The Tyrannical Rule Of Taliban In Afghanistan

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Using tyrannical, arbitrary rule, the Taliban terrorized the millions who resided in the Middle East. The false promises of law and stability imposed by the young Islamic and Pashtun fighters, ultimately lead to their replacement of the current government. The Islamic Militants’ violence against innocent civilians, and the war waged against their own country is evidence of their dictatorial rule. The Taliban ensured the people of Afghanistan would be provided with freedom and protection, but it soon turned into oppression and restriction.

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From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban, led by Mullah Omar, ruled with an iron fist. After the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, resilient Islamic militants formed a radical organization. The Sunni Islamic group consisted of Islamic fighters and Pashtun Students, who fought during the Afghan war. The Taliban gained volunteers from extremist Islamic groups and increased in size and power. In November 1994, Burhanuddin Rabbani, the president of Afghanistan, was undermined by the Taliban and the capital city, Kabul, was seized. After a war with the Soviet union lasting a decade, the Taliban’s goals of peace and protection seemed promising to Afghans and the fragile country. Through popular support originating from false pretenses and through attacks that increased their territory, eventually, the Taliban controlled over three fourths of Afghanistan.

The goal of establishing a government defined by Islamic extremism and Sharia law was derived from the ideology of strict political Islam. The Taliban differentiated from other Islamic groups due to its radical interpretation of Islam and its ideological rigity. From traditional Islam to political Islam, the group used religion to control their rule. They emphasized upholding and spreading Islamic principle, and promoted the execution of jihad, or the willingness to fight against enemies of Islam and the sins within oneself. Their government was largely based on the implementation of Sharia law, the set of religious principles that influence Islamic culture. Instead of focusing on its moral aspects, the Taliban enforced the Sharia law’s punishment, even to innocent victims. Unlike most dictators, their primary goal was not power, it was administering an extreme form of their religion, which was accomplished through gaining power. The Islamic fundamentalism was used as a form of oppression rather than a form of spirituality.

The Taliban is known for being a religious and political military organization that enforces their propaganda upon the people of Afghanistan. The Taliban infamously used the internet and different media platforms spread their ideas and to constrict the thoughts of the people. In 2001, the Taliban “banned all types of media except their propaganda Voice of Sharia radio and very few newspapers and magazines run under strict state control”. By doing so, the Taliban were able to control what information the people of Afghanistan received, which in effect, restricted what they believed and influenced their thoughts. One of the ways they utilized media platforms was by creating a Twitter account with 65,000+ followers that goes by the name Zabihullah Mujahid. Using that account, they created a supposedly fake person with the responsibility of responding to matters of the United States and its president. The Taliban would also claim that supporting the Karzai government, the current Afghan form of government, at any degree would be un-Islamic and support could be punished by the holy warriors or Taliban members. Usually, they implemented their propaganda through the use of shabnamah, pamphlets posted on the doors of public places such as mosques, schools, or houses, that contain threats such as the amputation of their fingers or toes. In the end, the Taliban successfully delivered their propaganda which was portrayed when they became the new government in Afghanistan.

At the height of Taliban rule, the constant utilization of violence and oppression completely isolated Afghan civilians, giving the Taliban complete control. After a Taliban attack the spokesman for the governor in Mirza Oleng, Zabiullah Amani, stated, “Some were beheaded, some had their bodies pierced, and some were thrown off the mountain.” The Taliban arbitrarily terrorized innocent civilians using extreme brutality. From frequent bombings to meticulously planned assassinations, the people of Afghanistan were in continuous fear. The Taliban ruled under an extreme version of Sharia law, including amputation, stoning, crucifixion, etc., which used the excuse of their Islamic religion to warrant cruelty. People were scared to leave their homes with the worry of being killed, leaving them unable to work and make an income. With economics and incomes at a standstill, and taxation from the Taliban, they were left without the resources to survive and fight back. According to a BBC investigation in 2017, television, music, and cinema was banned. By banning the only resources Afghans had about the world around them, they were unaware of what brutalities were occurring, nor could they organize to retaliate. They were completely paralyzed, giving them no options to stand up, and if they did, they were at the risk of being killed. If they rebelled, they were at a drastic disadvantage fighting against a military with modern technology and weaponry, while they were barely allowed the technology needed to live. The tyranny imposed by the Taliban left Afghan civilians powerless, immobilized by fear and authority.

As a result of the power the Taliban held in Afghanistan and other Middle-Eastern countries, the amount of personal freedom was restricted greatly. Freedom was especially limited for Middle-Eastern women, and many of the activities or choices they held on a daily basis were stripped away from them. If women were not dressed accordingly to Taliban standards, or if they were not accompanied by a mahram, a close male relative, in public, the women would be publicly abused in methods of whipping, beating, or verbal abuse. Women were forced to wear a Burqa, which was a long veil that covered them from head to toe. Even deciding what women could wear under the Burqa was controlled by the Taliban, for example, they were not able to wear bright-colored clothes because it was thought to be sexually attractive, nor could they wear wide legged-pants (Rawa). Women were also limited to the medical treatments they received, due to the Taliban banning the ability for women to be treated by male doctors. The ramifications included womens’ deaths because of the failure to be treated for illnesses. Unfortunately, women were not the only people affected by the Taliban’s rule. Both genders were banned from listening to music and watching movies, videos, or television. The Taliban only wanted Afghans to see or hear what they wanted to be true. The Taliban deemed many things as un-Islamic and by creating their own rules which everyone, especially women, must abide by, they limited much of the freedom and natural rights of the citizens of Afghanistan.

Due to the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic law, the regulations of education were extremely rigid. In many places under their jurisdiction, women were not permitted to attend school, while only a few other places allowed education until children reached a certain age. Without proper education or literacy, they could not obtain jobs that require the knowledge taught in school, nor could they be intelligent enough to rebel. Women had to resort to attending underground schools in order to acquire an education, or even learn how to read. If caught, they faced many punishments, including death, poisoning, and more. The people of Afghanistan were aware that “‘It’s risky for the teachers and it’s risky for the students, but these underground schools show the thirst people have for education under the Taliban,’ said Shukriya Barakzai, a parliamentarian who ran her own underground school when the Taliban held power in Kabul in the 1990s” (Washington Post). When the Taliban was mostly removed, girls began to return to school in small, separated classes. The government established after the Taliban had little concern regarding this large issue. According to Global Citizen, “the government of Afghanistan has not devoted enough of its budget…to rebuilding its education system and ensuring that girls have equal access to education’”. Even today, girls are only allowed education until puberty and face cruel ambushes, which include deadly acid attacks that have resulted in the loss of eyes and burned faces. The Taliban’s rule left a lasting imprint on Afghan society that will not be undone for many years to come. The tension and turmoil caused by the Taliban will always remain, and education is still widely restricted.

During the Taliban’s rule, a war within the country was waged for a substantial period of time, inducing many troubles for the people of Afghanistan. War is extremely costly, so as a result, the economy suffered a deep decline. Because of this, the people of Afghanistan could no longer afford to take care of their families, or themselves. As a repercussion of “20 years of war, the sources of income for people and the socioeconomic fabric of the country have been damaged severely,’ says Muhammad Naizmand, spokesman for the Afghan Red Crescent. With the economy spiraling downhill, the people were struggling, and ‘These people don’t have any home, any food, any income’. Not only did the Taliban drain Afghanistan of its economic resources, but they also prohibited the buying and selling of the opium poppy, a drug which was a large source of income for the country. The Afghanistan military reported “that virtually all the country’s growers had heeded the ban. That would mean that the source of the world’s heroin has abruptly shrunk by 75 percent”. Although this was beneficial as it decreased the amount of drug use, the amount of businesses and jobs in the heroin industry decreased as well. Many people depended on heroin related occupations to survive and provide for their families, but now they were unable to. The Taliban spent a considerable amount of money and time in an attempt to stay in control, misadvertently causing the downfall of Afghanistan’s economic structure.

As of today, most of the jurisdiction applied through the Taliban agenda is still in effect. After the Taliban fell from power in 2001, the severe control of Afghans lessened, but nonetheless, Afghanistan continues to be under strict rule. The most recent bombing occurred on November 7, 2019 where there were six fatalities, as a result of the violence subjected towards Afghan civilians. Constrictions on women’s education are still amid within society, aside from the access of education until puberty. In addition, the rights they were not allowed during Taliban rule, still have not been granted, and women are looked upon as lesser individuals by society. Outside information from media, movies, etc. have yet to be unrestricted eighteen years later. The Taliban continues to wage war within the country, but they hope to make peace in neighboring continents. Currently, President Trump and the Taliban are negotiating a peace treaty to remove the United States’ troops residing in Afghanistan to end the war. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban was targeted for harboring the terrorist group, Al Qaeda. The Taliban was overthrown by the United States’ troops that invaded Afghanistan in 2001. In consequence of the fear caused by the Taliban, they faced no retribution, other than casualties of Taliban leaders and soldiers during wars. Although they are no longer the primary ruler in Afghanistan, they have a large influence over the country, and control minor parts. 

16 August 2021

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