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 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 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 meeting between Afghan opposition politicians and the Taliban in Russia 'is nothing more than a fantasy', President Ashraf Ghani said.
Head of US Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored the importance of reaching a Taliban-Afghanistan discussion.
Hundreds of residents in two districts of Helmand Province called on the Taliban to renounce violence and make peace.
Afghan opposition politicians meeting with Taliban representatives in Moscow were seen praying behind a member of the Taliban in a hotel lobby.
While the increasingly paranoid Taliban and ISIS try to wipe out spies in their own ranks, Afghan forces are launching robust operations against both groups, military officials say.
Afghan women have vowed not to accept a return to the Taliban's brutal treatment and restrictions of women and girls.
A second meeting in Moscow -- this time between Taliban representatives and Afghan opposition politicians -- is yet another attempt by Russia to sabotage the peace process.
Afghanistan and Pakistan were among the countries targeted by almost 800 pages, groups and accounts Facebook identified as part of a disinformation operation 'directed from Iran'.
Afghan military operations and the push for peace negotiations are helping to accelerate militants' surrender to authorities, officials say.
The movement has so far brought its calls for peace from Helmand to Kabul, Kandahar, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Balkh, Kunduz, Uruzgan, Baghlan, Khost and Herat provinces.