Security

Can the Taliban justify its continued 'jihad' in Afghanistan?

By Sulaiman

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Taliban militants and villagers attend a gathering in Alingar District, Laghman Province, March 2, as they celebrate the peace deal signed by US negotiators and Taliban representatives on February 29. On March 2, the Taliban said they were resuming offensive operations against Afghan security forces, ending the partial truce that preceded the signing of the deal. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

KABUL -- The Taliban's continued violence after signing a peace agreement with the United States in February is raising questions about how the militant group justifies its ongoing "jihad" in Afghanistan.

The Taliban in the past justified its war as so-called "jihad" due to the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

However, the peace deal Washington signed with the Taliban promises the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from Afghanistan by May 2021, provided the Taliban start talks with Kabul and adhere to other guarantees.

The withdrawal is ahead of schedule, with approximately 8,500 US troops remaining, a senior US defence official told AFP on May 28, even as the Taliban ramped up attacks on Afghan security forces until a recent ceasefire for Eid ul Fitr.

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Men May 20 sit on the back of a vehicle carrying the bodies of victims, one day after gunmen opened fire on worshippers offering evening prayers at a mosque in Charikar, Parwan Province. The attack killed at least seven people and wounded 12, a local police chief said. [Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP]

That reality shows that the Taliban's war is against Afghans and Muslims.

"The Taliban have no religious justification to continue waging war -- which they call 'jihad' -- on the people and government of Afghanistan," said Sayed Naqibullah Hashemi, a political analyst in Kabul.

"The killing of Afghans and Afghan security forces, all of whom are Muslims, is not jihad," he said. "It is a crime and a major sin, and the Taliban should understand that they will not reach their goals by killing Afghans."

If the Taliban's "jihad" was un-Islamic even before signing the peace agreement, it is certainly unjustified now, said Najibullah Azad, a political analyst in Kabul.

"Before the Taliban reached a settlement with the United States, all Shia and Sunni scholars inside Afghanistan and religious scholars of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia had issued a fatwa that the Taliban's war was not 'jihad' and that it was illegitimate," he said.

"It implies that the Taliban's war wasn't jihad even before their agreement with the US, and we can't call it 'jihad' after the agreement either."

"The continuation of the Taliban's war after their agreement with the United States shows that they are not fighting because of the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, but rather... to achieve power and ensure the interests of neighbouring countries," Azad said.

"The Taliban know that they cannot achieve power through democratic means and popular votes; therefore, they bring up excuses and do not want to begin intra-Afghan peace talks," he said.

"The Taliban's insistence on the continuation of war ... means that they want to fight against Afghans and Muslims. This war is not 'jihad' but rather the bloodshed of Afghans and Muslims," said Azad.

Preparations for peace

"The Taliban's war was illegitimate from its onset," said Dawa Khan Menapal, a deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.

"If the Taliban were fighting the presence of foreign troops, they have no excuse after their agreement with the United States to continue fighting against a country with a globally recognised Islamic government where Muslims live, as doing so is wrong and illegitimate," he said.

"The government is determined to bring peace, and we have taken effective steps in this regard," Menapal said. "The people look forward to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. We can reach a dignified peace if a ceasefire is reached and if both parties address their issues through a dialogue."

The peace deal stipulated the Afghan government free 5,000 Taliban prisoners. For their part, the insurgents were to release 1,000 pro-government captives in return.

"The release of Taliban prisoners is in progress, and we expect that violence declines and that the ceasefire is extended," Menapal said.

"The government is fully prepared for intra-Afghan [peace] talks as they have identified their negotiation team, and the Taliban have no excuse for turning their back on intra-Afghan negotiations."

"Violence has shrunk in certain areas, but it still continues in some other areas," he said. "The government and people welcome every positive step the Taliban take in reducing violence and toward [maintaining] the ceasefire."

Peace: the only solution

"After the three-day ceasefire during Eid, it seems that violence has declined in many areas," said Mohammad Salem Hasani, a university lecturer and religious scholar in Kabul. "Now, Taliban fighters should realise that they have no justification to continue fighting."

"What the Taliban do in the name of 'jihad' contradicts the [true] jihad defined in Islamic teachings," he said. "The Taliban's war does not benefit Afghans or Muslims; therefore, there is no justification for it in Sharia."

"Both parties have fought against each other with their full strength for 20 years, resulting in the killing of tens of thousands of combatants," said Ahmad Khan Muslim, a political analyst in Kandahar.

"The Taliban weren't able to bring down the Afghan government, and the government wasn't able to destroy the Taliban either," he said.

"Given this situation, we think that the only solution to stop the war and bloodshed of Afghans and Muslims is to engage in negotiation and make peace."

"We see that after the Eid ceasefire, the violence has diminished, and Afghans hope that the Taliban realise that as their leaders have made peace with the United States, their jihad against their fellow Muslim countrymen is no longer legitimate," said Muslim.

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23/6/2020 In order to force Taliban to make peace, the international community must put pressure on Pakistan and Iran. To do so, the United States, China and Russia must work together. Especially, they should put pressure on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia so that they stop supporting Taliban and other armed groups which are against the Afghan government.

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In my opinion, from now on sitting with Taliban and the United States and discussing peace in Afghanistan will be without result, because the two are equal and do not differ from each other. Both factions are terrorists, looters, marauders ... In which book is it written that jihad is lawful against your Muslim brothers? Therefore, both factions (America and Taliban) will be disgraced and failed before the whole world with their trick and deception as well as their destructive activities, but I feel sorry for the families of the martyrs and the rest of innocent Afghans, as what will happen to their fate. May God save our beloved country, Afghanistan from this evil circle of the United States and its allies.

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Taliban are the main enemies of Afghanistan, as they have no mercy on the Afghan people, military forces and religious scholars. They are infidels and cannot be Muslims, because Muslims never kill their own brothers, but they have mercy on anyone.

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Taliban is a hireling and mercenary group; we should never trust mercenary and accursed group. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan should put so much pressure on the group in order that they cannot escape. Then they will be forced either to make peace or to disappear from the map of my beautiful country forever. Long live my country’s brave forces who are fighting against these savages.

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In order to bring Taliban to make peace, the International Community should put pressure on Pakistan and Iran. For this, America, China and Russia need to work together, particularly Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should be forced to stop supporting Taliban and other armed groups who are against the Afghan government.

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If Taliban are mercenaries of the foreign countries and receive their commands, instructions and orders from outside of Afghanistan, this war will undoubtedly continue. It is also worth-mentioning that due to poverty and unemployment, a number of Taliban fighters will join the ISIS group, and ISIS group will take responsibility for continuing the war. Again the poor and destitute people, who have been burned in the fire of misery for years, will be displaced and migrate; however, no one knows who supply ISIS financially and militarily? The group will launch more destructive official and open activities in Afghanistan than before. That will eventually lead to the arrival of Russia and Iran into this territory.

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Before September 11, Taliban were in this country and according to them, Jihad was continuing, but now as American forces withdraw, there is still the same story. As Hillary Clinton said that they created Taliban and they could destroy them, which was a futile and void illusion. Now the difference is that if the United States stops supporting Taliban as Mrs. Clinton had said and imposes military and economic pressures on Pakistan and other supporters of Taliban, then Taliban will probably not have any convincing justification for carrying out jihad against their own Muslim brothers in Afghanistan.

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From now Taliban cannot give religious justification to their war against the Afghan government. In the past, if they gave religious justification to their war, foreign forces were present in the country and were directly involved in the war. Now they are leaving the country, and they will no longer take part in the war. So, Taliban’s war against Afghans is ridiculous and stupid.

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Taliban's war in Afghanistan has no longer religious justification, because foreign troops are leaving the country and Taliban themselves have signed an agreement with them that they would no longer attack on each other, and that all foreign and American forces would leave Afghanistan in the next one year. Therefore, when foreign troops are not present in the country, Taliban’s war against Afghans themselves does not make sense. If they continue to fight against their Afghan and Muslim brothers and the Afghan government, not only will this have no religious justification, but they will commit a great sin to kill innocent people. If Taliban are really Muslims and are aware of religious teachings, they must stop the war, come and start a peaceful life in Kabul. They have also been tired of war. They have fought for 20 years to end the occupation in the country, and they have finally defeated the occupation and forced the United States to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, because the United States has realized that it can no longer succeed and win the war against Taliban. The United States saw that every day poor civilians of the country are sacrificed, and made a wise decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. Although the United States is a non-Muslim country, but it understood the reality of the war in Afghanistan, as this war no longer makes sense. So Taliban, who are Muslims, must understand that their war against the Afghans and the Afghan government is meaningless. If they continue to fight, they will undoubtedly commit a great sin, and God will punish them severely in the Hereafter.

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