Security

Afghan religious scholars condemn Taliban's 'illegitimate' war

By Raziq Kandahari

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Zabul religious scholars gather in Qalat on May 24 to urge the Taliban to embrace peace and put an end to the war. [Raziq Kandahari]

KANDAHAR -- The Taliban's war is against all Islamic and Afghan values, religious scholars in southwestern Afghanistan say, calling on the Taliban to stop killing Muslims.

"The war in Afghanistan is illegitimate from the viewpoint of Islam -- and from every other aspect," said Qari Sebghatullah Noorani, 53, a religious scholar in Lashkargah, Helmand Province.

"The Taliban fight to achieve other countries' interests and take over power," he said. "Listen, they signed a peace agreement with the United States while they continue killing Afghans. Is this acceptable logic?"

"The Taliban continue fighting in Helmand for the interests of some foreign intelligence networks, especially that of Iran," Noorani said.

"I call on the Taliban again to stop oppressing Afghans for God's sake," he said. "They should stop killing our sisters and brothers. This nation is tired of them and can't continue to tolerate this situation."

Mawlawi Mohammad Asghar Afghan, a religious scholar in Zabul Province, called the current war a "disaster" for Afghans.

"I swear to Allah that the Taliban don't fight for the religion and Sharia," he said. "They are fighting to achieve the goals of the terrorist and brutal Iranian government in our country."

"I call on the Taliban who fight on the front line to stop killing these oppressed and deprived Afghans," he said. "Your war is illegitimate."

Uptick in civilian casualties

There has been an increase in Taliban violence against civilians in southwestern Afghanistan after the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) defeated the militant group in face-to-face combat, local residents say.

"The Taliban, who are criminals and robbers, are responsible for all the miseries and shameful acts," said Sardar Muhammad Gharani, 73, a resident of Qalat, Zabul Province.

"The Taliban are either directly or indirectly involved in the killing of civilians wherever it happens," he said. "The Taliban take refuge in people's homes by the force of their weapons, and then they launch attacks on our brave security forces from those homes and villages."

During Ramadan, on May 10, a van full of civilian passengers hit a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) planted by the Taliban, Gharani said.

"Unfortunately, nine civilians including women, children and men were martyred and five more injured in the incident," he said. "What could be a bigger crime than this one? The Taliban's entire war is filled with enmity toward Islam and humanity, and no Afghan will ever forgive them."

Abdul Samad Akhundzada, a tribal elder in Uruzgan Province, also blamed the Taliban for civilian casualties.

More than 100 civilians have been killed or wounded in Deh Rahwood, Chora, Charchino and Khas Uruzgan districts and in Tirin Kot, Uruzgan Province, over the past year, he said.

"Residents of Uruzgan have lived in hardship and oppression for the past five years," he added. "The Taliban dragged civilians out of their homes in Khas Uruzgan and Charchino districts and in Tirin Kot city [and] turned the homes into their bases from which they fought with the security forces."

"Many villages and orchards have been destroyed in these areas because the Taliban used them as their bases," Akhundzada said. "More than 1,000 families have been displaced."

He called on the ANDSF to step up military pressure on the Taliban.

"The Taliban target only the innocent and poor civilians because they [the Taliban] have been defeated in direct fighting with the security forces," said Muhammad Rahim, 33, a resident of Police District 2 of Kandahar city.

"I tell our Taliban brothers that the security forces and civilians who are killed here are all Afghans," he said. "They should stop killing Afghans. This will help them see prosperity and growth in their country."

"I hope they join the peace process," Rahim said.

Victims of Taliban's bombs plead for mercy

Naser, 11, a resident of Maiwand District of Kandahar, lost a leg when the car he was travelling in passed over a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban.

"Three months ago, when I was on my way to my uncle's house in Khakhan village in Maiwand District, I was blown up by a mine near his home," he said on June 24.

"I lost one of my legs and sustained injuries in other parts of my body," the 4th grader said. "I now receive treatment at Mirwais Hospital [in Kandahar city]."

Remarkably, Naser has remained hopeful for the future.

"I'm not hopeless in life, as I hope I will soon recover, but I call on the Taliban and other groups not to target civilians like me," he said. "They should have mercy on us for our future. They should let us get an education so that we can build the future of our country."

Aminullah, 13, a resident of Uruzgan, is receiving treatment at Mirwais Hospital too.

"I was playing with my friends at a park in Kalacha village, Tirin Kot, when a mine exploded," he said. "Three children including me were injured. The other kids have recovered, but I became disabled. I lost one of my arms."

"I will never forget this incident," he said.

"Please have mercy on us," said Aminullah, addressing the Taliban. "Don't make us orphans. Don't kill us as we didn't do anything wrong. We are innocent."

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In fact, Iran is an enemy of America. Afghanistan's enemy is Pakistan. Iran is also an enemy of Afghanistan; however, it has not caused even half the damage to Afghanistan compared to the damaged caused by Pakistan. If America wants Afghanistan's support for enmity against Iran, then America has to provide financial and weaponry assistance to Afghanistan to crush its real enemy. Afghanistan is already destroyed by its neighbors and its people live a miserable life, it cannot get worse than it is; however, we want to see destruction of Tehran, Lahore and Islamabad in our life.

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Most of the Afghan religious scholars have performed their duty and declared their stance for ending the Afghan war; however, unfortunately the government was not able to keep security of the religious scholars. We lost tens of religious scholars during the last one year and they were martyred by enemies of peace and the country. Most of these scholars' assassination plans were made in Pakistan. The government should keep security of these scholars and listen to the scholars' opinions and ask for their advice in regards to bringing peace because religious scholars are shining stars of a society and they guide the people to the right path.

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Even a seven-year-old Afghan child of knows that the Afghan war has no legitimacy and this war has been launched for the killing of Afghans. Poor religious scholars of Afghanistan have issued statements hundreds times and called the Afghan war to be illegitimate. However, these religious scholars’ statements had no effect on the termination of the Afghan war, but the Afghan war is becoming more intense day by day. The fundamental solution is that Pakistan should come under pressures in order that the religious schools and religious scholars of Pakistan declare the war of Afghanistan illegitimate. Every day in Pakistan, they consider war against Kabul government legitimate and declare Jihad against the government. The Afghan war will not end as long as economic sanctions are not imposed on Pakistan by the international community.

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All the miseries of Afghanistan are because of these religious scholars. If Afghanistan really had true religious scholars, our situation would not have been so dire now, because Afghanistan was not destroyed by the illiterate people, but it was ruined by literate people and religious scholars. Is Professor Sayaaf not a religious scholar? Wasn’t Burhanuddin Rabbani a professor of Sharia? During Soviet occupation, they had declared jihad against the regime of that time and were fighting against it. They called the soldiers of the government of that time infidels and considered their killing legitimate, but when they overthrew the regime and took over the power, they committed more cruelties and atrocities than the communist regime. And when the United States occupied Afghanistan and removed Taliban from the power, the same religious scholars stood beside the Americans and declared jihad against those who were fighting against the Americans. These scholars do not interpret religion for the people in the right form. They interpret religion according to their own desires and benefits. The religious scholars who get salary from the government call the government legitimate and reject the people who are fighting against the government, but the religious scholars who are in the ranks of Taliban declare jihad against the government and call this government a colonized and puppet government of America. People lost their way whether they should accept what Professor Abdurrab Rasoul Sayyaf says, or what Mullah Hebatullah says. Should People tolerate the corruption of the government of Ashraf Ghani or the killings by Taliban? The people of Afghanistan have really lost their way, as which side they should stand at. If they support the government of Kabul, there is corruption in it, and if they support Taliban, they kill innocent people. The people of Afghanistan must choose a third option. A new system of government should be formed.

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