October 2, 2020 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1532

Intra-Afghan Talks Deadlocked In Qatar, Taliban Mount Terror Attacks In 24 Afghan Provinces, Demand 'A Pure Islamic Government'

October 2, 2020 | By Tufail Ahmad*
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1532

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Afghan Taliban deputy emir Mullah Baradar in Doha


While the intra-Afghan talks remain deadlocked in Doha, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Afghan Taliban organization) has continued to mount terror attacks across the country and on September 27, 2020, marked the 24th anniversary of the Fall of Kabul in 1996. The Islamic Emirate ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until the jihadi regime was dislodged from power by the U.S. military in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on American cities in 2001.

On September 27, 2020, the Afghan defense ministry reported that the Taliban had mounted terror attacks in 24 of the country's 34 provinces within the preceding 24 hours. Fawad Aman, the deputy spokesman of the Afghan defense ministry, named the provinces in which the Taliban terror attacks took place: Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Nuristan, Kapisa, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Logar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah, Badghis, Ghor, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Helmand, Kunduz, Badakhshan, and Baghlan.[1]

For practical reasons, the Taliban have never ceased waging war against the Afghan security forces. On the night of September 29, the Taliban terrorists stormed the Farang district headquarters in Baghlan province and were subsequently able to enter the police headquarters too.[2] Similar attacks in various Afghan provinces are a routine affair. "In defiance of the peace process and the aspiration of the Afghan people," the defense ministry spokesman observed, "the Taliban have kept the level of violence very high. They stage terrorist attacks on the Afghan people and the security forces on a daily basis."[3]

While America has thought it morally fit to continue to hold talks with the Taliban in Doha, the European Parliament was forced by the Taliban-led growing bloodshed in Afghanistan and on October 1, 2020, issued a statement, saying: "We call upon all stakeholders in Afghanistan to put in place an immediate and permanent ceasefire" – a demand the Taliban have consistently refused to defy with the understanding that they have already defeated America.[4]

It should be noted that the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda have felt victorious after the signing of the U.S.-Taliban deal in Doha. In August, the Islamic Emirate issued a statement saying: "Allah willing, the time is not far when the pride of America like that of the British colonialists shall be shattered and they too shall beg for cessation of hostilities."[5]

Also, on September 27, to mark the 24th anniversary of the Fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the Islamic Emirate issued a statement saying: "A civil war erupted among a number of power-hungry elements and their communist allies following the collapse of the communist regime [in 1989 in Kabul leading to lawlessness], and although the entire country was facing a phase of corruption and civil strife, the epicentre of corruption and tragedy was the historic capital our [spiritual] homeland, Kabul, as the city was divided among multiple notorious factional warring parties and transformed into a battleground."[6]

Afghan Taliban Statement: "Let Us All Show Resolve For The Future Of Attaining The Lofty Goal Of Our Nation With The Establishment Of A Pure Islamic Government"

Commenting on how the Taliban rose to stop the civil war, the statement noted: "Nearly three quarters of the infrastructure of Kabul was completely ravaged and destroyed by the three years of war. The country was not only destroyed in a materialistic context, but the story of moral degradation and the plunder and ransacking of historic artifacts, libraries and museums is manifold tragic. Plots were hatched to divide the country and there remained no light of hope. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan arose in these times of great darkness, clearing the country from warlords, uniting a country fractured on fault lines, cleansing Kabul from corrupt and marauding elements, and safeguarding the lives, wealth and honor of the Afghan nation."[7]

The parties to the intra-Afghan talks, which were deadlocked within days after starting on September 12, have failed to agree on what form of government should prevail in Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate has demanded that "a pure Islamic government" based on shari'a must be implemented, while the elected government of President Ashraf Ghani has insisted that there will not be any compromise about the republican nature of the government in the country.[8]

In its statement marking the 24th anniversary of the Fall of Kabul, the Islamic Emirate once again talked about "a pure Islamic system" needed in Afghanistan, stating: "On this exact day [in 1996], a rule of such a pure Islamic system was established in our homeland which was the aspiration and goal of half a million martyrs of our people."[9]

The emblem of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

The Taliban organization further noted: "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan congratulates its persecuted and mujahid nation on the occasion of this historic day and bears glad tidings about the near approach of times when our country shall once again celebrate days of freedom and liberation from presence of invaders and the current rule. So, let us all show resolve for the future of attaining the lofty goal of our nation with the establishment of a pure Islamic government, Allah willing and nothing is hard for Allah the Almighty."[10]

The intra-Afghan talks emerged from the U.S.-Taliban deal of February 29, 2020, to which the elected Afghan government was not a party and which the U.S. signed in the Qatari capital despite the Taliban continuing to nurture relations with Al-Qaeda.[11] The intra-Afghan talks are expected to pave the way for the Islamic Emirate to share power in Kabul while the organization's strategy in Afghanistan has always been to fight its way to besiege the Afghan capital and forcibly remove the Ghani government. For this reason, the Taliban do not recognize the elected government in Kabul and the Afghan delegation at the talks includes, at the Taliban's insistence, prominent non-government Afghan leaders.

At Intra-Afghan Talks In Doha, The Islamic Emirate Demanded Release Of About 8,000 Taliban Prisoners, In Addition To The 5,000 Already Freed

In addition to their demands for shari'a rule in Afghanistan, the Taliban have also been raising new demands in Doha. Soon after the start of the talks in Doha, the Islamic Emirate demanded the release of about 8,000 Taliban prisoners, in addition to the 5,000 already freed.[12] On September 28, Afghan journalist Karim Amini wrote: "The Taliban insist that without recognizing the U.S.-Taliban deal as a main foundation of the peace process in Afghanistan, the continuation of current talks between both sides of the Afghan peace negotiations will not have meaning."[13]

However, the contentious points involve the Hanafi school of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam as the guide to the nature of the Afghan government institutions and the Afghan military resulting in the curtailment of democratic freedoms. The Taliban's insistence on Hanafi jurisprudence has also raised questions about the religious freedom of Shi'ite Muslims.

Karim Amini noted: "The republic's team has proposed that if a religious issue arises it can be solved based on Hanafi fiqh [jurisprudence] by default. However, the Shia Personal Status Law must be respected, and the choice of religious jurisprudence should be given to other minority groups as well."[14] However, the democratically elected Afghan government has been routinely badgered by the United States,[15] following the U.S.-Taliban deal signed in February 2020, as well as by other Taliban allies such as Pakistan and Qatar, the last continuing to remain the host of the intra-Afghan talks despite its role in the 9/11 terror attacks being evidenced.[16]

* Tufail Ahmad is Senior Fellow for the MEMRI Islamism and Counter-Radicalization Initiative


[1] (Afghanistan), September 27, 2020.

[2] (Afghanistan), September 30, 2020.

[3] (Afghanistan), September 27, 2020.

[4] (Afghanistan), October 1, 2020.

[6] (Afghanistan), September 27, 2020.

[7] (Afghanistan), September 27, 2020.

[9] (Afghanistan), September 27, 2020.

[10] (Afghanistan), September 27, 2020.

[13] (Afghanistan), September 28, 2020.

[14] (Afghanistan), September 28, 2020.

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