The Taliban are taking umbrage with “enemy propaganda” that refers to them as an insurgent or terrorist group, arguing that the Washington Post correctly characterized them as a parallel government in a recent article.
“Taliban governance is more coherent than ever before; high-level commissions govern sectors such as finance, health, education, justice and taxation, with clear chains of command and policies from the leadership based in Pakistan down to villages in Afghanistan,” stated the think-tank. “The reach of Taliban governance demonstrates that they do not have to formally occupy territory to control what happens within it. Governance does not come after the capture of territory, but precedes it. The Taliban’s influence on services and everyday life extends far beyond areas they can be said to control or contest. That the Taliban set the rules in vast swathes of the country is a reality with which few in the international community are willing to engage.”
The Washington Post article said the study painted a “very different portrait” for “those who imagine that Taliban control in some regions of Afghanistan consists mainly of men being beaten for failing to pray and girls being forced to stay home from school.”
In a statement Tuesday, the Taliban complained that “the opposition and media have been propagating over the past two decades that the Islamic Emirate is a rebellious group that is hostile towards education, does not respect basic human rights, does not have capacity of good governance, and cannot provide services, welfare projects, justice and security.”
“It is not only us who claim that the Islamic Emirate is providing a secure and just Islamic governance in areas of our control, but a number of western media outlets and research groups have also come to the same conclusion and are broadcasting this reality after extensive research,” the terror group added, citing “the famous American newspaper ‘The Washington Post’” and the ODI study.
“These and other such reports prove that contrary to enemy propaganda, the Islamic Emirate is a just movement committed to the welfare, development and success of its fellow countrymen and operates as a coherent government system,” the Taliban added. “…America and those participating in this occupation must detest from fooling themselves any further and labeling our national uprising (Jihad) as terrorism to continue giving themselves a pretext for extending the war.”
The WaPo article doesn’t mention the Taliban alliance with al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network, nor recent attacks such as the January massacre at the Intercontinental Hotel by Taliban jihadists in which fleeing hotel guests were sprayed with bullets.
The story noted that the report “cited complaints of arbitrary or extreme rulings and noted that Taliban religious rules remain similar to those in the past Taliban regime: mandatory beards, no music, no TV, no women in public without a male escort.”
The report also “suggested that the insurgents’ reported income from drugs may be exaggerated and that they encourage opium poppy growing because it helps the poor survive and makes them more compliant with Taliban control.”