After almost a month of taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban has finally formed an interim government to improve the functionality of the newly formed emirate. But the government discludes any representation of women, minorities and consists mainly of Pushtun leaders, some of whom are sanctioned by the US for charges of terrorism. Women protesting for rights have been, at large dismissed. To make matters worse, the regime has initiated a crackdown on women’s rights, barring girls from receiving secondary education and replacing the Ministry of Women with the eerie ‘Ministry of Virtue.’
As the media continues to pose a chilling picture of the future of the country, the questions arise; is the new Taliban regime any different from that of the 1990s and once consolidated, what form of government will take shape in Afghanistan in the years to come?
Under the current regime, although the conceptual interpretation of the Sharia law would be the same as it was during the 1990s rule, the existing circumstances used to devise legal rulings will be different. This means a wider judicial framework would be implemented to provide leniency and moderation in law as compared to the stern penal code of the former Taliban regime.
As far as women’s rights are concerned, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesperson assured that the women would be given their due rights per the Sharia law. Under this government, women will reportedly be allowed to acquire education and work. While it is true that the current response of the interim government towards women’s rights has been rather negligent, the matter of fact is that the Taliban did not inherit an intact law and order situation in Afghanistan. The country is still a concoction of raging warlords, covert Mujahidin fighters, The Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), The National Resistance Front (NRF),Afghan National Army (ANA) backed by foreign support and worse; anonymous persons posing as Taliban. Under such circumstances any attempt by the opposition to demonise the Taliban regime could target civilians, making it unsafe for everyone in the country, let alone women.
On the type of government that will take shape in the country, democracy in Afghanistan is a far-flung dream as Waheedullah Hashimi, a senior Taliban commander said “There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in the country.” Ideologically, the Taliban are opposed to any form of governance system based on elections and have used religion to justify their rebellion against the Western styles of democracy. Now that they are in power, democracy seems to be the least likely choice.
The most likely scenario however is an establishment of a Shura Council, consisting of handpicked pro-Taliban senior leaders, running the country according to Sharia Law. The structure of the real time government would be very much similar to that of the present interim government with a supreme leader who would act as the top authority of the Taliban administration, three acting Prime Ministers, and the subordinate ministers. The Emir or the main spiritual leader is expected to take office in Kandahar while the executive Stratum will be seated in Kabul, thus making the cities, 2 most important centres of power.
For the longest time, the US has invaded distant countries under the pretext of implementing democracy but not a single country has shown to benefit from these attempts to democratise the so-called backward nations. Afghanistan too, has been treated like an evaded responsibility by all the stakeholders of the Afghan war. Now that they are in charge, the Taliban have for once vowed to restore law and order and to prevent the Afghan soil from being used for terrorist activities.
The formation of a government is a harrowingly laborious process and most countries around the world take a lot longer to consolidate a government. It would be skewed against the Taliban to expect them to achieve in a month, what a well-resourced country like the US has not been able to achieve during 20 years in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, as the new interim government pushes through the obstacles, we hope to see the promises of inclusivity being fulfilled and unless all the major ethnic groups as well as women, get their due share in the econo-politics of the country, Afghanistan will continue to lack legitimacy, prosperity and global recognition.