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The Taliban are divided – The Post

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Saturday ended in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, an important meeting of the Taliban, the extremist Islamist group that conquered the country last August and has ruled it ever since. The meeting was the most important since the conquest to date, and was attended by over 4,000 members of the group, as well as the heads of religious councils and tribal leaders throughout the country. It was also attended by Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada, the supreme leader of the group, who lives in conditions of extreme secrecy in the city of Kandahar, in the south, and who for the occasion reached the capital Kabul for the first time, at least according to information to publicly available.

This important meeting comes at a time of division for the Taliban. After decades in which the group had fought in a united way against the Afghan and the US armies to conquer the country, now that it is in charge of it it is crossed by internal disputes: to divide the Taliban there are some ideological issues, such as education. of girls and adolescents, and issues of division of power, with thousands of fighters expecting a reward for the years dedicated to the cause of the guerrillas. To make matters worse is the very serious economic crisis, which has made Afghanistan one of the poorest and most isolated countries in the world.

One of the most relevant issues, he wrote in a long article the Wall Street Journalis about women’s education.

Girls are currently able to attend primary school, but in most of the country the subsequent degrees of education have been reserved exclusively for boys. However, in March of this year, the Taliban government in Kabul announced a reform that would also allow girls to attend secondary schools, separated from boys. The chosen date should have been March 23, but a few hours before the scheduled reopening the Taliban withdrew the decision and announced that the schools would remain closed. Many female students still showed up in front of the schools, dressed in uniform, but they were not allowed to enter.

This sudden change, explains the Wall Street Journal, was the result of an internal division within the Taliban, between the most radical who continued to want to prevent female education and the relatively more moderate ones. In that case the radicals won and the secondary girls’ schools are still closed. A decision on the matter has not even been taken following the big meeting in recent days.

– Read also: “We have great respect for women”

The issue of women’s education is just one of the many divisions among the Taliban, which are mainly dominated by two factions: one, which is concentrated in Kandahar and in the south of the country, the most backward and rural area, is close to Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban, and is particularly radical and extremist. The other faction corresponds to the Haqqani Network, an armed group very close to the Taliban, albeit with its own autonomy, and which during the war years was the main force behind the armed operations. Despite this, the leaders of the Haqqani Network are relatively more moderate on social issues (of course: always within extremist Islamic groups).

One of the most relevant issues concerns the division of power, which is expressed both at the high levels, with the Haqqani accusing the southern faction of having grabbed the bulk of the seats of power in Kabul, and at the lower levels: thousands of Taliban fighters they expected that they would be rewarded for their efforts with money, jobs and a more comfortable life. But now that Afghanistan has been conquered for many of them none of these things have come. “I have various martyrs in my family, but I still don’t have a salary,” he told al Wall Street Journal a former Taliban commander who has now left the group.

Making matters worse is the country’s gigantic economic crisis, which is caused on the one hand by the complete isolation of its economy and by the sanctions imposed by various countries of the world after the Taliban conquest last year, and on the other by the mismanagement of the country. government. According to UN estimates, 95 percent of Afghanistan’s population does not have enough to eat. The terrifying earthquake that killed over a thousand people in the center of the country last month is another source of major concern.

The Taliban leadership is quite aware of these problems: “Our survival depends on unity,” Mullah Haibatullah said during his first visit to Kabul.