Afghanistan: Chafing Under Talibanization

All is not smooth sailing in Afghanistan, and Azar Balkhi explains why:

The Taliban insurgency is historically a predominantly Pashtun movement, still have very little influence among other Afghanistan minority ethnic groups like the Tajiks, Uzbek and Hazaras. It’s hard to keep others from one who believes that gun is jewel of men. If nobody ends the culture of Pashtun warlordism, in 50 years the entire country will become Taliban…

Now the new democratic constitution gives an equal right to women and men but Pashtun rulers avoid that and trying to keep women toward the back and make them think that they just belong to kitchen and inside home. Banning female voice from public data lines means they are no longer part of our society.

He also complains about U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad meddling in the country's politics.

یونس انتظار, on the other hand, notes a different struggle the country faces:

The 20th anniversary of the World AIDS Day in Afghanistan was celebrated in a situation that the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) has recorded 505 HIV positive cases of which 7 patients were died because of this disease while last year there were only around 250 positive cases.

Afghan health officials must deal with what is sometimes called a “closet culture,” which in risky behavior, such as unprotected sex or the sharing of heroin needles, is rarely if ever discussed. Silence leads to people not disclosing their status if they're even diagnosed, which leads to an environment ripe for rapid HIV infection.

But how can any of this be related to Talibanization? Sanjar explains that the problem is really one of institutions… more accurately, the lack of any:

I don’t believe Taliban are a social force with an agenda and connected with locality, instead I think Taliban are the harshest form of a resistance movement which is created when the country is in a political vacuum. Their arbitrary and cruel methods of compelling order is imposed when the society fails to find any workable agenda. Taliban are not a unique creation, political history is full of movements which emerged after the ascribed socio-political systems constantly failed, these movements such as Wahabis in early twenty century Arabia are cruel and despotic. Taliban emerged in 1994 after Mujahideen tyranny and failure of half a dozen governments before them. Taliban offered no better life than Mujaheeden, but they were more arbitrary and cruel while Mujahideen were simply corrupt and this is why I think Taliban managed to rule. Taliban are returning again; this time people know what they are expecting, there is no dream and no hope, nobody expect Taliban to be anything else than Taliban.

That is a bleak statement, but he argues it well. There are, however, always signs of hope: Tim Foxley sees great promise in the new Minister of the Interior.

The Afghan cabinet reshuffle last month saw the move of the efficient and corruption-free Hanif Atmar from the Education Ministry to the Ministry of Interior. His efforts will be resisted but this could prove a crucial boost to police reform efforts and attempts to tackle government corruption generally.

It can be expected there will be more discussions of Afghanistan's institutional challenges as a new wave of voter registration is opened up for the 2009 and 2010 elections.


  • It doesn’t seem like there’s a clear-cut answer for Afghanistan. An informal poll of Americans really shows the split:

  • rico jan

    Taliban are true freedom fighters of the world .The only force that does not want to be a slave of a man or so called super power rather Allha slave & they will bring USA & Nato to a samefull lost in the world long live the taliban.

  • Hazara King

    Rico Jan Taliban can have Shariah Law in Pashtun area not in the rest of the country. If they try to come again on North or central we will defeated them like we did in 1994-2001

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