The Taliban were founded in 1994 in order to impose a puritanical Islamic order on Afghanistan. A 2018 estimate by Afghan and U.S. officials gauged that the Taliban included at least 60,000 fighters.These numbers have allowed the Taliban to remain a credible fighting force with the ability to win and hold territory. According to an October 2018 report, the Taliban controlled more territory in Afghanistan than it had since 2001, up to 45% of the country. The Taliban have operated as an insurgent force, attempting to expel NATO forces from Afghanistan and defeat the democratically elected Afghan government. As Western forces have begun to withdraw from the country in recent years and government authority has weakened, Taliban forces have filled the vacuum.