UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - Government

Afghanistan FlagTaliban fighters entered Kabul on 15 August 2021 and sought the unconditional surrender of the central government, officials said, as Afghans and foreigners alike raced for the exit, signaling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, established in 1996, is not to be confused with the Emirate of Afghanistan (1823–1926) and Emirate of Afghanistan (1929), Islamic State of Afghanistan (1992–2002), or Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2004–2021).

The Taliban have at times been credited with being good at maintaining security – albeit through very heavy-handed means – and providing efficient forms of traditional justice, but they had little to no technocratic understanding of how to perform the other functions of government. With an exodus of people, one vulnerability could be an insufficient number of professionals and people in the technocratic cadres to run state institutions. The group will likely struggle to provide effective governance to the people of the country as the government does not have much revenue to spend on public services.

The Taliban demanded a new constitution for Afghanistan and promised an "inclusive Islamic system" to govern the war-torn country at a rare gathering with senior Afghan politicians in Russia on 05 February 2019 that excluded the Kabul government. "The Kabul government constitution is invalid. It has been imported from the West and is an obstacle to peace," Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who headed the Taliban delegation, told attendees at a central Moscow hotel. "It is conflicted. We want an Islamic constitution," he said, adding that the new charter would be drafted by Islamic scholars.

Afghanistan may be governed by a ruling council now that the Taliban has taken over, while the militant movement's supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, would likely remain in overall charge, a senior member of the group said 18 August 2021. Many issues regarding how the Taliban would run Afghanistan have yet to be finalised, but Afghanistan would not be a democracy, said Waheedullah Hashimi, who has access to the group's decision-making. "There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country," he said. "We will not discuss what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is sharia law and that is it."

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, also known as the Taliban regime, established the theocracy of the Islamic Emirate. The Taliban regime was established in 1996 and ule Afghanistan for five years, until it was expelled from Kabul in late 2001. In its heyday, the Taliban never effectively ruled the entire territory of Afghanistan; about 10% of the northeast of the country was controlled by the United Islamic National Salvation Front of Afghanistan (commonly known as the "Northern Alliance").

During its initial rule, the Taliban pursued radical policies, banned women from working, closed off to the outside world, and regressed living standards. Afghanistan became one of the countries with the highest illiteracy rate. Taliban rule was very popular at the beginning, but the five-year civil war and the massacre of the Hazara increased public grievances. After the September 11th Incident, the Afghan War broke out and the Taliban regime collapsed under the offensive of the British-American coalition forces and the Northern Alliance.

Since the income of opium poppy is 10 times that of barley, the cultivation of opium poppy provides a stable income for farmers and taxation for the government, which has become the economic foundation of Afghanistan.

Islam is the most important unifying force within Afghan society, and the teachings of Islam have profoundly influenced the social and cultural characteristics of the Afghans. The Muslims constitute over ninety-nine percent of the population, the remaining population being Hindu and a few thousand Jews. About four-fifths of the Muslims of Afghanistan are followers of the orthodox Sunni Islam and most of the remaining are followers of the Shi’a sect. The leading religious groups of Afghanistan are Mullahs, Qadis, Sadat (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, real or alleged), Khwaja, Sahibzada, Pir, and Fuqara. Learned among them are the Islamic scholars (Ulema) who consist of the Mullahs, Wadis, and Muftis (jurisconsults). There is no organized system to determine the power and influence of the religious leaders; Afghanistan is almost wholly governed by local patterns and the personal attributes of the Mullahs.

Afghanistan was in a state of virtual disintegration just before the Taliban emerged at the end of 1994. The country was divided into warlord fiefdoms, and all of the warlords had fought, switched sides, and fought again in a bewildering array of alliances, betrayals, and bloodshed. Mullah Mohammed Ghaus, the one-eyed Foreign Minister of the Taliban said : “ We would sit for a long time to discuss how to change the terrible situation. Before we started we had only vague ideas of what to do and we thought we would fail. Many of Mujahedin were searching for a solution.” After much discussion these divergent but deeply concerned group of Islamic resistance fighters chalked out an agenda which framed Taliban’s declared aims,- to: restore peace, disarm the population, enforce Sharia law, and defend the integrity and Islamic character of Afghanistan.

As most of them were part-time or full-time students at Madrassas, the name they chose for themselves was natural. A talib is an Islamic student, one who seeks knowledge, as compared to the mullah who is one who gives knowledge. By choosing this name the Taliban distanced themselves from the party politics of the Mujahedin and signaled that they were a movement for cleansing society, rather than a party trying to grab power.

The Taliban immediately implemented the strictest interpretation of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world. They closed down girls’ schools and banned women from working outside the home, smashed TV sets, forbade a whole array of sports and recreational activities, and ordered all males to grow long beards. TV, videos, satellite dishes, music, and all games including chess, football, and kite -flying were banned. Taliban soldiers stood on main streets arresting men without beards.

The Taliban set up a six-man Shura to rule Kabul, which was dominated by Durrani Pashtuns and did not include a single Kabuli. None of the Sbura members had ever lived in a large city, but they were now running a vibrant, semi-modern, multi-ethnic city of 1.2 million people in which Pashtuns were only a small minority.

Soon after the Taliban took over Mazar in May 1997, the government of Pakistan recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan and persuadeding Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to follow suit.

The Taliban never gave an indication to how and when they would set up a more permanent representative government, whether they would set up a more permanent representative government, whether they would have a constitution or not, and how political power would be divided. To implement his decisions Mullah Omar relied less on the Kabul government and increasingly upon the Kandahari ulema and the religious police in Kabul. Mulavi Said Mohammed Passion, the Chief Justice of Kandahar’s Islamic Supreme Court, who had taught Omar the basics of Sharia law during the jihad, became a key advisor to Omar.

The Kandahar Islamic Supreme Court became the most important court in the country because of its proximity to Omar. The Court appointed Islamic judges, Qazis, and Assistant Qazis in the provinces, and once or twice a year assembled them all in Kandahar to discuss cases and the application of Sharif law. A parallel system existed in Kabul where the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court of Afghanistan were based.

Customary law or Rawaj is an institution which resists the process of social, political, and economic integration. This type of law varies from tribe to tribe and from region to region; in general, it institutionalized local socioeconomic interests. It often not only circumvents the laws of the country, but also modified certain tenets of Islamic law, especially in matters of marriage, inheritance, and women’s rights. Each tribe has its own code of conduct regulated by a local assembly of elders (provincial Jirga).

The Taliban held sway in Afghanistan until October 2001, when they were seemingly routed from power by the US-led campaign against al-Qa‘ida. On 22 December 2001 Pashtun royalist Hamid Karzai was sworn in as head of a 30 member interim power-sharing government.

The end of the American occupation and establishment of an Islamic system was the lofty objective of the Islamic Emirate. Establishment of official venue for the Islamic Emirate; removal of blacklist and prize list; release of prisoners and ending poisonous propaganda are among the preliminary steps needed for peace.

Islamic Emirate considered it its obligation, on the call of its faith and conscious, to serve the Afghan people. The Islamic Emirate is committed to civil activities; to freedom of speech and to women’s rights in the light of Islamic rules, national interests and values. It considers it its responsibility to provide to the sons of the nation access to education and protect and construct national installations and assets of public benefit.

The unity of Muslims is very important in Islam. Many verses in the Holy Qur'an emphasize the need and importance of unity. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) advised his ummah to listen to the words of the Amir and obey him, whether you are in difficulty or in ease, that is, whether it is difficult or easy. In a difficult situation, or in a comfortable, easy or comfortable position, the ummah must obey him. Listen to him. Or do not listen to the talk, do not disagree and do not put differences and differences in the true group. In short, since the ruler of the Muslims is the caliph of Allah on earth, obedience to him is obligatory. Allah says: That is, obey God, His Messenger, and his leaders.

The Taliban tried to establish a so-called "true Islamic country" and adopted a series of extremely radical measures, declaring that they would "restore the traditional way of life of Islam." The government stipulates that citizens must wear traditional Islamic clothing, men must wear beards, and Western-style long hair must not be worn.

The Taliban established religious police to supervise the implementation of Shariah laws. In addition, they also closed movie theaters and television stations, banned the use of the Internet and played Western music. The Taliban claimed that the law was based on the Koran, such as stoning adulterers to death; public executions of murderers.

It was makrooh to buy and sell sex products that have the same nature as sin and guilt, such as TV, VCRs, red albums, and other means of sin. Makruh (transliterated: makrooh) is a disliked or offensive act (literally "detestable" or "abominable"). Though a makruh act is not haram (forbidden) or subject to punishment, a person who abstains from this act will be rewarded. In this case, the non-customer is considered to be a sinner and it seems that he will use these things in illicit matters. Selling them is disgusting. If the customer is the right person, and the seller thinks that these items are not used in sin, then it is permissible.

Women must wear a veil when they go out, and they must not go out without the accompaniment of male relatives. The Taliban deprived women of their basic rights. Women cannot go to work or receive education, close girls’ schools and Kabul University, and prohibit women from participating in sports competitions. Since about 70% of teachers in Afghanistan are women, women’s ban on work has caused many schoolchildren to lose access to education, and Afghanistan has become one of the countries with the highest illiteracy rate. Public places are almost completely isolated from contact between men and women, and many female patients lost treatment opportunities because they are prohibited from contacting male doctors.

Islam has instructed women to stay indoors as long as possible, due to the fact that they are allowed to do so with a number of restrictions, such as wearing perfume when leaving, and commanding women to be in the middle of the street. No, it will go to the side of the road, it will not enter the crowd of men, if it needs to go out, the whole body will be wrapped in a chador or a long scarf or a thick colored cloth (it is enough to leave one eye open to see the road). Today, young girls wear so-called headscarves that are too thin to wear the shawl. The Qur'an does not refer to any of the ornaments mentioned in the Qur'an. Women who go out of the house for any reason should not wear any ornaments with a non-mahram. If there is a need to speak, there will be very few, she will end up answering yes or no, she will not use the tone of elegance and preference in the conversation, as she is attracted by the ups and downs, this kind of tone was also attractive.

Afghanistan Analysts Network Senior Analyst, Kate Clark, who witnessed many of the events of that time, not just the fall of the Taleban but the first stirrings of uprising, said the problem was not that the Taleban were excluded from the Bonn Conference in 2001, or from subsequent discussions on the future of the country, but that they were actively persecuted.

There were many attempts at surrender, most importantly on 5 December 2001 when the Taleban defence minister, Mullah Obaidullah, allegedly acting with Mullah Omar’s permission, delivered a letter to Hamed Karzai, who had just been selected by the Bonn Conference as Afghanistan’s interim leader. This letter, reported Anand Gopal, acknowledged the Islamic Emirate had no chance of surviving and accepted Karzai’s leadership. The Taleban’s main request, he said, was ‘to be given immunity from arrest in exchange for agreeing to abstain from political life.’

The deputy commander of ISAF in 2013, General Carter, told The Guardian that mistakes were made early on in the intervention: "Back in 2002, the Taliban were on the run. I think that at that stage, if we had been very prescient, we might have spotted that a final political solution to what started in 2001, from our perspective, would have involved getting all Afghans to sit at the table and talk about their future.’"

It would be difficult for those who were not in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 to realise how thorough, complete and popular the Taleban defeat was. It was not just military, but political and emotional. Most Taleban accepted their world had changed.

Mullah Omar and Mullah Dadullah issued calls for jihad in early 2003. They were chilling (they were accompanied by the nasty murder of the ICRC engineer, Ricardo Munguia, in Uruzgan on the orders of Dadullah, in March 2003), but they fell on stony ground. It should be stressed how weirdly out of key they were with the country’s mood.

The Taleban fight may well have kicked off because of wrongs committed inside Afghanistan, but those who fled found a safe haven across the border in Pakistan and a narrative of oppression and resistance already fully formed. That safe haven and Pakistan’s backing helped forge an insurgency which was complex, well-funded and well-armed. It was also one which committed war crimes daily – killing civilians with recklessness or intention.

In arguably the most significant development in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region since the May 2011 death of al-Qa‘ida founder Usama Bin Ladin, the Taliban in July 2015 revealed that its reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had died in 2013. Omar, who was the president of Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule and a major Bin Ladin supporter, was wanted by the US Government through the Rewards for Justice program. Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansur, who was Omar’s second-in-command, in early August 2015 was selected as the new Taliban leader. Mansur is only the second leader that the group has ever had.

By 2017 the Taliban had nonetheless grown into a huge organisation, with a diversified military apparatus and a widespread governance structure. As fragmentation persisted, the different Shuras of the Taliban started evolving through somewhat separated paths: some more militaristic than others, for example, or some more centralised than others. Even the issue of reconciliation with Kabul was viewed very differently by the different shuras. To a large extent Taliban fragmentation is due to incompatible sources of funding in the region.

To help run the organization, the Taliban has several commissions (komisiuns), as highlighted in Figure 2. These commissions, which are based in Pakistan, are critical to performing the key tasks of running an insurgency and governing territory. After all, insurgency is a process of alternative state building, where insurgents provide governance to the population in areas they control. Leaders want to extract what they can from non-combatants to sustain their groups, such as information, food, housing, and supplies. Groups need to establish organizational structures that can secure funds through taxation and other means, organize policing, administer justice, and provide health benefits (including care to wounded fighters).

The Taliban’s primary commissions allow them to perform these tasks, including overseeing military strategy (Military Commission), running an extensive propaganda enterprise (Media Commission), raising funds (Commission for Financial Affairs), and overseeing peace negotiations (Political Commission).

The spread of the Taliban’s governance system unsurprisingly tended to follow rather closely the spread of the military forces of the Taliban. Some groups of Taliban did not believe much in governance and tended to invest less in it, or nothing at all. The Taliban’s governance system was originally rolled out in remote areas, but was in later years extended to more heavily populated areas as the territory controlled by the Afghan government has been shrinking after 2015.

"Thanks to the [US-led] coalition forces, it [the government] ruled and survived all these years. That the Taliban is making a spectacular comeback to claim power goes on to suggest that it never had lost its links with the masses all these years. Its victory should be seen as much a victory of the masses", Dr Amalendu Misra, senior lecturer in Politics, Philosophy, and Religion at Lancaster University in the UK insisted.

With the reestablishment of the Emirate in Afghanistan, the likely result is erasing all the progress that was made toward building democracy, and particularly, the rights of women and girls. As Seth Jones wrote in an article published by the Combatting Terrorism center at West Point, “The Taliban is in many ways a different organization from the one that governed Afghanistan in the 1990s. Yet most of their leaders are nevertheless committed to an extreme interpretation of Islam that is not shared by many Afghans, an autocratic political system that eschews democracy, and the persistence of relations with terrorist groups like al Qaeda.”

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 08-09-2021 13:20:33 ZULU