Taliban Begins Enforcing Harsh Sharia Rules In Occupied Territories
As foreign troops withdraw and the government weakens, Taliban's abusive tactics will only worsen, more so because they have now brought a superpower down to its knees.
As Taliban capture more territory across Afghanistan, the war-ravaged nation is experiencing an episode of 'back to the future'. The Jihadist group has begun enforcing harsh religious code of conduct that characterised its rule from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 according to the interpreted laws of Koran. Its rule was characterized by systematic violations against women and girls; cruel corporal punishments, including executions; and extreme suppression of freedom of religion, expression, and education.
The group is daily capturing new districts, seizing key border crossings, and encircling provincial capitals even as the final withdrawal of foreign troops takes place. In the occupied areas, the group is reportedly distributing leaflets asking the people to strictly adhere to Sharia law-mandated conduct.
Back To The Future
Days after the Taliban captured a remote district in Afghanistan’s north, they issued their first orders in the form of a letter to the local imam. “It said women can’t go to the bazaar without a male companion, and men should not shave their beards,” said Sefatullah, 25, a resident of Kalafgan district,as per a report by The Hindu. They also banned smoking, he added.
The Taliban warned that anybody violating the rules “will be seriously dealt with”.
Last month, after capturing Sher Khan Bandar, a northern customs post that connected the country to Tajikistan over a UUS-funded bridge that spanned the Panj river, the Taliban ordered women not to step out of their homes.
A resident of the area Sajeda told AFP that she worked in a local factory at the time. “There were many women and young girls doing embroidery, tailoring and shoe-making... The Taliban's order has now terrified us.”
Under the Sharia law imposed by the Taliban, women were ordered to stay indoors unless accompanied by a male relative, girls were banned from school, and those found guilty of crimes such as adultery were stoned to death.
Men had relatively more freedom but were ordered not to shave. The Taliban have also ordered the salons and barbers to not shave anyone. Men are beaten if they don’t attend prayers, and were told to only wear traditional clothing.
Under Taliban rule, girls cannot go to school (Although the Taliban officially stated that they no longer oppose girls’ education, very few Taliban officials actually permit girls to attend school past puberty. Others do not permit girls’ schools at all), and women cannot participate in public life, including holding political office or working outside the home.
Taliban officials prohibit watching television, impose restrictions on smartphones or ban them outright, limiting residents’ access to information and their ability to communicate, study, or work using the internet.
The Taliban courts have imposed brutal punishments such as lashing for so-called moral crimes, like talking to the opposite gender or dressing "immodestly". Residents who criticize Taliban actions are beaten, and even executed.
In Balkh district, the Taliban ordered the only FM channel to not broadcast music, but only Taliban's chants and anti-government messages. Around 20 radio channels have reportedly stopped broadcasting in northern Afghanistan as per the orders of Taliban. The violence against journalists and media outlets has also increased significantly.
While Afghanistan is deeply conservative and one can find similar rules being imposed by the community in rural pockets of the country even without Taliban, the group enforces these rules even more strictly and also in relatively more modern centres of the country.
Also hangs in the balance the future of few Hindus and Sikhs that remain in Afghanistan. Currently, they number around a 1,000 each (a 99 per cent decline in three decades).
In the past, it has been observed that as the Taliban consolidate control over new areas, their restrictions tightened, not eased. This raises serious concerns that as the foreign troops retreat and government influence wanes, the Taliban's abusive tactics will only worsen, more so because they have now brought a superpower down to its knees.
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