The Taliban captured Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on 15th August 2021. The President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country and the Afghan government collapsed in just one day. Later on 15th August 2021, the Taliban announced that they have entered the Presidential Palace, have taken control of the city, and established checkpoints.
In April 2021 US President Joe Biden had announced that US troops will leave Afghanistan by September 2021. The attacks by the Taliban were increasing and so was the pace of evacuating US military forces from Afghanistan. By the end of July 2021, the US evacuated about 95% of their force from Afghanistan, leaving just 650 troops for protecting the US embassy in Kabul.
Who Are The Taliban?
Taliban means “students” in the Pashto Language. Mullah Mohammad Omar in September of the year 1994 formed this group with mere 50 students. This group emerged around the southern city of Kandahar in Afghanistan. This was one of the groups fighting a civil war to gain control over the country, following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the government.
This group originally drew members from “Mujahideen” fighters. They were the same people who, with the support of the United States, repelled Soviet Forces in the 1980s. In just a few months, the group had around fifteen thousand people engaged.
Taliban attacked Kandahar on November 3rd in the year 1994 and conquered it. They went on to capture 12 Afghan provinces before January 4th in the year 1995. Within two years, the Taliban gained sole control over Afghanistan. They managed to conquer Herat on 5th September 1995 even after they were defeated by the Islamic State of Afghanistan while they were moving towards Kabul. They proclaimed the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan in the year 1996 with a harsh interpretation of Islamic Laws after gaining power over most parts of the country.
Taliban After Capturing Afghanistan
Taliban ruled in Afghanistan from the year 1996 to 2001. By the year 1998, the Taliban captured about 90% of Afghanistan and strict Sharia Law was imposed over the country. They became popular by rooting out the corruption from the country and the way they controlled lawlessness. The aim of this group during these years was to return the order of Abdur Rahman by the re-establishment of a state with Pashtun dominance.
On August 1st in the year 1997, they launched an attack on Sheberghan which was the main military base of Abdul Rashid Dostum. The attack was successful because it is stated that 1500 Pakistani commandos supported the attack.
Ideologies Of Taliban
The ideology of the Taliban is described as “an innovative form of Sharia law combining Pashtun Tribal codes”. Taliban have stated many times that they aim to restore the peace and security of Afghanistan and that can be done only by getting rid of western forces and enforcing Sharia or Islamic law. Taliban strictly enforced their ideologies in cities like Herat, Kabul, and Kandahar.
- The Taliban banned pork and alcohol in the country.
- Media-related activities like watching the television, listening to music, and surfing the internet were banned.
- Practices of many art forms including photography and sports such as football and chess were banned.
- Kite flying was also banned by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
- Celebration of any western festival including western and Iranian New Year was banned.
- Displaying pictures and portraits was forbidden as this was considered idolatry.
- Women were banned from working and girls were forbidden to attend schools and universities.
- Men were banned from shaving their beards and it was a must to wear turbans outside the household.
- Women were forced to wear Purdah and were forbidden to leave their household without any male blood relatives.
Shiites were killed and persecuted by the Taliban. The Shia Afghans mostly consist of Hazara Ethnic groups. Along with Shiites Muslims, the community of Christians was also persecuted by the Taliban. In the year 2001, it was announced by the Taliban that all Afghan Hindus will have to wear a certain kind of badge. This was compared to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. While the Taliban was controlling Afghanistan, they did not allow many reporters to question edicts or to discuss interpretations of the Quran.
The ideology of the Taliban has been compared to that of the 7th century Kharijites, who developed extreme doctrines that set them apart from both mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims. They were noted for adopting a harsh approach to Takfir. They declared other Muslims to be unbelievers and therefore worthy of death.
The punishment given by the Taliban to those who refused to act according to the rules they put forward was of a detrimental type. Executions were being done on open grounds and were seen by many people. Lashing women and men and stone-pelting were also common.
Particularly towards women, the Taliban behaved in a way that was far from humane. The beating of Afghan women in public by the Taliban people for not following rules was seen frequently. Women seeking education were forced to stay at home or attend underground schools. If caught, the teacher was at the risk of being executed. The Taliban allowed and encouraged the forced marriage of girls over the age of 15 and widows below 45.
Rooting Out And Coming Back Of Taliban
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States by AL-Qaeda, the US entered Kabul in November under the cover of heavy US Airstrikes. Since then, for 20 years, US military forces were posted in Afghanistan. These years turned out to be the most fruitful years for Afghan people as they were given their rights, especially women. Now that the Taliban is back, they have stated they want a “genuine Islamic System” for the country. Though they have talked about the equal rights of every being staying in the country, the desperation of Afghan people for leaving the country tells otherwise.
Afghanistan now risks becoming a Pariah State, as stated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The downfall in freedom could be seen in just a few days of Talibani rule in Afghanistan.
Once again, Afghanistan risks becoming a Pariah State, as stated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The downfall in freedom could be seen in just a few days of Talibani rule in Afghanistan. The history of Taliban rule is not crystal clear. Neither it was beneficial for citizens nor for the world. The years of oppression that Afghan people witnessed in the previous rule of the Taliban is scaring people. Afghanistan has always been a war zone for centuries and we think once again, it will suffer.