Afghanistan’s situation is very bad
More than 28 million people in Afghanistan need assistance to survive. According to the United Nations, 6 million Afghans have reached the brink of famine. Several NGOs working in Afghanistan have called on the Taliban to lift the ban and allow aid agencies access to the people. Afghanistan is a landlocked country, most of which is a dry desert. In the name of produce, there are only fruits and some special vegetables. The vagaries of the weather also tormented the Afghan people a lot. Despite this, the Taliban is not ready to bow down.
There has been a split in the Taliban
The Taliban have said the ban was aimed at protecting the dignity and honor of our women. Despite international condemnation and pressure, the Taliban leadership is not ready to change its decision. Some Taliban leaders urged lifting the ban on women, but supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada refused to bow to foreign pressure. The moderate faction of the Taliban includes Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, and Mullah Yakub, the son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar.
Akhundzada is not listening to anyone
Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), arrived in Kabul in January with high hopes to persuade the Taliban. But his hopes of persuading all Taliban factions were dashed and he had to return home empty-handed. They blamed the group’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, for restricting women’s right to work. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammad also said after a visit to Kabul that some Taliban leaders were open about women’s rights.
Taliban does not want the freedom of Afghan women
As head of the US negotiating team during the Doha talks, Zalmay Khalilzad knows Taliban leaders on a personal level. He said the decision to bar Afghan women from working in NGOs was acceptable to very few Taliban leaders. He pointed out that the topmost leader of the group and people close to him were responsible for the anti-women decisions of the group.
Taliban leader not happy with Akhundzada
Senior Taliban leaders are not happy with Akhundzada. They are not even supporting such decisions. In such a situation, there is a possibility that there may be a change of leadership in the Taliban soon. Due to the power of Akhundzada, Kandahar has become more important than Kabul. All major decisions are being taken from Kandahar itself. Kabul is the capital just to say. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister of the Taliban government in Afghanistan and head of the Haqqani network, is seen challenging Ankhudzada these days. He made a direct warning to the supreme leader against monopolies within the group during a speech in Khost province on 11 February.
Mullah Yakub and Haqqani open front
Mullah Yakub, son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar and Defense Minister in the Taliban government, is unhappy with Mullah Hibatullah’s usurpation of power. He is openly taking the side of Haqqani. Speaking at an event to mark the 34th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Mullah Yakub said that we have no option but to protect this system at any cost… We should not be arrogant. We should always try to respond to the legitimate demands of the nation. Two weeks later, Yakub said that Allah has blessed us with wisdom and reasoning ability. We should take decisions wisely. That’s why we should not listen to anyone blindly.
How are women and children in Afghanistan, protest against Taliban in Varanasi
Taliban divided into two camps
With these two statements against Akhundzada, it seems that the Taliban is now divided into two camps. The first is led by Mullah Hibatullah and his ultra-conservative Kandahar ideologue, who have complete control of the Taliban’s financial institutions. The other is led by Mullah Yaqoob and Sirajuddin Haqqani, who control the group’s military and intelligence apparatus. On 2 March 2023, Hibatullah Akhundzada personally called Mallah Yakub and Sirajuddin Haqqani to Kandahar to address their grievances. But Zabihullah Mujahid gave a short statement in this regard and did not give any other information. Mujahid had said that the Supreme Leader had called ministers and clerics to the meeting to promote and implement Sharia.
Who will win the Taliban leadership battle
In such a situation, it will be important to see who wins and who loses in the battle between Amir and Haqqani. Haqqani is not the only one who is disappointed with Taliban leader Akhundzada. According to the Brookings Institution, Haibatullah has repeatedly rejected suggestions from other Taliban factions, especially more pragmatic, internationally active Taliban leaders. Haibatullah was chosen by the Taliban Shura in 2016 for his religious merit and decision-making ability. However, then he was not the head of government of any country.