|Taliban 1.1, Not 2.0||
9 September 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The Taliban took over Kabul on August 15. It took a few weeks, but they have finally announced who is going to govern the nation. The Taliban claimed they are not the same as they where when they governed the last time, about 20 years ago. Judging by who is in the cabinet and who is not, it is safe to say that the Taliban 2.0 rhetoric many pundits have used is inappropriate. These are the same pigheaded, narrow-minded Koran-thumpers they were two decades ago. All that has changed is that they now tweet out their odious propaganda.
The Taliban's religious leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, issued a statement that read in part, "As a caretaker and committed cabinet has been announced by the authorities of the Islamic Emirate to control and run the affairs of the country which will start functioning at the earliest, I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia law in the country, protecting the country's highest interests, securing Afghanistan's borders, and to ensuring lasting peace, prosperity and development."
The statement also said, "The Islamic Emirate will take serious and effective steps towards protecting human rights, the rights of minorities as well as the rights of the underprivileged groups within the framework of the demands of the sacred religion of Islam." This is, of course, complete bollocks.
The Washington Post observes, "Taliban leaders have unveiled Afghanistan's new cabinet, and the Islamic Emirate they have anointed is far from the 'inclusive' government that the radical insurgents promised. Rather, it consists almost entirely of hard-line ethnic Pashtun men from the Taliban's long-standing inner circle. Key figures include prime minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a former official of the 1996-2001 Taliban regime who is under sanctions by the United Nations, and interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the violent Haqqani network, who is sought by the FBI for his role in bloody terrorist attacks."
Missing from the new regime is any pretense of democratic instincts. Taliban spokesman, Waheedullah Hashimi, told Reuters in August, "There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country." The honesty is refreshing. The Taliban shot its way into power, and there will be no pretending otherwise. At least, one knows where they stand.
Also missing are women. Not a single woman was named to the government, not even the usual nonsense job with the title Minister for Female Affairs. The Taliban simply don't think women should be making governmental decisions of any kind.
The cabinet is allegedly an interim body with a more formal and regular government to follow. Since no deadline has been set for that transition, one expects the natural human behavior of hanging onto power will ensure that the interim is a long one. Besides, these people are merely the tools through which Mullah Akhundzada will govern. Despite their theological differences, his position is almost identical to that of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While Iran has had several governments over the years, the ayatollah has been calling the shots since 1989.
The key point in the statement (other than the fact that the whole thing is government at bayonet point) is "Our message to our neighbors, the region and the world is that Afghanistan's soil will not be used against the security of any other country." If that is true, Taliban 1.1 is already better than the original, just not by much.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.