Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Taliban’s Ideology Moderated?

Despite claiming that their ideology has been moderated, the Taliban are still unable to reconcile their warped mind with democracy. The Taliban militants continue their campaign against democratic administration and elections. Their fundamental ideology has been the main concern to Afghans, who fear return of the “Islamic Emirate”.
Holding negotiations with US representatives, the Taliban leadership sought to impose their warped mind on their negotiators urging for the establishment of Islamic Emirate. Meanwhile, their militants are seeking to foist their radical mindset on Afghan people in the Taliban-dominated areas through the barrel of gun.
The Taliban claim that democracy is in conflict with “Islamic Sharia” despite the fact that the post-Taliban Afghan Constitution was approved with the presence of high-prolife Shiite and Sunni clerics and Mujahidin.
Meanwhile, a number of Jihadi individuals, who once practiced upon fundamental ideology, approve the current constitution and do not find it contradictory to Islamic tenets. For example, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad describes Burhanuddin Rabbani, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar fundamentalists, who now approve the current constitution. In his book “The Envoy”, Khalilzad said, “The largest Afghan fundamentalist groups were under the leadership of Hekmatyar, Khalis, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and Syyaf. Khalis, Rabbani, and Hekmatyar looked to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sayyaf was an adherent of the Wahhabi ideology centered in Saudi Arabia.”
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar fought against the post-Taliban Afghan administration for many years and reportedly killed a large number of Afghan people. However, Hekmatyar later signed a peace deal with the Afghan government and now runs for presidential elections. Despite practicing fundamental ideology, he is unlikely to comment against the current constitution, which is based on democratic values.
The point is that those Jihadi leaders have moderated their mindset, which is now reconcilable with the constitution. If the Taliban have moderated their religious beliefs, they could stop their anti-democratic activities.
It is believed that there are two main challenges before the Taliban leadership. First, the Taliban leadership preached Jihad against the Afghan government and killed thousands of Afghan people under this term. Simultaneously, thousands of their militants were also killed after their selfless jihad against their own compatriots. Now if the Taliban stop fighting against the Afghan government after many years of war, their militants are likely to turn their guns against their leaders. In other words, although the Taliban leaders show tendency to have a stake in the government through negotiations, their militant fighters continue their militancy against the government.
Second, the Taliban are simply a pawn in a proxy war. At the negotiating table, the Taliban leadership will persist on issues that they have been dictated from outside. According to common belief, the Taliban are not the main negotiators. They speak the mind of those who harbor and support them.
It is believed that the Taliban neither care about democracy nor about Islamic Sharia, but paid to play their role as destructively as possible. They would not choose to destroy the country and kill innocent people if they were really concerned about Afghanistan’s social, religious, and political issues. If the Taliban are concerned about Afghanistan’s religious and cultural affairs, they have to bring all their high-profile clerics and hold a debate with Afghan moderate clerics over the issue of jihad in Afghanistan.
So far, however, the Taliban have adopted aggressive attitude towards any clerics who condemned their terrorist activities and urged them to come to debate. Thus, the Taliban are unable to debate the issues and the only way they know is to excommunicate and pull the trigger to whoever challenge their ideology.
Playing a destructive role against democracy, which is embraced by Afghan people with open arms, and spilling the blood of people for simply supporting elections are not in the interests of the Taliban leadership. Afghans should be let choose their leaders through democratic channels rather than appointing a leader for them as the Taliban did and urge. That is, Afghans have come to the conclusion that the nascent democracy pave the ground for their rights and freedoms. On the contrary, the Taliban-style regime would put all their achievements at stake and it is no more acceptable to them.
The return of the Islamic Emirate is not acceptable to Afghan people at all since the Taliban seek to appoint a regime and leader for the country without providing a platform for Afghans to choose their own government or leader. Afghan people seek to have role in deciding their fate through engaging in social, cultural, and political spheres. Hence, the Taliban had better let Afghan men and women choose their fate rather than imposing their own will and ideology.