Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

No Justification for War, Taliban’s Narrative Challenged

Religious clerics have challenged the Taliban group ideologically. Initially, the Taliban ushered in militancy with the narrative of “jihad” to put an end to “foreign occupation”. They justified their acts of violence by religious terminology, saying that they spill the blood of “infidels” as religious duty. The Taliban’s top leaders ordered their men to fight against the “US occupation” in Afghanistan.
The Taliban and the United States signed an agreement last year, in which Washington agreed on complete withdrawal. The people of Afghanistan believed that, with the complete withdrawal, the Taliban would declare ceasefire and reduce their ongoing violence. To their unmitigated chagrin, the Taliban intensified their attacks, spilling the blood of Afghan soldiers and civilians without having any clear justification for their violence. In short, they brazenly turned their so-called “jihad” against an Islamic country and Muslims. That is, the Taliban said they would not kill foreign troops but Afghan soldiers, which triggered a sense of shock and surprise. The group’s involvement in killing Afghan combatants and non-combatants contradict their narrative of “foreign occupation”. Lately, the Taliban are not willing to bring up the discussion about their ideology or narrative of jihad. At least in two interviews with national media, the Taliban political spokesperson Mohammad Naim Wardak sidestepped the questions through cutting his connection and leaving his chair. He found the interviewers’ questions challenging. In short, the Taliban spokespersons are not able to respond the questions about their ideology or justification of war. Taliban leadership fears their fighters notice this issue and abandon the battlefields.
Religious clerics, including those from Afghanistan, constantly challenged the Taliban’s ideology and their acts of violence and bloodshed, especially after the United States is seeking complete withdrawal. Earlier, Saudi Arabia hosted “Afghanistan and Pakistan Ulema Conference on Afghan Peace”, in which religious clerics from three countries reiterated that the blood of Muslims should not be shed and the created opportunity for peace should not be wasted since negotiations are the only solution to the conflict. Supporting the Afghan peace talks, the clerics issued a resolution, reiterating that the war in Afghanistan was forbidden and urged an end to the conflict. To this end, a large number of clerics from Islamic countries believe that the ongoing war in Afghanistan is not legitimate based on Islamic tenets and has no religious justification. They reiterate that shedding the blood of Muslims is not “jihad”. On multiple occasions, Afghan clerics within the last couple of decades said that the war in Afghanistan was forbidden since Afghans supported the invasion of NATO troops for the collapse of the Taliban regime, which ruled Afghanistan (1994 – 2001) with the barrel of gun.
The Taliban leadership has kept its fighters engaged in escalated militancy to leave no time for bringing up discussions about their ideology. In other words, the Taliban leaders seek to keep a lid on ideological issues and fear that their fighters may turn their guns at them in case of noticing the wrong and illegitimate narrative of “jihad”.
The media and religious clerics have to challenge further the Taliban’s radical ideology and narrative of jihad, which are all contrary to Islamic tenets. Currently, the Taliban fighters occupy residential houses, spill the blood of not only Afghan soldiers but also civilians, collect money from drivers and shopkeepers and put economic pressure on ordinary people, which are all against Islam and its tenets.
Religious clerics, mainly those from Afghanistan, should continue their struggle for stopping the blood of Afghan soldiers and civilians. It is believed that if Afghan clerics, both Sunni and Shiite, declare a public jihad against the Taliban and their foreign affiliates, as they did against former Soviet Union, and call it an obligation for each citizen, the Taliban will be defeated in months.
If the Taliban claim to be Muslims, they have to stop killing other Muslims. The Taliban fighters had better stop being exploited by their leaders, who enjoy luxury life outside the country along with their families. It is believed that as the Taliban have muddied the waters, members of criminal networks and Mafia groups are fishing in the troubled water. So, in addition to death and destruction, this war has paved the ground for criminal acts. It is worth mentioning that a large number of Taliban military commanders are also widely involved in criminal acts and Mafia-like activities. Therefore, an end to the conflict will be an end to their crimes and illegal collection of money from ordinary people, which will be hard for them to accept. They simply mask their criminal activities under religious terminology.