The word Taliban is Pashto, طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loanword from Arabic طالب ṭālib, plus the Persian plural ending -ān ان (the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb, whereas طالبان ṭālibān is a dual form with the incongruous meaning, to Arabic speakers, of "two students"). Since becoming a loanword in English, Taliban, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has also been used as a singular noun referring to an individual. For example, John Walker Lindh has been referred to as "an American Taliban", rather than "an American Talib". In the English language newspapers of Pakistan, the word Talibans is often used when referring to more than one Taliban. The spelling Taliban has come to predominate over Taleban in English.
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