The ‘new’ Taliban is how it differs


It was feared that a recurring history had led Ashraf Ghani, the former President of Afghanistan, to flee the country as the Taliban invaded Kabul.

As Ghani later explained on Facebook, he did not want the people of Afghanistan to see the “re-elected president” – referring to Mohammad Najibullah, a Communist leader who was arrested after the Taliban seized power in 1996.

But Taliban leaders who resigned from Kabul this month are showing interest in returning to the past. Instead of pressuring former officials, the Taliban delegation summoned Hamid Karzai, who later led Ghanaians as president, to discuss talks on the establishment of an “Islamic state”.

A spokesman for the group pledged to respect women’s rights, not to retaliate against Afghan people who worked for the previous government and not to allow Afghanistan to be used as a base to harm other countries.

Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s prime minister, on the right, meets with tribal leaders in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2001 © Jerome Delay / AP

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center left, Haqqani leader Anas Haqqani, center right, Abdullah Abdullah, second right, National Reconciliation Council leader in Afghanistan and former government and Taliban allies, among others Taliban group, meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan, last week © Taliban via AP

Taliban officials held rallies to strengthen Kabul’s Shias and Sikhs – two territories that fear Taliban rule.

Even so, skepticism remains a mystery as to whether the government will actually unite. The UN has received reports of civilian casualties, anti-violence campaigns and protests. On Tuesday, the Taliban blocked access to the Afghans’ Kabul airport.

But others are hopeful that the Taliban may have changed. Omar Samad, Afghanistan’s former ambassador to Canada and France, said there was no doubt that “another change” had taken place among Taliban leaders.

Expelled by the Taliban ‘more’

The exile, after the fall of their government in 2001, changed the traditional mullah’s perception of rural life.

They moved to cities in Pakistan or the Gulf. Others remained in prison, including Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy prime minister and co-founder, or he was detained in Guantánamo Bay. For the past ten years the Taliban ‘Commission “has been in operation since Qatar.

They will be recruited in Doha by foreign spies who have urged them to end al-Qaeda alliance, accept liberal values ​​and commit to reforms that will make them more comfortable abroad.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, senior Taliban political leader, left, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, Taliban chief negotiator, second left, and other members of the Taliban delegation in 2019 © Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

“They have traveled all over the world and are welcomed by foreign leaders,” Samad said. “They look at other countries in the Islamic world, especially Pakistan, as well as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. It gives them a variety of experiences and makes them international.”

But with all their exposure to the outside world, they still lack the necessary skills to manage a more developed and complex world than the military sources that have already disrupted them.

‘They realize that they have no experience’

Afghanistan now has thousands of miles of roads to maintain, electricity from nearby countries to pay for, and people to be a stable exchange and buy goods and education.

Legend has it that Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban, maintained a nationwide warehouse of 44 drums in Kandahar. Last week, central bank officials told the Talibs that $ 9bn of foreign currency was not available for review because it was held by the Federal Reserve Bank in New York – and yet it was frozen by the US government.

Taliban tanks with Taliban militants in front of the palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1996 © BK Bangash / AP

Taliban militants in charge of Afghanistan’s palace last week © Zabi Karimi / AP

“They realize they don’t have the expertise they need,” Samad said. “They are approaching technocrats and prominent Afghan people. They know they will need non-Taliban people in their government.”

Wise efforts have been made in recent years by foreign countries to help Taliban political leaders understand the challenges of running a global financial system.

The results will not always be encouraging. A former Western diplomat said the top Talibs did not seem to care about the way billions of financial aid members are committed to tackling corruption and protecting human rights.

“He thinks any money that the West does not give them will be replaced by China, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Thomas Ruttig, founder of the Kabul-Afghanistan Afghanistan Analytics Network, said the Taliban have become a “study group” fully aware of their past failures. Some former Taliban officials in the 1990’s admitted that their rule was a threat.

Taliban Forces in Kabul in February 1995 © Robert Nickelsberg / Gamma-Rapho / Getty

Taliban fighters guarding the main entrance to the Afghan palace in Kabul last week © Rahmat Gul / AP

The determination of then-leader Mullah Omar to continue receiving al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan divided the group and confirmed international isolation. Strict laws also barred the Taliban, including former Afghan nationals.

“They now understand that they cannot rule the world harshly,” Ruttig said. “But that doesn’t mean they are Liberal in the UK.”

A group that once banned television has been searching for information on movies, videos, and web pages in several languages. It still misses TV and phones, Ruttig said. But these technologies are now more widespread and more effective in preventing them from being exploited.

As far as the Pashtuns go

Perhaps the biggest change the Taliban has made is their efforts to get help beyond the former Pastuns sect, the largest tribe in Afghanistan.

Assistance from other regions of Tajik and Uzbek enabled the Taliban to make dramatic strides this summer in northern Afghanistan, a region other than the Pashtun has long considered it incapable of being occupied by the Taliban.

“They did their best to reach out to the people who have no rights and to intimidate them,” said Ashley Jackson, a researcher who interviewed many Taliban members. “The government has made it easier for them to be dangerous. Rural soldiers who harass people do not like people. ”

A member of the Hazaras, a group that was brutally tortured in the 1990s by the Taliban, took a small part as a Taliban insurgent in an undisclosed government last year, the group’s reporters told them.

But despite all the changes the Taliban leadership has made, many peacekeepers have returned to being more extreme than anything else seen in the 1990’s.

During a riot outside Kabul airport this week, he used whips against women and children. Many were amazed at the high level of development of Kabul, the largest city they had ever seen.

Taliban militant threatens a woman waiting to board an international airport with her family and others in Kabul last week © Jim Huylebroek / New York Times / Redux / eyevine

Good, middle-aged leaders who drink tea with Karzai may find it difficult to sell change at an unsanitary place.

“Controlling these people will be the biggest challenge for leadership,” Samad said. “In other words they will need to work together while taking care of the minds of their followers.”

Curved room

Opponents say the boundaries of their leadership have already been revealed by reports of violence in Taliban-controlled areas. On Tuesday, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented credible reports on incidents that included the brutal killings of civilians, the banning of women and the avoidance of demonstrations by anti-Taliban regimes.

The factions have been enlightened by the idea of ​​giving Kabul responsibility for security on the Haqqani network, a Taliban group closely linked to al-Qaeda and due to US sanctions.

Citizens flee Kabul © Patrick Robert / Sygma / Getty

Afghan family rushed to international airport after fleeing Kabul last week © Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As part of an alliance with the US, the Taliban have pledged to stay away from groups that threaten US security. A UN report in July found that the Taliban remain “closely linked” to al-Qaeda.

The Taliban gave themselves a lot of room for public speaking. Many fear that their pledge to uphold “women’s rights in sharia law” will not be in line with international expectations.

A larger red flag, warned one western ambassador, was his preference for the term “Afghan customs and traditions” which he said should be followed.

Few expect the coalition government to negotiate more, except for a few from the disbanded republics that have been given positions in the coming emirate.

Mullah Baradar also spoke of the decline of his old friendship when he met Hamid Karzai at a peace conference in Moscow in March. According to a Western official, Baradar did not respond well to Karzai’s persuasion.

He also said he would never forget how their children were forced to flee by US terrorists. They had “run barefoot in the desert thorns”, he scolded the former President of Afghanistan.



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