Who are the Taliban?
The Taliban are the Islamic fundamentalist militant organization that refers to its governing region as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA). The term ‘Taliban’ comes from an Arabic word that means ‘Students’; they consider themselves devoted students of Islam. They consist predominantly of Pashtuns, Iranian ethnic groups, and natives of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban’s goal is to impose the Talibani mindset of a fundamentalist version of Sharia and Islamic laws and restore peace and security under their leadership across the Afghan region.
Being an Islamist fundamentalist insurgency troop, the Taliban believes that the Muslim majority countries must return to the founding scriptures of Islam. They believe Islam is a way of life and that there is no separation of politics and religion. They drew their political ideology and inspiration from Islamic tradition and symbols. Most Islamist extremist organizations’ leaders are usually members of the religious clergy. In such a way, the religious leaders controlled the nation imposing their version of interpretation of Islam.
The Taliban organization emerged as an insurgency group in the aftermath of the Afghan civil war 1992-1996, owing to the government’s failure to restore peace and order outside of Kabul. After surging movements, the Taliban regime seized and came into power in a specific part of the capital, Kabul, from the end of 1996 up to 2001. The U.S troops then overthrew the Taliban troops after occupying Afghanistan in 2001. However, after several years of insurgency, the Taliban regime regained its power on 15 August 2021 after seizing the Afghanistan government, backed up by the U.S army, and taking charge of the entire government of the whole of Afghanistan now.
The Taliban asserted a harsh interpretation of Islamic law and order since their reign of power. Taliban drew their ideology from Deobandi traditionalism and Wahhābī puritanism. The Taliban policies include excluding women and girls from public life, harsh criminal punishments such as execution, suppression of freedom of expression, religion, education, and the systematic destruction of non-Islamic artistic relics.
For instance, On 26 February 2001, the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, issued an order to destroy all non-Islamic sanctuaries and statues in Afghanistan. The historic demolition of the two largest giant Lord Buddha statues that survived thousands of years in the Bamiyan valley of central Afghanistan became an international outrage. Almost all parts of the world condemned such an act.
The Taliban regime and its brutal terrorist conduct and acts were met with global criticism. The Taliban government and its cruel agenda overpower the political rights of its citizen.
Women under the Taliban regime
The Taliban decreed women and girl children not to appear in public places. They prevented the girl child above ten years of age from attending classes and school and restricted to use of social media such as tik Tok. The Taliban government has portrayed such an act as based on religious principles; however, many Muslim activists and scholars have condemned such an act that gender-based denial has no religious justification.
Women were not allowed to use media, music, and entertainment and were prohibited from working outside their homes. According to Amnesty International reports, there has been drastically increased in the number of women arrested for violation of these harmful and discriminatory rules imposed on women.
Women were also forced not to be seen in public alone but with a male chaperone, and they must completely cover their bodies from head to toe. Furthermore, women were instructed not to travel more than 45 miles without the company of a male escort and must be relative to the women. The Taliban rule has stripped women’s rights and continues to take control of their lives in Afghan society. Unfortunately, women have become the subject of multiple forms of gender-based discrimination under the Taliban regime.
After the Taliban swept to power, they imposed their harsh interpretation of Islam law and order. According to UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the world has witnessed the Taliban’s terrorist acts resulting in extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, and, most importantly, erosion and violation of human rights. For instance, on August 2021, the Taliban troops executed 13 people in Daikundi province, massacred 20 civilians in Panjshir valley, and Hazara farmers were forced to leave off their lands. Additionally, journalists were detained in charge of violating Taliban rule.
While the Taliban government pledged to free women and respect their rights, in reality, women lived under the fears and threats of the Taliban government. The Taliban government poses a significant threat to human rights principles and is well known for its brutal practices among civilians worldwide. Under the Taliban regime, freedom of speech and the media are restricted with the belief that they might invoke Islamic law.
The Taliban government has not given importance to education; instead, the children were used to recruit, and child fighters were given guns. Moreover, the Taliban used children to carry out dangerous attacks, suicide bombings, and others.
The teaching of Islam is the backbone of many Islamist extremist groups. Militant Islam is of the view that the West, mainly the U.S, is a threat to Islam and Muslim countries. These militant groups believed in Islamic fundamentalism, so they sought to institutionalize Islamic laws and impose a strict code of behavior upon the citizens. Islamic fundamentalist movements have sprung up in several Muslim-dominated places, including India. For instance, the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, a designated terrorist organization, was formed in Aligarh with the mission to liberalize India by converting India into an Islamic land.
Taliban and Al Qaeda
The Taliban and Al Qaeda are two different Islamic extremist militant groups. Many organizations worldwide condemned both groups for conducting terrorist acts based on religious motives by fundamentalist Islamic extremist leaders. It was in the wake of the September 9/11 U.S. terrorist attacks by AL Qaeda, then U.S President Bush accused the Taliban of having a close relationship with Osama Bin Laden and his AL-Qaeda movements. And when the Taliban came back to power in 2021, the revival of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Yemen, Syria, and Somalia, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, cheered over the fall down of the Afghanistan government, backed up by ‘the U.S. army.’
Talabani mindset/ Talibanization
A shocking incident happened in India’s Udaipur District of Rajasthan state on 28 June 2022. A Hindu tailor named Kanhaiya Lal Teli, 48 years of age, was brutally murdered by two Muslim extremists, Riaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad. The unfortunate incident was conducted over the prophet’s remark.
Lal was beheaded during the broad daylight inside his tailor shop. The assailants allegedly killed Lal as an act of revenge over his social media post in support of BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma who made the controversial comment about the prophet Muhammad. Even more, shocking is that the crime was recorded and posted on social media as an act of revenge for insulting Islam. Such horrific news stirred up the whole nation. Various news channels and social media lamented it as India’s Talibanization’ and often described Udaipur killing incident as Talabani-style murder.
The nation condemned such an act and questioned the Taliban mindset, which is believed to be responsible for Islamic extremist activities. Talibani mindset is one of the significant reasons for Hindu minority killings and temple desecration in Pakistan and Afghanistan.