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Sep 1, 2021
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The New Taliban *: Fathers and Sons. Live and learn

The New Taliban *: Fathers and Sons.  Live and learn

Photo: AP / TASS

Militants of the terrorist and banned in Russia Taliban movement * intend to kill the leaders of the resistance, entrenched in the Afghan province of Panjshir. This was announced to RIA Novosti by the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Tajikistan Muhammad Zahir Agbar… In his opinion, the Taliban are not politicians, but terrorists who have been on the lists of banned organizations in many countries for three years. They will not agree to any terms in the Doha talks.

Now the ambassador of Afghanistan is more of an ambassador Ahmed Masuda… The annihilation of the leaders of the resistance is just one of the tasks that re-invaded the country of “students”. And the most difficult to do. Perhaps, as in the nineties, they will not be able to occupy the Panjshir Gorge, and resistance will gradually spread to other regions of Afghanistan.

Is it true that the Taliban are not one group now, that they are motley? Twenty-five years ago, about the same thing was said about them. The same is said about the Islamic world as a whole, in which there is an incredible multitude of trends, trends and sects.

Vladimir Sotnikov, Senior Researcher at the Center for International Security of the IMEMO and the Department of the Near and Middle East of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences excludes the option of spreading the influence of the Taliban beyond the borders of Afghanistan:

– The main thing for the Taliban was to establish control over their country and introduce orders according to Sharia law. They have no interest in the Central Asian republics. But if the Taliban do not take any action against terrorist groups, a resurgence of terrorism is possible. The president also said this. Joseph Biden… These fears of his are sincere, they are well-grounded. I am not saying that this will necessarily happen. This could be hindered by the Russian-American partnership in the region and the partnership between Russia and the EU. Our Western partners need to understand that there is a danger.

The Taliban, I think, also understand this, they do not want to share power with anyone. That government they’ve just announced with Foreign Minister Mullah Abdel Ghani Baradar, and other mullahs in key positions, while it looks like a desire for such a model of state, as, say, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but with local characteristics.

This does not mean that the Taliban will make peace with everyone and have stable relations with the United States. Now the Americans are interested in establishing some kind of contacts, agreements with the Taliban, in order, firstly, to ensure the safety of two hundred of their citizens who remained there, and, secondly, for the Taliban to actively oppose international terrorist groups. This line of the Americans somewhat coincides with Russian interests.

As for the stability of the Taliban government, I think that no one will compete with them in the near future. Even the “Northern Alliance – 2.0”, under the command of his son Ahmad Shah Massoud, Ahmad Masoud Jr., who said that if there is an inclusive government and guaranteed minority rights, they can come to an agreement with the Taliban. Since the Taliban have declared that the Uzbek language will be one of the official languages, Panjshir, in a reasonable time, may come under their control (although the main population of Panjshir is Tajiks – Ed.).

It is also possible that the Northern Alliance, having gathered the remnants of its forces, will resist. But I think that the Taliban do not intend to conduct large-scale military actions. They want to settle everything peacefully. Therefore, the government that they have formed will be quite stable. And now everyone is interested in stability.

Our contacts through the Foreign Ministry were very timely. We are the first state that was able to come to an agreement with the Taliban (without officially recognizing, because no one recognized the Taliban regime), established normal working relations. The Taliban themselves are interested in not provoking Russia. So is China.

The Taliban are faced with the problem of the country’s economic revival. The political leadership of Afghanistan is interested in stability. Making Afghanistan a nest of terrorism is not part of their plans …

Konstantin Markov, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Orientalist considers it a big mistake to draw an analogy between Iran and Afghanistan with its future state structure:

– From the very beginning, from the era of the caliphate, the caliph was both the supreme secular ruler, the monarch, and the head of the entire “ummah” of believers. It’s a little different in Iran. Shiites do not recognize the legitimacy of any secular power until the “hidden” one comes, which disappeared in the ninth century. They have a clear division: the clergy distance themselves from secular power. We see this in modern Iran: there is a secular head, a president, and there is a spiritual leader “rahbare moazzam”, or “fakikh”, who operate in parallel to each other. Through this division, the secular element is in force, contributing to the democratization of the country.

As for the Taliban, they are Orthodox. They do not recognize division. The external model of the caliphate will be very different from that of Iran. They will discard all procedures inherent in the 21st century. There will simply not be a representative body of the Majlis. The Shura is not an elected body at all, the head of the tribe appoints his own person, plus all spiritual centers – his “martyrs”. No “declaration of human rights”, no inalienable rights. Their ideal is the Umayyaz and Abbasid caliphate of the 13th-13th centuries.

Although they say about Iran that it seeks to spread its Islamic revolution throughout the East, this is impossible, the Shiites are in the minority. But the Taliban can do this, taking into account that their ideology is close to the ideology of the Middle Eastern Arabs. No matter how right now the Taliban and ISIS *** are at enmity – after the terrorist attacks against the Americans at the Baron Hotel and at the Kabul airport – in general, they act hand in hand, as they did in the late 90s.

They pose a serious threat because they do not recognize any state borders, for them there is only a Sunni state. Although the Taliban can talk about respect for international law, but for the time being. Then they will trample in all directions.

For twenty years, nothing has changed, the Taliban simply took into account the lessons of 2001, when the Americans entered Afghanistan for the first time. They want to strengthen themselves first and then discard hypocrisy. So a lot of bloodshed awaits us. Big problems will arise between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. There will be big problems with Uzbekistan. The Taliban are now much more powerful militarily than they were. There is no former “Northern Alliance” headed by the charismatic Ahmad Shah Massoud. This is not a good situation.

“SP”: – Probably, the Americans have once again created a territory of “controlled chaos” to see how everything goes?

– This combination itself is devoid of any meaning. Americans are very good PR people. They are trying to turn any puncture they make, primarily for domestic American use, into a victory.

At one time, in 2002-2005, confusion began in Iraq – it was called “controlled chaos”, bloodshed began in Libya with the indirect participation of the Americans – again “controlled chaos”. Chaos cannot be controlled. Americans everywhere create what they do not want, first of all, for themselves – unforeseen actions and investment of money. And there will be chaos, only uncontrollable.

The Americans will now begin to broadcast through their foreign policy and Middle East Journal mouthpieces that “this is how it was planned.” Although they themselves swear in their hearts, no one needs chaos. And the Democratic propaganda machine for the English-speaking world will try to convince everyone “It was planned against China and Russia with its possible satellites”, that is, the Central Asian countries, members of the CSTO. This is just PR, in reality the Americans themselves grab their heads.

“SP”: – However, people need to eat, drink, dress. Shouldn’t they self-organize in order to somehow live?

– We are all “economically centric”, believing that financial injections and economic integration can ennoble any regime. Therefore, now they rely very much on China. The latter will pour investments into the real sector of the economy: mining, communications, and drive Turkmen oil through Afghanistan. But the Taliban, by and large, do not need this, they are not economists, they do not understand distant profits, they only understand what can be taken right now. It seems to me silly to count on China’s ennobling of the Taliban.

“SP”: – But maybe they will be engaged in the study of the Koran, reasoning over the statements: “It is good that Allah commanded or Allah commanded because it is good”?

– No, the religious and the secular are intertwined there. The task of any orthodox Muslim is to “carry the light of faith,” to fight the infidels. And they bring the light of faith not only through missionaries and the opening of spiritual centers. They did this in the second half of the 90s.

And now the situation is more favorable, because the Arab East has been ripped open. There are no more powerful secular regimes in the face Saddam Hussein, Hafez Assad, Muammar Gaddafi – they held back Islamism. An Islamic “international” of the Middle and Near East is being formed.

It’s like a surgical operation without anesthesia with an ax. They did not think about the consequences, the main thing was to knock off the regimes. Now little is remembered about this, but when the revolution began in Egypt, the Americans easily surrendered Hosni Mubarak… They also threw their Afghan allies …

Political scientist, orientalist Stanislav Tarasov suggests that there are forces that are trying to discredit the new government in Afghanistan and that there are forces that are exposing the Taliban in a positive way:

– In the capital Kabul, they behave more or less decently. They make civilized statements on women’s rights, education, and urge employees to return to work in ministries and embassies. And from the provinces, alarming messages are coming in, creating a negative picture. There is no complete clarity.

Their foreign policy is not clear. There is no government, it is just being formed. Some make statements that they will move north. But these are only declarations so far, how they will behave in reality is still difficult to say.

There are several scenarios. If driven into a corner, they can close with the forces of the Caliphate. If they succeed in achieving legitimation, they can remain within their national borders, as in Iraq or Saudi Arabia.

“SP”: – It is interesting that the children of the old leaders of the Taliban are being tipped into the government.

– This is an oriental tradition. Apparently, they do not have a sole leader; in Islamic traditions, they refuse leadership. But the question is, will the government, in order to reduce the intensity of separatism, be representatives of the Northern Alliance: Akhmat Masud, Abdul-Rashid Dostum, Hekmatyar?

While Western diplomats are amazed at the education of the new Taliban, their erudition. They are fluent in languages, orientated in the internal situation and in the geopolitical situation. These are not dense bearded men with Kalashnikovs who descended from the mountains. We have never seen such Taliban before.


* The Taliban Movement by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated February 14, 2003 recognized a terrorist organization, its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation are prohibited.

** “Taliban” in Pashto – students.

*** ISIS (Islamic State) – by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated December 29, 2014 recognized extremist / terrorist organization, its activities on the territory of Russia are prohibited.

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