Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after Taliban takeover. Here, a law student in Kabul offers his perspective on recent conflicts within factions of the Taliban and suggests that if the Taliban cannot somehow connect with the new communities they are now governing there may be greater prospects for yet another war in the country. For privacy and security reasons we are withholding the name and institutional affiliation of our correspondent. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
Internal conflict anong elements of the Taliban has been erupting in various forms throughout the entire country, from the fight among the leaders of different sects of Taliban inside the Arg (presidential palace) in the early days after capturing Kabul, and lately sparring between Uzbek Taliban fighters and those who Pashtuns, who make up the main body and leadership of the Taliban.
An influential local leader among the Uzbeks in Faryab province—Makhdom Aalem—was recently arrested by the Taliban and had been brought to Kabul. This resulted in protests which – given that both parties of Taliban possess arms – escalated into a fight that lasted for nearly four days. Although it has not been a full scale fight, conflicts erupted here and there in Maimana, the capital city of Faryab province.
Local news outlets have not been reporting the casualties of these unrests, but local told me via telephone that at least in the first day of contact between the two sides there had been eight deaths. Aside from this there are no reports of casualties, which prompts one to speculate on the scale of the conflict. The Taliban have been trying to depict the situation as a simple protest, but footages of the fighting trending in Afghan social media shows Pashtun Taliban being overrun by the Uzbeks. Today Afghanistan International reported the end of the conflict, after a delegation of Taliban spoke to the protesters. That media source also reported quoting form the locals that the Taliban delegation has accused the protesters of receiving money and have tried to simply scare them off. Suspicions are that if a stable solution is not proposed by Kabul administration these protests may erupts again soon, perhaps in an uglier form.
On another note today, in Kabul women protested in support of the family of Zainab Abulhai, a young woman whom was shot by the Taliban militants two days ago in the Dasht-e-Barchi district of Kabul, and Alia Azizi, the director of women’s penitentiary facility in Herat, who is missing and is beleived to have been in the custody of Taliban for nearly four months. Taliban gunmen open fire on the car where Zainab and her relative where the passengers, returning form a wedding. Zianab’s sister told a local news outlet that “it (the bullet) penetrated the car and hit my sister’s heart, she died in my arms”.
As time goes by, the Taliban government is not getting rooted inside the communities they are there to govern. The fact that Taliban fighters, particularly in the capital and in the northern provinces remain alien to local communities feeds the resistance forces and present those with an opportunity to recruit if they are able bear the financial cost, of course. This also prompts the average person to wait and watch and weep for fear of another war that may not be that far off—a war for liberty perhaps but still a war.