In this image taken off television by BBC Newsnight, Omar -- fourth from left -- attends a rally with Taliban troops before their victorious assault on Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, in 1996. The Taliban's aim is to impose its interpretation of Islamic law on Afghanistan and remove foreign influence from the country. Most of its members are Pashtun, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
Tanks manned by Taliban fighters are decorated with flowers in front of the presidential palace in Kabul on September 27, 1996.
Taliban soldiers in Russian-made tanks fire on the forces of former Afghan defense minister Ahmad Shah Massood in October 1996.
Afghan women in Kabul are covered head to toe in traditional burqas on October 16, 1996. After taking over Kabul, the ruling Taliban imposed strict Islamic laws on the Afghan people. Television, music and non-Islamic holidays were banned. Women were not allowed to attend school or work outside the home, and they were forbidden to travel alone.
Three women hitch a ride on the back of a donkey cart as they pass by the ruins of Kabul's former commercial district in November 1996.
This is an undated image believed to show the Taliban's former leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. In 1997, the Taliban issued an edict renaming Afghanistan the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The country was only officially recognized by three countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In 1997, Omar forged a relationship with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, pictured. Bin Laden then moved his base of operations to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
In March 2001, Taliban soldiers stand at the base of the mountain alcove where a Buddha statue once stood 170 feet high in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. The Taliban destroyed two 1,500-year-old Buddha figures in the town, saying they were idols that violated Islam.
After the 9/11 attacks, the United States conducted military strikes against al Qaeda training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime. In this long-exposure photo, a U.S. Navy fighter jet takes off from the deck of the USS Enterprise on October 7, 2001.
An Afghan anti-Taliban fighter pops up from his tank to spot a U.S. warplane bombing al Qaeda fighters in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan on December 10