Taliban emir demands ‘Islamic government’ for Afghanistan

Mullah Haibatullah, the leader of the Afghan Taliban and its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, again called for the establishment of an “Islamic government” and the imposition of the group’s harsh versions of sharia.

Haibatullah repeated the Taliban’s demand to rule Afghanistan in his Eid-ul-Fitr statement, which was released on May 20 in English on the group’s official website, Voice of Jihad.

“The objectives of our Jihad are to gain the pleasure of Allah (SwT), freedom of our country and to establish an Islamic system. The sacrifices, hardships and tribulations endured by the people and Mujahideen in this great cause (Jihad) are not hidden from anyone …” he said.

Later, Haibatullah again repeated the call for Afghan officials, soldiers, police, and others “in the opposition ranks” to accept a “general amnesty” and not be an “impediment for the establishment of an Islamic government.”

“We are offering general amnesty to all those standing in the opposition ranks if they choose to renounce their enmity. We urge everyone to take full advantage of this amnesty by ending their opposition and not becoming an impediment for the establishment of an Islamic government which is the aspiration of millions of martyred, wounded, disabled, orphaned, widowed and suffering Afghans,” Haibatullah said.

Haibatullah attempted to assauge those who fear the Taliban seeks to dominate the political scene by claiming that “it does not have a monopolist policy.”

“[T]he Islamic Emirate once again assures everyone that it does not have a monopolist policy, every male and female member of society shall be given their due rights, none shall feel any sense of deprivation or injustice and all work necessary for the welfare, durability and development of society will be addressed in the light of divine Shariah law,” he claimed.

He stated this even thought the group’s official position is that it “has not readily embraced this death and destruction for the sake of some silly ministerial posts or a share of the power.” [See LWJ report, Taliban does not want ‘a share of the power’.]

Haibatullah’s call for his opponents to accept amnesty and his assurances that Afghans’ rights will be be handled under sharia, or Islamic law, are not the words of a leader who is seeking to integrate with the current Afghan government. The Taliban sees itself as the eventual victor in its war with the Afghan government, and its promise of amnesty for its opponents is the action of a victor. And sharia of course would be enforced by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Haibatullah’s Eid statement is not an outlier. The Taliban’s position on who would rule Afghanistan and how has been consistent since the U.S. invaded the country to topple the Taliban regime after the 9/11 attacks on American soil.

U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, have ignored the Taliban’s explicitly stated goals. Instead, they have sold the Feb. 29 deal with the Taliban as a “peace deal” that will lead to rapprochement between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The Taliban dissagree, and instead refer to the deal as an “end of occupation” agreement.

Just one week after the withdrawal deal was inked, the Taliban issued a religious decree, or fatwa, calling for an “Islamic government” to be formed in Afghanistan. This Islamic government is to be led by Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, its current emir, and “lawful ruler” of Afghanistan. The Taliban fatwa says the group “shall continue waging armed jihad” until it establishes the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. [See LWJ report, Taliban religious decree calls for its emir to rule ‘Islamic government’ in Afghanistan.]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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