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Mullah Heybatullah Ahundzade’s Messages of the Mullahs Meeting

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The highest official in the organizational structure of the Taliban is the leader who bears the title of “Emir al-Mu’minin”.  In the Taliban regime, all political, military and religious forces are gathered in the leader.  In this context, it is prevented from taking any decisions without the approval of the leader in foreign policy, domestic policy, economy and in every field.  Because the Taliban believe in a theocratic state, that the leader is the shadow of God and that it is obligatory to obey him.  In the Taliban understanding of the state, it is not possible for the leader to be dismissed without being associated with Allah, except for his death or resignation.  In other words, it is not possible to dismiss the leader and/or force him to resign because the leader’s policies are not liked or not sufficient.  The founding leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, died in 2013, but the Taliban announced the death of the leader in 2015.  After the announcement, Mullah Akhtar Muhammed Mansur took over the leadership instead of Mullah Omar.  In 2016, Mullah Mansur was killed on the Iran-Pakistan border by the United States (USA) drone and he was replaced by Mullah Heybatullah Akhundzade.  Since 2016, Ahunzade has been working as the Emir al-Mu’min of the Taliban.

The Taliban do not consider it appropriate for its leader to meet with the public and appear in the media for security reasons.  Although the Taliban has once again dominated Afghanistan and established a government, the leader of the Taliban does not come together with the people and does not make a statement to the press.  The fact that the Taliban leader is hidden leaves the Afghan people in doubt whether the leader is alive or not.

The Taliban called 3500 Mullahs from all over the country to Kabul and formed the “Mullahs Meeting”. The Taliban officials stated that the meeting was suggested by the mullahs and the Taliban welcomed it and provided the conditions.  The one-hour speech of Emir al-Mu’min Molla Heybetullah Ahundzade left its mark on the meeting.  However, no visual sharing was made regarding the conversation.  Because Akhundzade’s views and statements form the basis of the domestic and foreign policy of the Taliban Government.  In his speech, the leader of the Taliban made statements on the country’s administrative system, domestic policy, foreign policy and economy.  Akhundzade started his speech by talking about the victory of the Taliban and stated that “the success of jihad in Afghanistan honors not only Afghans but all Muslims”.  Afterwards, the leader commemorated the Afghans who lost their lives in the last 20 years and said, “If Muslims and Afghans died in our attacks, it was done to get these infidels out of the country and reach the current situation.”[1]  In addition, the leader described the 20-year war as jihad and conveyed his thanks to those who supported them.  As it is known, the Taliban have carried out suicide attacks in the last 20 years, causing the deaths of security forces and civilians.  With these statements, the Taliban leader emphasized that the main reason for the deaths of civilians who lost their lives in the last 20 years is not the Taliban, but the occupation.

On the domestic policy issue, Akhundzade stated that the foundation of the Taliban Government is based on sharia and that the country will be governed in line with the recommendations of the mullahs.  The leader argues that it is the main duty of the state to apply the shari’ah and to gain the approval of God.  Defining the 20-year war as an “Aqidah War”, he stated that the main goals of the enemy against the Taliban are to end the sharia.  Akhundzade said that with the Taliban’s domination of Afghanistan again, talking about “sharia” and “invitation” in the country became liberal.  In addition, Ahunzade described the Taliban Government as servants of the people, religion and Hanafi sect and defined it as a government established on the basis of “Pure Sharia”. The Taliban leader added that the “pure Islamic state” promised to the people during the jihad process has now been implemented.

The leader of the Taliban claimed that security in the country would be ensured by sharia, obedience and justice, and stated that sharia should be applied first to the government itself and then to the people.  He emphasized that obedience is behind ensuring security and in this context, the people must obey the district governor, the district governor to the governor, the governor to the ministers, and all state officials and the people to the Emirül-ul-Mumin.

He stated that the administration attaches importance to the constructive advice of scholars, but advised that it should avoid proposals that would weaken the Taliban Government.  Akhundzade argued that the survival of the country will be ensured by justice and that justice will be provided by the just decisions of the scholars and the good practices of the government. Apart from these, Akhundzade used the phrase “Sultan is the shadow of Allah in the Islamic system and the subjects must obey him”.  With these statements, the Taliban leader addressed the Afghan people and stated that the foundation of the country was based on sharia and the advice of mullahs rather than the will of the people. Although the Taliban leader accused the old regime of being irreligious, it is known that in the last 20 years, the invitation has been free in Afghanistan and the laws of the state are based on Islamic rules.

As for his opponents, the Taliban leader said that the Taliban government is loyal to the general amnesty, that people who want to return to the country will be warmly welcomed, but those who wage war against the Taliban will be punished for the benefit of Islam, Muslims and the public.[2]With this statement, the leader of the Taliban stated that he did not recognize any other option but to pledge allegiance to his opponents.

Regarding the economic problems, the Taliban leader pointed out that the administration of the country was in the hands of the Mullahs, and argued that if the mullahs and the subjects were united and security was ensured, the economic problems would be solved by themselves.  He stated that there should be no expectations from the infidels for the restructuring of Afghanistan and that Afghan traders should achieve this.  He also added that the Taliban Government ensured the transparent use of public resources by putting an end to corruption, bribery, bullying, ethnic conflict, nepotism and regional disputes.  With these statements, the Taliban leader acknowledged that there are economic and social problems in Afghanistan, but also gave the message that the problems can be solved without the support of the international community.

The area that the Taliban leader emphasized the most was foreign policy.  In this context, Heybatullah Akhundzade said, “Afghanistan is now a free and independent state, and even if the infidels drop atomic bombs, I will not give up on sharia and will not listen to their words.”  The leader of the Taliban, without mentioning any state, stated that he brought the most powerful state in the world to its knees, that some states were trying to overthrow the Taliban government, and that the mullahs and Taliban leaders should act in unison against the provocations and repel evil plans.  In addition, the leader pointed out that they would surrender only to Allah and his suggestions and that they would not bow to any power other than God.[3]With these statements, the leader of the Taliban claims that the legitimacy of the Taliban is the liberation of the country by fighting against the US and foreign powers.  Akhundzade declared that he was aware of the aims of the enemies of the Taliban Government and would not compromise on the “Pure Islamic State”, which was the main target of the Taliban.  In other words, the leader of the Taliban states that he will not negotiate with the international community on a Sharia-based state, and that this is the red line of the Taliban regime.

Regarding neighboring states, the Taliban leader emphasized that they do not have bad will towards their neighbors and that they want goodness, security and peace because Islam commands it, and said that there is no threat to any neighboring state from Afghanistan.  With this statement, the Taliban leader also gave the message that he was aware of the security concerns of neighboring states.

When the statements of the Taliban leader are evaluated, it is remarkable that he emphasized that he has the authority, but that he did not and will not take a step in line with the expectations of the international community.  Clearly, the message was given that the foundation of the state is based on sharia and the will of the mullahs, and that the Taliban government will not back down in line with the wishes of the international community.  However, as it can be seen, Afghanistan does not have the capacity to solve its problems by its own means.  For these reasons, Afghanistan should be accepted as a part of the international community and the Taliban, who hold power in Afghanistan, should develop a policy taking into account the realities in order to keep its economy alive, to solve the humanitarian crisis and to implement infrastructure projects.  Otherwise, it is not possible to say that the Taliban administration will be able to overcome the problems.

[1] “سخنان منسوب به رهبر طالبان در نشست علما: “ما اهل انتخابات نیستیم””, afintl, https://www.afintl.com/202207012815, (Date of Accession: 04.07.2022).

[2]“رهبر طالبان در کابل: حتی اگر به ما حمله اتمی شود به دستورهای خارجی‌ها گوش نمی‌کنیم”, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/persian/afghanistan-62006075, (Date of Accession: 04.07.2022).

[3]“رهبر طالبان در کابل: حتی اگر به ما حمله اتمی شود به دستورهای خارجی‌ها گوش نمی‌کنیم”, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/persian/afghanistan-62006075, (Date of Accession: 04.07.2022).

Ahmad Khan DAWLATYAR
Ahmad Khan Dawlatyar, 2013 yılında Kunduz Üniversitesi Hukuk ve Siyaset Bilimi Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Siyaset Bilimi Anabilim Dalı’nda “Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ve Afganistan İslam Cumhuriyeti Anayasalarında Güçler Ayrılığı İlkesi Üzerine Karşılaştırmalı Bir Analiz” başlıklı teziyle 2019 yılında almıştır. Çeşitli bilimsel etkinliklere katılan Dawlatyar, Afganistan sorunuyla ilgili bildiriler ve makaleler sunmuştur. Bu kapsamda “Afganistan Sorununun Dini ve İdeolojik Nedenleri” başlıklı sunumu yayınlanmıştır. Halihazırda Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. ANKASAM bünyesinde yürütülen çalışmalara katkıda bulunan Ahmad Khan Dawlatyar’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Afganistan ve Pakistan’dır. Dawlatyar, anadil seviyesinde Farsça, Özbekçe, Türkçe ve Peştunca dillerine hakimdir. Ayrıca orta düzeyde İngilizce bilmektedir.