Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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From repression to liquidation: Afghan minister reveals Taliban's tendencies towards killing opponents

Wednesday 29/March/2023 - 11:49 PM
The Reference
Mohamed Yosry


The Taliban has not hidden its violent and exclusionary tendencies since its return to power again in Afghanistan in August 2021, despite its leaders announcing shifts in their approach towards certain issues, as their actions on the ground contradict these shifts in many files, including politics, economy, and freedoms, in addition to the violent rhetoric against its opponents, which amounts to physical liquidation and extrajudicial execution.


Killing liberties

On the morning of Sunday, March 12, video recordings appeared of the Minister of Higher Education in the interim Afghan government affiliated with the Taliban, Neda Mohammad Nadeem, in which he said, “Anyone who criticizes the Taliban movement should be killed,” adding, “Those who destabilize the regime with words, pens, or actions must be killed. Anyone who criticizes the Taliban in writing, speech, and the media must be killed.”

These threats came during the minister's speech about girls' education and the movement's insistence on denying them their rights to education after local and international criticism against the Taliban's orientations against women and the organization of a number of protests in European cities in March to demand women's rights to education and work.

These statements coincided with the closure of the women's library in Kabul on Monday morning, which officials confirmed was due to the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on education and action against women.

A group of women established this library at their own expense after the Taliban came to power, with the aim of promoting a culture of reading and educating women in the Pul-e-Surkh area of Kabul, but they were subjected to a lot of pressure from the movement to close it.


Previous threats

These were not the first threats by the Afghan minister, as he previously made other, more stringent statements regarding the women’s file last December. Commenting on the decision to prevent university education for women, Nadeem said, “If they drop an atomic bomb on us, we will not back down. We are prepared for any sanctions that may be imposed on us by the international community.”


Exclusionary approach

Regarding these statements, Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed, a researcher specializing in Asian affairs, said that the Taliban’s exclusionary and violent approach against its opponents is not new, but rather expected, as there are constants that the Taliban does not abandon, which is its collective approach, no matter how it appears in the guise of politics or government.

Sayed pointed out that this appeared clearly from the first day the movement seized power in August 2021, despite its attempts to court everyone, as the formation of the government revealed that the Taliban would not abandon its approach. The movement did not seek the help of any figure from the Afghan political components, and all ministerial portfolios were assigned to its leadership, including figures on the terrorist list. In addition, the Taliban’s ties to other groups, especially al-Qaeda, have been proven. For example, Interior Minister Siraj Haqqani, the most prominent leader in the Haqqani Network, the armed wing of the movement, was found to be embracing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed in a house in Kabul last July.

“The movement's constitution itself carries within it the exclusion of all Islamic sects and reliance only on its jurisprudential and doctrinal school represented in the Hanafi school of thought and the Maturidi creed,” he added.


Executions and assassinations

A few days before the Taliban seized power, it began a campaign targeting senior officials in the government of Ashraf Ghani, including an attempt to assassinate then-acting Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi in Kabul on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. Three days later, on August 6, 2021, the movement announced the assassination of Dawa Khan Menapal, the head of the Afghan government’s media center, near a mosque in the capital, hours before a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York to discuss the conflict in Afghanistan.

After the movement came to power, a series of prosecutions of officials and employees of the previous government began, leading to extrajudicial executions and the practice of enforced disappearance, which prompted the US State Department and a number of European countries to issue a joint statement in November 2021 condemning these actions.