all Afghan parties together in an intra-Afghan dialogue', the US State Department said.
'The Afghans have to decide what Afghanistan looks like in the future,' said Patrick Shanahan.
President Ashraf Ghani fired Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq in a move observers say was more than just political and was aimed at protecting Afghanistan's national interests.
The militants hope to use the contents of 22 trucks, including eight oil tankers, to fund their fight against the Afghan people and government, local officials and merchants say.
The air quality index reading is often above 300, while at night it can top 600. Any reading over 100 is considered unhealthy, according to the World Health Organisation.
The militants have forced nearly 200 families out of their homes into the cold, targetting those whose family members work for the Afghan security forces.
How likely is it that current peace efforts will be successful?