Afghanistan back in the vicious grip of obscurantism | By Tariq Aqil


Afghanistan back in the vicious grip of obscurantism

EXACTLY a year ago in August 2021 the rag tag army of the Taliban finally took control of Kabul to formally retake control of the entire country twenty years after they were unceremoniously kicked out by the American led coalition after the debacle of 9/11.

This spectacular Taliban victory was the return of the old obscurantist Islamic regime but this time the return began with some promises of moderation and a negation of the old methods of governance.

The Taliban victory was welcomed by Imran Khan who opined that the Taliban “Have broken the shackles of slavery” and appealed to the world community to recognize and assist the new Taliban regime in Kabul.

The Taliban regime desperately in need of economic assistance and international recognition did assure the world community that they will respect human rights and the rights of women but tragically they have reverted back to their old medieval and archaic methods based on religious fanaticism, bigotry and total disregard of all human values.

The bloody conflict in Afghanistan ended after twenty years but the common people of the country have again been pushed back into the dark ages as the very basic and fundamental human rights are being trampled underfoot.

So far the international community doesn’t appear to accord recognition to the Taliban Govt. or to start any economic assistance because the govt.

in Kabul have reneged on all their promises after coming into power. It now appears that the religious fanatics and the hardliners in the regime have the upper hand and they are dictating national policy based on the teachings of their founder Mullah Omar.

The unbending and intransigent attitude of the Taliban leaders is a cause of great concern to the world community and even those countries like Pakistan who had welcomed the return of the Taliban.

A year after gaining control of the country the regime is still in a state of international isolation and they still insist on a strict interpretation of Islamic Laws and have blatantly gone back on their promise to allow women’s education and women employment in govt. and private organizations.

The archaic Ministry of Virtue and Prevention of vice has been activated with a vengeance and the dreaded mullah brigade let loose to intimidate and harass the female population.

Women are not allowed to travel in taxis without a male family member with them and are now finding it increasingly difficult to get any sort of job.

These measures should now be food for thought for all those who were jubilant on the return of the Taliban.

Under international pressure the Taliban Govt. had announced that they would allow girls to attend high school but now that decision has been reversed and basic education is now denied to millions of Afghan girls.

The Taliban leaders had assured the world community that schools for girls will be opened on Islamic principles but at the same time they announced that our religion of Islam tells us that women should receive limited education.

Such reversal of decisions and going back on solemn pledges clearly shows that the obscurantist hard liners in the regime rule the roost and they are now calling the shots in Kabul.

In an attempt to impose their draconian laws and stamp their obscurantist writ on the country the Taliban have imposed strict restrictions on the media and cracked down brutally on all forms of peaceful protests anywhere in the country.

The attitude and behaviour of the Taliban clearly shows that the Taliban leadership is controlled by the strict believers of the Sharia law and they are not prepared to listen to the voice of moderation and want their obscurantist and archaic system of governance to prevail over all international laws and codes of ethics.

This stubborn and inflexible attitude will land them in greater economic, social and political problems.

The Taliban just simply refuse to accept the fact that in this day and age they just cannot solve their problems while remaining in isolation from the world community.

They must realize that the world community is not willing to accept an archaic regime that does not believe in basic human rights and the rights of women.

Some humanitarian aid is still trickling through to Afghanistan like in the last winter season to alleviate the misery of common citizens but this is far from enough and the increasing isolation will make matters worse for the country.

With no regard for human rights and many u turns on women’s rights and girls education it is highly unlikely that donors will come forward or the world community will recognize the Taliban regime in Kabul.

Many international terrorist groups are now active and thriving under the Taliban regime and posing a serious threat to regional peace.

Ayeman Al-Zawahiri the Al-Qaeda supremo was killed by a US drone strike in an upscale Kabul suburb and other militant groups like the TTP and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement are now using Afghan territory as base for their militant activities and cross border raids.

—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.


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