Despite soothing words, the Taliban are much as they were

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During five years in power until 2001, he banished women from their homes, banned music and most sports, and imposed pitiful punishments on criminals. Adulterers were stoned in public; The thieves’ hands were cut off. The criminals were hanged for all to see.

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Anything that did not fit his rigid interpretation of Sharia was a goal. They blew up the centuries-old Buddhas of Bamiyan, because they saw art that depicted the human form as a disrespect to God.

The Taliban came from a rural, deeply conservative setting – where their notion of religious purity and sacred cultural traditions could offer the modern world: education, technology, discourse, the idea of ​​choice.


He believes that his success was God-given. Anas Haqqani, a member of Afghanistan’s most powerful family, told Granthshala that the Taliban “succeeded against 52. [countries]. It is not because of earthly plan; This is because of the blessing of faith.”

After this it happened that there would be only one motivation to run the country. Khalil Haqqani – Anas’ uncle and a minister in the interim government – told a tribal summit in Kabul: “The aim was to create a purely Islamic government in Afghanistan, a government focused on justice and whose laws are divine. It will be based on a book by God and his prophet. That book is the Holy Quran.”

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The Taliban also sees itself as the leader of a national insurgency in which Afghans have thrown out a foreign culture imposed by foreigners. Anas Haqqani told Granthshala that the West “should not try to impose its culture and ideas/beliefs on Afghans.” A chilling message to the many Afghans who value the independence of the past 20 years.

The Taliban really believe they defeated the US – and that’s strong enough for their ideology. Haqqani compares Taliban to George Washington, tells Granthshala he had “liberated”[d] his homeland; He had defeated the British; He got freedom from them. Here our elders are heroes for their country… They have liberated their land; They have protected their religion and honour.”

Popular roots claim

A Taliban spokesman said on August 15 that he would have surprised the world when the group moved to Kabul, but not himself “because we have our roots among the people.”

In their Southern hearts and among small farmers, this is true. In cities, and especially in Kabul, less. For all the corruption and nepotism of US-backed governments in Afghanistan, the health, wealth and education of Afghans have improved in almost every metric in the 20 years since the Taliban came to power. A vibrant independent media expressed a wide range of views; Private universities flourished. An entire generation of Afghans tasted freedom.

A Taliban fighter guards a street in Herat on August 14, 2021.

As they moved from province to province, the Taliban floated the prospect of a more tolerant reincarnation. The word “inclusive” slipped from the lips of their spokespersons; He let most of the soldiers go home instead of killing them. He promised an apology for all opponents.

Afghan women judges hide for fear of reprisal from jailed men

The day the Taliban entered Kabul, Suhail Shaheen, now the Taliban’s proposed envoy to the United Nations, assured Granthshala that the girls would be educated until university age.

and in the following days they evicted the last The government had made a big show of talking to former president Hamid Karzai and former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah. Tribal meetings were held in Kabul.

The reality is looking very different. The conversation with Karzai and Abdullah evaporated. Their personal security remains weak. The caretaker government had a stockpile of experienced radicals. There were no women in government, nor in any public office; The Ministry of Women became the Ministry for the Protection of Virtue.

Very quickly the protests were suppressed – and outlawed unless approved by the Ministry of the Interior. Afghanistan player made to come out, a dozen.

The Taliban offered the promise of security – in response to the insecurity they themselves had created. His latest publication is titled: “Security and Stability Pervasive Across Afghanistan.”

As Anas Haqqani rhetorically asked about the years of the civil war: “Was it better that 200 people were being killed every day?”

Taliban troops attack Masood forces in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 16, 1996.

Murders — and kidnappings

After four kidnappers were killed in Herat, their bodies were hung from cranes as an example for others. The bodies of other kidnappers were dumped in a square in Mazar-e-Sharif. A Taliban ideologue has defended amputation as a punishment.

This is justified in the name of social peace. “Now peace has arrived – what the people of the world wanted,” Haqqani said. “100% peace has come, there is security, thieves have disappeared, not a ceasefire, but the war is over.”

Thieves may be disappearing, but ISIS apparently is not. IS Khorasan – which views the Taliban as an apostate regime – has carried out attacks in Jalalabad, Kabul and Kunduz since the Taliban came to power – with the aim of showing that the Taliban cannot provide security and attack minorities. is ‘soft’. as Shia. IS Khorasan has no such shame, as evidenced by last Friday’s attack on a Shia mosque in Kunduz. The Taliban’s reputation for bringing peace and security will depend on their ability to paralyze IS-Khorasan, a group that has thwarted intense efforts to destroy it over the past five years.

Women return to work, school and the streets in Kabul to protest the Taliban

He has also promised to end corruption, claiming that the US has “handed over the reins of power to the great thieves and corrupt people who bullied vendors and farmers and charged royalties.”

As for the bright promises of August, some “re-evaluation” has happened. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Granthshala in August? September?: “We haven’t decided on women’s affairs or rights yet, but we are discussing.” He said that various transport and education arrangements were necessary.

Simply put, their worldview is the exact opposite of that of Western democracies.

Anas Haqqani argued that the freedoms that women have elsewhere are not real freedoms, telling Granthshala: “Women are our mothers, our sisters and our daughters. There is respect for women in this country – no more than anyone in the world.” They don’t have that. Look – in the West you have forced them to become servants.”

The Taliban’s military victory was so complete that they had little incentive to negotiate or negotiate with the Afghan warlords. From social activists, insurgents in the Panjshir Valley, or Salafists practicing Islam separate from the Taliban, they have moved swiftly to quell dissent.

But the group is not a monolith. Prolonged internal debate over government formation sparked disagreements, while tensions between pragmatic political leaders and doctrinaire military commanders are being won over by fanatical militarists.

This in itself can limit the leadership’s room to maneuver on women’s rights, election and media freedom, even if they choose to make a liberal gesture. In the past, some Taliban have joined even more militant groups – and ISIS in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan has been waiting for an opportunity to recruit disaffected people if the Taliban quell their fundamentalism.

There is every possibility that the Taliban elite in Kabul will be less noisy when challenged on these issues by foreign media and governments, while for the Afghan people – far from the eyes of the international community – will be harsher.

Two months after entering the presidential palace, evidence suggests that it is not Taliban 2.0 that is running Afghanistan as Taliban 1.1.


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