Taliban calls for ‘the declaration’ of the ‘Islamic Emirate’

The Taliban has again called for the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name its brutal regime used before being deposed by the United States in late 2001.

In an official statement released on its English language website, Voice of Jihad, on Feb. 7, the Taliban called for the return of its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as it denounced the Afghan government as a “corrupt and illegitimate regime.”

The Taliban made the statement in response to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit that ranked the Afghan government as an “authoritarian” government.

“The administration under the leadership of [President] Ashraf Ghani is deemed by the people of Afghanistan a corrupt, incompetent, imposed and illegitimate entity that lacks all religious, constitutional and public legitimacy,” the Taliban said. The group claimed the Afghan government is propped up by “the military and economic backing provided by its foreign masters.”

The solution, according to the Taliban, is clear: “this corrupt and illegitimate regime that lacks all domestic and international legitimacy must be replaced with an Islamic government, concerning which the declaration of Islamic Emirate is on point …”

The Taliban’s call for the re-establishment of its Islamic Emirate is nothing new. It has issued numerous statements announcing this goal since it launched its insurgency against the Afghan government in 2004.

Just one week after the Taliban signed an agreement with the U.S. on Feb 29, 2020 that facilitates the withdrawal of American forces, it issued a religious decree calling for an “Islamic government” to be formed in Afghanistan. The Taliban uses the terms “Islamic government,” Islamic system, and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan interchangeably.

This “Islamic government” is to be led by Taliban emir Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the “lawful ruler” of Afghanistan.

“The agreement with the United States does not alter the status of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s supreme leader as the lawful ruler of Afghanistan,” the Taliban said in a statement written in Pashtu and pubished on Voice of Jihad.

The Taliban decree also said that the group “shall continue waging armed jihad” until it establishes the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The Taliban has insisted on calling itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In June 2013, when its de facto embassy in Doha, Qatar was founded, the Taliban insisted on calling it the “the political office” of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” In Oct. 2013, the Taliban said that the U.S. must “accept the existence and presence of the Islamic Emirate in the political field.” In Feb. 2012, a Taliban spokesman even said that Al Qaeda has swore allegiance to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and fights under its banner.

“They [al Qaeda] are among the first groups and banners that pledged allegiance to the Emir of the Believers [Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban], and they operate in Afghanistan under the flag of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Abdullah al Wazir said.

The U.S. has refused to recognize the Taliban by this name, and in the short, four-page document that barely outlines its deal with the Taliban, it repeats the phrase “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban” 16 times.

The Taliban disagrees, and it is clear its intentions are to make the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan a reality.

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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