Who is Taliban 2.0?


The Taliban have promised to establish an open and inclusive government after their fighters control Kabul, but most observers worry that there will be little change in 20 years and expect the repressive theocracy in Afghanistan to resume quickly.

“No one’s life, property, or honour should be harmed, but must be protected by the jihadists,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen in Doha said in the latest news on Monday that Islamic fundamentalists are trying to assure Afghans that they will be safe. Say.

Before taking over Kabul, the Taliban’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda was already evident. In recent months’ diplomatic offensive against regional powers, the dazzling Taliban representatives pledged to respect women’s rights and control terrorist organizations on the territory of Afghanistan.

But experts say that despite the promise of reforms, the Taliban’s rule may resemble the dark days of the 1990s. At that time, women’s rights were almost cancelled, and cruel criminal punishments, including public executions, were the norm.

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, many of the current top leaders of the movement were in power. At that time, the U.S. military overthrew the regime after the attack on September 11. Al-Qaeda was an Islamic group linked to the Taliban. Extreme organization.

The Supreme Leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, is the “commander of believers” and was a religious advisor to Mullah Mohamed Omar, the founder of the Taliban. The other co-founder of the movement, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar) is currently the political leader of the Taliban and is expected to become president.

The Islamic organization issued a video statement as part of its use of more sophisticated propaganda techniques © Reuters

Hussein Haqqani, a senior researcher at the Hudson Institute, said: “The Taliban will be managed in the same way as they did before, with some modifications.” “Their goal is to implement Islam according to their understanding, not Develop a modern country.”

A few hours after Taliban fighters with rifles entered the presidential palace, a spokesperson for the organization announced that the “war is over” in Afghanistan. However, in the chaos following the military takeover of Kabul, it is unclear whether they will shape a new government through consensus or force.

“The Taliban face a dilemma. If they don’t join, then their regime lacks legitimacy from the start,” said Ariawal Adili, country director of the Afghanistan Analyst Network.

“Whether they negotiate to try to get the consent of the society remains to be seen. The second question is what kind of governance system they will establish,” Adili said in Kabul.

The Taliban have made it clear that they will re-establish an Islamic emirate of Afghanistan that strictly abides by the Sharia law, and has ruled out the possibility of holding elections.

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, associate professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, said that one unknown is whether the Taliban Central Command, which is committed to reform, can align lower-level field commanders.

“We don’t know if the Taliban center will gain a foothold, but it is indeed much stronger than many of us imagined,” she said.

Taliban fighters entered Kabul with a lot of resources. According to a report issued by the Overseas Development Institute, a London-based think tank, the organization’s income from opium poppy cultivation and the drug trade is still large, but for many years it pales in comparison to income from taxes on transit goods and fuel.

Afghan analyst David Mansfield said the Taliban’s impressive taxation reflects its administrative power, which undermines the importance of humanitarian assistance for its survival.

In the southern province of Nimruz, the market center for opium and illegal drugs, only 9% (US$5.1 million) of the Taliban’s funding came from drugs last year, while 80% (US$40.9 million) came from taxes on legal goods, Mansfield said .

Taliban fighters take a group photo while raising the flag

Taliban fighters victorious at the Governor’s Mansion in Ghazni on Sunday: Many people worry that the Taliban will implement a harsh regime, reminiscent of the brutality of the last time they took power in the 1990s © Gulabuddin Amiri/AP

Sajjan Gohel, an expert on South Asia issues at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said that even if the Taliban did create an inclusive government, it is likely to be temporary, and the end result is similar to the Iranian Islamic Revolution: “End theocratic rule and basically expel everyone else. time.”

“The Taliban are well versed in the media. The guy in Doha said he had no problem with women’s education, but what happened there was completely different,” Goher said, referring to the fact that women in the Afghan cities of Ghazni and Herat were turned away from the school. Reports. Was told to wear a burqa.

Asfandyar Mir, a senior expert at the Washington-based American Institute for Peace, said that the offensive that ended with the occupation of Kabul showed the political evolution of the Taliban during the American war.

“The Taliban caused a political collapse-they put pressure on key nodes such as border checkpoints, and then reached deals with local brigade commanders, warlords and governors,” Mill said. “The other party knows very well that if they don’t accept the deal, the Taliban will overthrow them.”

Political and financial leadership

    Mawlawi Haibitullah Akhundzada, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Sirajuddin Haqqani

From left: Mawlawi Haibitullah Akhundzada, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Sirajuddin Haqqani © AP; AFP; Getty Images; Reuters

Maurawi Haibatura Ahunzada

Known as the “commander of believers”, he was a former religious adviser to Taliban founder Mullah Mohamed Omar, who died in 2013. Ahunzada leads the Taliban leadership committee Rahbari Shura. He assumed this role after his predecessor, Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a U.S. drone attack near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2016. He fought the Soviet Union, even though he was known as a religious scholar.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradal

He is the highest political leader of the Taliban organization and one of the four people who initiated the movement in the early 1990s. Baradal was arrested in a joint US-Pakistan operation in 2010 and was released in 2018 at the request of the US to participate in peace talks. He is a member of the Taliban negotiating team, whose job is to promote a political agreement that will pave the way for a ceasefire.

Sirajadine Haqqani

The leader of the Haqqani Network is a loosely organized organization responsible for overseeing the financial and military assets of the Taliban at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the son of the famous jihadist commander Jalaluddin Haqqani. This powerful organization has been accused of several high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including attacks on top hotels in Kabul, assassination of then President Hamid Karzai, and suicide attacks on the Indian Embassy.

Religious and military leadership

Ibrahim Sadr

The former military chief bears national responsibility for the rebellion. He oversees the Taliban’s use of various tactics, from roadside explosions to assassinations and suicide attacks. Sadr made his first appearance in the Taliban as commander of the Air Force in the 1990s.

Abdul Hakim Haqqani

He is the leader of the Taliban negotiating team. Haqqani served as a judge of the Kandahar court during the Taliban regime, leading the Taliban’s powerful committee of religious scholars.

Mullah Mohamed Yakoub

Yaqoob is the son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar. He is responsible for overseeing the organization’s military operations, and local media reported that he is in Afghanistan. Yaqoob is considered to be in his 30s and is widely regarded as having limited battlefield experience.


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