The World Today for May 24, 2023

NEED TO KNOW

Terrorist Vs. Terrorist

AFGHANISTAN

Since the US exited Afghanistan nearly two years ago, the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has embraced the titles of “commander of the faithful” and “scholar of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.” His word is literally law. He rules by fiat, wrote Voice of America.

Almost no one has ever seen him.

That’s because he rarely appears in public. Recently, however, he gave a speech where he promised to resist foreign influence that might contravene his harsh interpretation of Islam. “It is the success and good fortune of the Afghan nation that Allah has blessed (it) with an Islamic Sharia system,” he said in the southern city of Kandahar. “I have promised Allah that so long as I am alive, not a single law of infidelity will find a place in Afghanistan.”

Akhundzada might have at least partially realized his vision of a country governed under the strictest interpretation of Sharia law. In terms of Afghans’ security, prosperity, and liberty, he has fallen short, according to observers.

The Central Asian country’s economy, dependent on uncertain international aid, is on the verge of collapse, reported Bloomberg. The country is on the edge of famine, added the Associated Press. The legacies of war and corruption have helped exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, the Australian Broadcasting Company wrote.

Women can’t go to school, United Nations researchers determined in a recent report – though some girls attend secret schools, as the Washington Post showed. Women can’t go to work or even visit a park without being accompanied by a male family member. Women, say Afghan women, have become invisible.

Meanwhile, violence goes on. Convicted criminals sentenced to capital punishment face stoning, lashing, or live burial. Public floggings and amputations are other lawful punishments. The courts that deliver these rulings, meanwhile, are corrupt and riddled with bias.

In response to the UN report, the Taliban’s foreign ministry reminded the UN that the Emirate’s standards were different from those of the New York-based institution. “In the event of a conflict between international human rights law and Islamic law, the government is obliged to follow the Islamic law,” the ministry said in a statement to the press.

The Taliban’s draconian regime might keep some people in line – but not everyone. The Islamic State and other militants still roam the country in opposition to the Taliban, for example. Islamic State terrorists recently killed the Taliban’s governor of Balkh in northern Afghanistan, the BBC said. Taliban officials have also killed major figures in the country’s chapter of Islamic State, highlighting how seriously the Taliban are taking the threat of a jihadist rival, Asia Times explained.

Some people predicted that when the Taliban took over, violence would decrease in Afghanistan – and it has to some degree.

But it’s going to be a long time before it truly loses its momentum.

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