Earlier today, I came across the following headline:
It didn’t sound right to me. It hit me all at once — isn’t Taliban supposed to be the plural form?
I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up in the AP Stylebook. (Say what you want about the AP — it’s the preferred style for journalism.)
Taliban: Extreme Islamic Movement that ruled Afghanistan until driven out by U.S.-led coalition after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Arabic for religious students, it takes a plural verb. The singular is Talib.
The sentence should read, Taliban deny release of S Korean hostages.
It’s funny, but I swore I saw a headline on CNN.com today that had used Taliban in the singular sense. I just checked it again, and there was nothing.
As of 2007, the Taliban are still a dangerous force in Afghanistan, but I am hopeful that the organization will not last.