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Kabul (AFP) – The Taliban prohibition on ladies’ education exhibits the motion’s ultra-conservatives retain tight management of the Islamist group, and exposes an influence wrestle that places in danger essential support for Afghanistan’s determined inhabitants, specialists say.
The ban has triggered worldwide outrage and even left many within the Taliban motion baffled by the choice.
“The order was devastating,” a senior Taliban member instructed AFP. “The supreme chief himself interfered.”
All Taliban officers who spoke to AFP on the topic did so on situation of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Secondary colleges for women have been ordered to close final month, simply hours after being reopened for the primary time for the reason that Taliban’s return to energy in August.
The stunning U-turn got here after a secret assembly of the group’s management within the metropolis of Kandahar, the Taliban’s de facto energy centre.
But one senior Taliban official instructed AFP that Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and another senior figures have been “ultra-conservative on this difficulty” and dominated the dialogue.
Two teams — the city and the ultra-conservatives — have emerged within the motion, he mentioned.
“The ultra-conservatives have received this spherical,” he added, referring to a gaggle of clerics together with Chief Justice Abdul Hakim Sharai, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor Mohammad Saqeb and Minister for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Mohammad Khalid Hanafi.
Reimposing Kandahar’s affect
The clerics really feel excluded from authorities choices and voicing their opposition to ladies’ education is one solution to restore their affect, mentioned Ashley Jackson, a London-based researcher who has labored extensively on Afghanistan.
She instructed AFP the “outsized affect of this out-of-touch minority” has prevented the nation from shifting forward with one thing the overwhelming majority of Afghans favour — together with a lot of the management.
“It exhibits that Kandahar stays the centre of gravity for Taliban politics,” mentioned International Crisis Group analyst Graeme Smith.
A senior Taliban member mentioned the hardliners have been attempting to appease 1000’s of fighters who hail from the deeply conservative countryside.
“For them, even when a lady steps out of her residence it’s immoral. So, think about what it means to coach her,” he mentioned.
The Taliban member mentioned Akhundzada was towards “trendy, secular education” as he related it with life beneath former Western-backed presidents Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani.
“That’s his worldview.”
The Taliban returned to energy final yr as US-led forces ended an occupation in place since an invasion ousted the hardliners in 2001.
In the 20 years between the Taliban’s two reigns, ladies have been allowed to go to highschool and ladies have been in a position to search employment in all sectors, although the nation remained socially conservative.
Activist and Islamic scholar Tafsir Siyaposh famous ladies in Afghanistan have at all times studied in single-sex lessons and adopted an Islamic curriculum, so the ban exhibits the Taliban simply wished to “oppress the rights of ladies by giving excuses”.
Blow to international support
A Taliban supply in Pakistan confirmed variations on the management stage on the difficulty, however mentioned the motion was in no hazard of fragmenting.
“There is a debate on this difficulty … however we try to beat our shortcomings,” he mentioned.
Still, analysts say the ban was a blow to Taliban efforts to achieve worldwide recognition and to boost support to handle Afghanistan’s humanitarian disaster.
Jackson mentioned neither Akhundzada nor these closest to him “absolutely understood or appreciated” the results of their edict for a global group that has linked official recognition to the group’s respect for ladies’s rights.
Even some senior Taliban officers agree.
“We are telling them (the ultra-conservatives) that working a rustic is completely different from working a madrassa,” mentioned one Taliban official from Kandahar, utilizing the time period for an Islamic college.
“Everything was going clean till this harsh order got here. And it got here from our chief so we’ve to comply with it — however we try to vary it,” he mentioned.
The ban reduces the willingness of governments to cooperate with the Taliban mentioned the ICG’s Smith.
“It raises the query of who precisely they need to communicate with contained in the Taliban.”
© 2022 AFP