When the Societ Union imploded in the early 1990's, the Russian de facto invasion - and support for the government of - Afghanistan collapsed. Although this might be seen as a good thing, in many ways the problems ere only just starting. Tribal militias and warlords - the Mujahideen - had been bankrolled and supplied with weaponry by the US for years (to the tune of US$30m in 1977, rising to US$300m in 1991) and they simply turned these resources to the more traditional Afghan pastimes of tribal feuding, banditry, and cultivating opium.
In the southern, Pashtun, regions, a group of local religious students (the word Talib means student, hence Taliban) grew tired of a local warlord with a penchant for male rape and decided to take up arms to oppose him. Sadly, they didn't have the resources to do so until a local Pashtun tribal leader made a gift to them of US$50,000 and a load of weaponry. This was enough to start the ball rolling. The Taliban expanded rapidly, attracting fighters tired of the banditry and warlords who plagued the country and also attracting devout Muslims from other countries who supported the idea of creating a Muslim state in Afghanistan. The expat soldiers largely passed through a clearing house in Pakistan called "the Base" - that translates as Al-Queda to you and me.
The tribal leader who made the initial donation was rewarded by first becoming a close advisor to Mullah Omar (the Taliban leader) and then, after most of Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban, he was offered the position of Taliban Ambassador to the UN.
The name of this tribal leader who bankrolled the foundation of the Taliban, was a close member of their inner council, and was their putative UN ambassador?
Hamid Karzai, the US-backed, pro-Democracy, anti-Taliban President of Afghanistan.
It's a funny old world, isn't it?
Thanks to davywavy for the information.