Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a law student in Kabul reports on new foreign influences in Afghanistan and growing signs of corruption and hypocrisy in the Taliban government that run contrary to their long-stated values. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
For years the Taliban indoctrinated Afghan youth from poor families in provinces with very low education to fight for them against foreign incurions into an Islamic country. The idea of fighting a holy jihad against foreigners is embedded in minds of thousands of Taliban fighters. Now that US and NATO troops has withdrawn from the country, however, new opportunities for interference may come from other superpowers in the region, namely China and Russia, and it not clear what the consequences of that will be.
The Taliban foreign minister recently met with his Russian counterpart in China, as a result of which Afghanistran’s embassy in Russia was handed over to Taliban diplomats. Meanwhile another key Taliban leader met with the Chinese foreign minister, assuring him of protection for Chinese companies’ investments in Afghan mines. Afghanistan is rich with rare minerals and the Chinese government had shown interest for years in investing in Afghan copper and lithium mines. To put this in perspective: Mes Aynak in Logar province of Afghanistan is one of the largest copper mines in the world. Also the lithium reserves of Afghanistan are estimated to be worth 3 trillion USD – a staggering amount to be at the mercy of a terrorist group and an immeasurable value for the Chinese electronic industry. This is a major incentive for China to do whatever it takes to hold on to Afghanistan. Chinese genocide of Uyghur Muslims and the reclord of China’s colonial treatment of African countries through investment seem to be unimportant for the immoral Taliban whom fought supposedly for Islam. Opening the door to the Chinese government would bring their propaganda machine and their state-sponsored media as well, and after that a direct political intrusion wouldn’t be far off, which could practically turn Afghanistan into a client state for the Chinese.
On the topic of foreign influence within the Taliban, Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of Afghanistan, has claimed that the Nangrahar airport has been handed over to Pakistan’s ISI. True or not, the intervention of foreign powers in the country is growing alarmingly. If those interventions are at cross-purposes there could be yet another proxy war within Afghanistan.
Another longtime incentivizing element Taliban recruiting was that the argument that the Afghan Republic’s administration was filled with corruption, profligacy and depravity. Ironically, since they have taken control, corruption in Afghanistan is in an all-time high rates. Just a single passport is sold for thousands of dollars and the legal process for public has been deliberately stopped many times. When started, asingle passport application can take some four to six months to be acquired. Meanwhile the Taliban recently ordered that the government’s chief directors and managers—all of whom are members of Taliban—will received extra bonuses on their salaries adding up to millions, while the average income for Afghan households is dropping daily and millions have had to break their Ramadan fasts with water.
The double standards applied by Taliban have been accurately recognized by the European Union special envoy who said that what troubles him about Afghanistan is the hypocritical, dishonest and cowardice behavior of Taliban. He said that the Taliban has shut down school for girls while their own daughters are sent for education abroad. Recently the Afghanistan International News Agency, which operates from outside of Afghanistan, released data on Taliban children who are now attending school, university and work in Islamabad, Peshawar and Doha in prestigious schools. Their girls play football and work in hospitals, while hundreds of thousands of regular Afghan girls in Afghanistan are turned back from their school gates at gun point.
Autocracies have always meant order in the eyes of the powerful, but have meant poverty and misery for the public. After the Taliban takeover a civil movement was born: “Work, Freedom and Bread” was its motto, but it died an early death. It seems that the Taliban agree with the movement’s motto, but only for themselves and their families.