The Tide of the Taliban

The Taliban formed in early 1990s by an Afghan faction of Islamic fighters, who resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.“Taliban” means students in Pashto. The Taliban won popular support because it promised to impose stability and the rule of law. In 1996, the Taliban took the capital Kabul and declared Afghanistan an Islamic emirate and Mullah Omar its head of state. Since then, the Taliban tried to act as a government because Mohammed wanted to disarm the population (rivalry ethnic groups) and impose a puritanical Islamic order. It controlled 90% of the country before its 2001 overthrow. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan enforced a strict version of Sharia under which women were denied education and careers, were required to wear clothing covering them from head to foot, and were forbidden from leaving homes if no male family members were home. Men were required to wear long beards. The regime neglected social services and other basic state functions. Because of its extreme social discrimination and standards, the Islamic emirate was isolated internationally except for Pakistan, South Arabia, and the UAE. The UN imposed sanctions on the regime for harboring al-Qaeda. In 2001, the Taliban was overthrown by U.S. after its refusal to give up Osama Bin Laden, who led the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

After the Taliban was driven out of power, remainders either fled to Pakistan organized under Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP) or stayed in Afghanistan to rebuild power. The Taliban gained local support because Afghans don’t consider the current government as legitimate and see it as corrupt. In the Taliban’s resurgence, its factions have adopted warlord-like behavior: They levy taxes, extort companies in protection rackets, exploit natural resources, and traffic opium poppy.

The Taliban’s main financial income comes from the drug trade. Drug revenue accounts half of the Taliban’s income. The Taliban once exported drugs from Afghanistan in the form of opium syrup and then built labs to process opium into morphine or heroin. The Taliban’s action makes Afghanistan the world’s largest opium producer and exporter. Money from drugs is used in every aspect to finance the Taliban. Other income also includes, foreign donations, illegal gem mining, lumber trade, kidnapping, and extortion.

The Taliban has spread its power in the present days and created an organizational structure as government to manage both national and international issues. The Taliban nowadays has controlled or contested most areas in the south of Afghanistan and even spread its power to the north and the capital Kabul. By September 2017, the Taliban reportedly controlled or contested up to 45 percent of Afghanistan. It is still trying to act as a government and has been able “to create an organizational structure in which the top level provides strategic guidance and oversight while military political officials in the field make operational and tactical decision.” Mullah Akhundzada is responsible for overseeing the courts and judges. The Quetta Shura, the group’s ruling council, is responsible for much of the Taliban’s operations in southern and western Afghanistan. Below the emir is the deputy emir, reported to be Sirajuddin Haqqani. The Deputy emir is responsible for determining the “political and military affairs of the Emirate” according to UN. The Quetta Shura reportedly appoints a simulated government structure for Afghanistan, assigning “shadow” governors to many Afghan provinces and reviewing the performance of each governor.  In 2009, the Shura established a committee to receive complaints about the governors from Afghani locals. The Shura installs ‘shari’a’ courts to deliver enforced justice in controlled areas. It claims “to provide security against a corrupt government and to protect Afghan and Muslim identity against foreign encroachment”. In Jan. 2017, Akhundzada recently replaced Taliban shadow governors in 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and appointed eight additional provincial-level officials as part of an effort to consolidate his influence. 

Akhunzada has attempted to win Afghan hearts by funding some development projects and promising to reform the education system. Today’s Taliban leaders abandoned the ban of no entertainment but use more technologies to advertise their websites, Twitter feeds, videos, and magazines for propaganda.

The Taliban is a strong guerrilla group that has functioned and aspire to function as a government, and its success is due to intense corruption of Afghan government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *