Taliban Afghanistan and their Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan

Afghanistan establishment of Islamic Emirate of (IEA)

The Afghanistan establishment of Islamic Emirate of (IEA) was the preliminary political and religious effort of Taliban in Afghanistan to change the structure of the erstwhile following the Afghan civil war. Initially, their efforts did not bear fruits. Following the occupancy of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul in September 1996, Taliban set up the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that was founded on a two-tier system of governance system, viz., a politico-military and religious leadership body popularly known as the ‘Supreme Council’ in Kandahar along with a policy-making office known as the ‘Council of Ministers’ in the capital of Afghanistan

Politico-Religious Background of Taliban Afghanistan

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by Taliban originated from Kandahar and finally controlled Kabul in 1996. By the end of 2000, they ruled more than 90% of Afghanistan, except for their rival, namely ‘Northern Alliance’ who ruled the northern part, i.e. province of Badakhshan. The territories ruled by Taliban were the key cities of Afghanistan as well as connected directly to the country’s highways. Nevertheless, the tribal warlords directly controlled some small cities, townships, and countrysides. IEA imposed an Islamic Sharia law in entire Afghanistan.

Throughout their five years rule over Afghanistan, the women were not allowed to take up jobs and they were required to observe veil in public places. Many communists were penalized and thieves, as well as robbers, were given harsh punishment. However, Taliban were successful in getting rid of opium production from the country by 2001.

 Majority of the cabinet ministers and deputies held government posts were military commanders who could quit their administrative positions and return to the battlefields. However, there were administrative problems when some of these leaders had unforeseen circumstances and contingencies. Nationwide, the majority of government posts were held by Pashtuns, i.e. the majority populace of the country. Nevertheless, some Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras were also part of Taliban regime.

According to a political analyst Ahmed Rashid, Taliban regime was “a secret society run by Kandaharis mysteriously”. Taliban did not believe in the western-based democracy as explained by their spokesman.

 The Sharia does not allow politics or political parties. That is why we give no salaries to officials or soldiers, just food, clothes, shoes, and weapons. We want to live a life like the Prophet lived 1400 years ago, and Jihad is our right. We want to recreate the time of the Prophet, and we are only carrying out what the Afghan people have wanted for the past 14 years.

taliban flag

Politico-Religious Objectives of Islamic Emirates of Aghanistan

The narratives of the emergence of Taliban reveals them as being seminary students in Pakistan, who were forced by their fellow countrymen in Afghanistan to abandon their studies to support them in the ongoing civil war in the country. The disorder and anarchy were rife in the country at the beginning of the 1990s. The erstwhile Mujahidin were engaged in a deadly civil war following the exit of the Russians from the country. As stated by Mullah Wakil Ahmed, some local leaders, particularly in Kandahar, formed armed gangs that fought each other. There were widespread corruption and theft, and there were roadblocks everywhere.

Women were being attacked, raped and killed. Therefore, after these incidents, a group of students from religious schools decided to rise against these leaders to alleviate the suffering of the residents of Kandahar province.

Taliban showed extreme piousness with high regard for humanitarian compulsion to achieve their objectives. A narrative showed the establishment of Taliban as stated by scholar Ahmed Rashid who stated that in 1994, Mullah Omar helped to rescue two young girls who were abducted and assaulted in a military garrison in Sangesar. Moreover, some months later, the troops of Mullah Omar also rescued a young boy who was a victim of two commanders fighting in Kandahar. “Omar did not want any reward for those deeds. He only wanted to establish a government with a strong Islamic orientation. Hence, his prestige among the Afghans rose sharply”.

 Nevertheless, the crucial rise of Taliban was the outcome of intense support of neighbouring Pakistan. As, it would help Pakistan to have safe western frontiers as well as land routes connecting Central Asian countries. In 2004, the government of Pakistan supported the militia of Omar to rescue a convoy from a group of bandits outside Kandahar. Following the tremendous achievement of the military assault, “the government of Pakistan made Taliban under its sponsor”. Consequently, the militia of Mullah Omar invaded almost the whole of Afghanistan.

 The immediate “aim of Taliban was to disarm opponents, fight against those who refused to surrender, enforce Islamic laws in the country, and keep the retention of all the invaded areas”. To gain a stronghold of the country, they tried to enforce Islamic Sharia, as their rivals failed to deliver such conception for the future outlook of the country. The key objective of Taliban was the empowerment of Islamic movements across the country. The government was directly linked to civil society; its objective was not only political but also legal and moral authority. However, the Islamists did involve in politics and worked for the betterment of the masses.

Constitution Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan and Taliban Afghanistan

In 1998, the head of Taliban Government Mullah Omar called a meeting of several hundred politico-religious scholars to prepare a constitution of the country. The scholars attended the meeting from every nook and corner of Afghanistan. They were accommodated for three days at the abandoned presidential palace that was never used by Omar. The officials divided the scholars into groups to examine the constitution, strike down what they believed to be against Islamic laws and then suggest a copy of the constitution they support. The document proposed by the respective scholars was simply a codification of the modus operandi of Taliban governing the country.

The constitution envisaged a ‘Supreme Emir’ as the ruler of the country, though it did not mention how he would be chosen. The ‘Emir’ would work with a group of the council of ministers who would be responsible to report the matters to him. The constitution stated that nothing could go against the dictates of Islam and proclaimed that Islam was the official religion of Afghanistan.

The constitution of Afghanistan left several issues to the interpretation of Sharia. It promised its citizens freedom, provided it did not infringe upon others’ freedom and liberty and did not infringe Islamic principles. It envisioned justice to people without the application of intimidation or suffering as well as freedom of thought and expression within the limits of Islamic laws. The constitution of Afghanistan consisted of a clause on telecom privacy to the people, when at that time telephones and electricity was rare in the country. Moreover, the constitution outlined compulsory military service and education to all citizens. The education of women within the limits of Islamic Shariah was also outlined through a special law.

International Relations of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan

The countries that recognized IEA were the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The relationship between IEA and the neighbouring country Iran got worsened in 1998 when Taliban occupied the consulate of Iran at Mazar-i-Sharif and killed several diplomats. After the event, Iran wanted to invade Afghanistan but was prevented by the UN and the USA.

However, one rationale for the lack of recognition of Taliban regime in Afghanistan by the world was the so-called disregard of human rights violations in the country. When Taliban took the reign of the country, they executed President Najibullah. The President took refuge in the UN compound in Kabul, nevertheless, Taliban were able to kill him. The world community got furious since Taliban acted against international law by storming the UN compound.

Another reason for the non-recognition of Taliban was the killing of Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan. Moreover, in 1998, Taliban openly supported the Islamic groups in Palestine, Chechnya, Indian-held Kashmir, and China. In 2001, Taliban regime even gave recognition to the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and established diplomatic ties with the country.

Governance of Taliban Afganistan

Taliban took the reign of Afghanistan with the key objective to cleanse respective societies from notorious criminals and to make it peaceful. The Islamic tone was preponderant in their political governance. In 1996, the head of the country, Mullah Muhammad Omar was proclaimed ‘Amir-ulMomineen’ by some 1200 Islamic jurisprudence experts. As well, Taliban renamed the name of the country from the erstwhile ‘Islamic State of Afghanistan’ to ‘Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan’. The political structure in the country was run under the name of Shura that pointed out the Islamic tone of the political system of consultation among the selected members.

According to Peter Marsden (1999), the vision of Mullah Omar was, “His main goal was to get rid Afghanistan of corrupt, western-oriented time-servers”. Accordingly, there were three governing bodies of Shura in Afghanistan, i.e. 1) Kandahar – The Central Shura, 2) Kabul Shura, and 3) Military Shura. The Central Shura at Kandahar was empowered to take all political decisions. Moreover, all provincial governors were appointed by the Central Shura. “The distinctive feature of the governance of Taliban was that there existed no demarcation between the military commanders and the minister who could hold both the offices at the same time”

Islamic Approach

According to their Islamic objective, the first and foremost task of Taliban was to announce Islamic Sharia in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. To eliminate all kinds of crimes and warring groups from the country, a strong united and powerful Islamic regime was vital to run the country smoothly. Besides, IEA regime consisted of 20 ministries that were given the task to work for the realization of Islamic laws in their true spirit.

 Among the ministries, the key ministry of Religious Affairs was most prominent. The Ministry of Religious Affairs set up a law enforcement agency titled ‘Amar Bin Maroof Nahi Anil Munkir’. Besides, the ministry was given the task for the detailed and complete implementation of the Islamic penal system to be applied to criminals and war-mongers. The acting foreign minister of Afghanistan stated that the enforcement of Sharia’s Hudood had made the lives and properties of the countrymen secure. No one could dare to commit crimes in any part of the country. He further stated that Allah Almighty has ordained to His Prophet Muhammad “Those who consider the imposition of this law against human rights are insulting all Muslims and their beliefs”.

It shows the strong beliefs of Islamic principles in Taliban and their firm application of Islamic laws in the country to ensure peace, security, and safety of common people. Hence, the public hanging of criminals, speedy justice and spot trials were frequent through Taliban rule which brought peace in the country. Their rivals acknowledged the fact that “robbery, rape, and murder had virtually vanished from Kabul since the first accused thief has been amputated”

Bamyan Statues’ Issue

At first, Taliban expressed no opposition towards the cultural objects of other religions. In 2000, they did not object to the Afghan National Museum administrators for the exhibition of cultural objects of other religions that included Neolithic figurines, Hindu objects, as well as Indian and Greek inventories in Bamyan. The art inventories were nevertheless plundered during the civil war in the country that included ancient art articles and thousands of gold coins worth millions of dollars from the National Museum.

But, on 26th February 2001, Taliban issued an official policy that the cultural icons, shrines would be destroyed so that no one would show respect and revered them, i.e. “All shrines must be annihilated so that no one can worship or respect them in future”

Following the official policy, Taliban carried out mass destruction of cultural icons. As the head of the Afghan National Museum stated, “From afternoon till evening they broke statutes… A few days later, they came back and they followed the same procedure. They came back many times”. Consequently, the action by Taliban led to a global condemnation against IEA.

Also, the head of the UN called those events in Afghanistan deplorable. The Islamic body, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other world organizations tried to save cultural relics in Afghanistan, especially, Bamiyan Statutes, but could not prevent their destruction. Many Asian countries like, Japan and Sri Lanka who had a close affinity with the Buddha relics requested IEA, but their request went in vain

Collapse Taliban Afganistan and Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan

Taliban regime became very unpopular amongst Western countries who considered it dangerous to their interests in the region. The issue of Bamiyan Statue and the rejection to hand over Osama Bin Laden to the USA worsened the relations with the West. Osama Bin Laden was considered as the prime attacker on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Initially, the US administration took some time to see how to handle the new regime in Afghanistan. The Americans were averse to IEA from the beginning. It tried to gather a uniform policy to tackle the growing power of IEA. It called upon like-minded countries of the West to work under its leadership to destabilize the newly formed government in Afghanistan.

The preliminary approach of the USA and other Western countries was to safeguard their commercial interest regarding Petro carbon reserves of Central Asian countries bordering Afghanistan. Indeed, their main concern was the safe transportation of oil and gas through Afghanistan bypassing the Russian routes.

However, the fall of Kabul to Taliban alarmed the USA and its allies, and they put immense pressure on the new regime to be toppled immediately. Hence, the USA blamed IEA of harbouring terrorists in the country which pose danger to the USA as well as its interests all over the world. Moreover, the USA wanted Osama Bin Laden, once its hero, should be expelled from the country.

Consequently, the USA with the support of several NATO countries attacked various Afghan cities to destroy the so-called terrorist camps. Moreover, the USA put pressure on the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to hand over Osama. Besides, the USA blamed IEA for gross human rights violations in the country. So, Osama Bin Laden became the main irritant to the USA. Ultimately, with the 9/11 events, the USA was convinced that the destructive event took place as a result of the machinations of Al-Qaeda headed by Osama

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