Taliban imposing rigid laws of their past rule in Afghanistan’s captured dists

ISLAMABAD: Civil society activists and locals in Afghanistan have alleged that the Taliban have started imposing strict, harsh and regressive laws in districts they have captured from the government.
A report published by Ariana News — an Afghan news broadcaster — revealed that the Taliban have allegedly issued orders for all men to grow out their beards; banned women from leaving their homes without male guardians (mehram); and announced dowry regulations for women wishing to get married.
The claims evoked fears of a return to the orthodox and ultra-conservative Afghanistan of the 1990s, when the Taliban ruled the country with an iron fist, stoning people to death and chopping their hands for offenses and imposed harsh laws on women in violation of their rights enshrined in their country’s Constitution.
“In a statement, the Taliban have urged women not to leave their homes without a male relative. They have also urged men to grow their beards and barred barbers from shaving beards of men or having an unapproved haircut,” said Merajuddin, a civil society activist in the Afghan province of Takhar. He claimed that the Taliban have also started insisting on trials without evidence.
In addition to the alleged rights violations, members of the Takhar provincial council said that food prices have surged in the areas that have fallen to the Taliban. “People are facing problems there; services are nonexistent, clinics and schools are closed,” Mohammad Azam Afzali, a member of the Takhar’s provincial council, was quoted by Ariana News as saying.
Meanwhile, Takhar’s governor Abdullah Qarluq claimed that the Taliban have destroyed several government buildings in districts that have been captured by them.
Activists in the province have urged Kabul to launch clearance operations to oust the group from their areas.
The Taliban, however, have rejected the claims, terming them a “propaganda” against the group.
The Afghan broadcaster’s report comes in the backdrop of multiple reports of the Taliban attacking and taking control of districts in various provinces of the country over the past few weeks.
Since the US declared that it would completely withdraw from the country by September 11, the Taliban have made rapid inroads, capturing several districts even in the north, which never remained their stronghold. The UN even warned that the Taliban were laying a siege around big cities, including capital Kabul, to take over.
In a speech to Parliament this week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan regretted that the leverage Pakistan had over the Taliban had been severely reduced by US President Joe Biden’s troops withdrawal announcement, adding that the insurgents believed they had “defeated” the super power and driven it out of their country. He also stressed that the only viable solution to the crisis was a negotiated settlement.
The Taliban commitment to negotiations with any entity other than the Americans has always been ambiguous. They regard the government in Kabul as a puppet of the Americans and barely hide their contempt for it. They have never committed to a power-sharing arrangement with the government, much less elections.
The Kabul government, on its part, has repeatedly expressed its belief that the Taliban’s true intention is to seize power by force and reinstate the harsh Islamic Emirate of the 1990s.

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