Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

The political Report-Card of Religious Scholars in Conflicts of Afghanistan

One of the most misleading dimensions of war in the traditional society of Afghanistan was its religious sophistry in the last 20 years. According to the Afghan people and government, the International community was present in the country on the basis of mutual interests and strategic agreement between the Afghan government and international forces led-by- the US. In 2014, the Loy-Jirga of Afghanistan, which were formed of different Afghan groups, including religious scholars, had unanimously voted for the presence of the US and asked the Afghan government to sign the strategic agreement. For example, Sebghatullah Mujaddidi, speaker of the Consultative Loya Jirga in 2014 who was also a religious scholar had warned the government to migrate from the country if the former president of Afghanistan, Mr. Hamid Karzai, did not sign the agreement. So, that meant that the presence of international troops was based on a national will and a legal document that is credible in the norm of international relations. In fact, this was a clear difference between the current presence of the international community and the aggression of the Soviet Union in 1979.  Nevertheless, the Taliban has repeatedly illegalized the US presence.
In justifying the conflict, the Taliban has always used sacred mottos and symbols such as Mujahideen, Islamic system, martyrdom, and jihad against the occupation of Afghanistan. These controversial disputes have gradually paved the way for widespread religious debates at the national and regional levels.
In May 2018, a large group of religious scholars from Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Pakistan gathered in Jakarta to discuss the roots and reasons of the ongoing war in Afghanistan and finally found a durable peace solution for the conflicts of the war-torn country. After long discussions, the Islamic scholars of three countries had issued a joint declaration on the war and peace in Afghanistan, in which they promulgated their opposition against terrorism and extremism and ending the war in Afghanistan. They stressed that that war and violence have no place in Islam and that Islam is the religion of peace and true believers should put into practice what this religion has said.  They appreciated the regional countries, Muslim nations, and the international community’s support of the Afghan peace process.
In May 2018, another religious debate was held in Kabul where more than 2,000 Afghan religious scholars gathered to examine the status of the ongoing war in Afghanistan from the Islamic viewpoint. After long discussions, they issued a collective fatwa outlawing the current war in the country as an illegal and irreligious war. The scholars stressed that “war in its all types is forbidden under the Islamic law and it is nothing except shedding the blood of Muslims whereas the real victims are innocent Afghan men, women, and children. In addition, the religious scholars raised their voices from other places such as Saudi Arabia where the Imam of Haramain-e Sharifain-in-Macca, prohibited the war in Afghanistan. 
Last Thursday, Once again, a large number of Shia religious scholars gathered in Kabul. They emphasized that the current war has no religious legitimacy. Referring to the foreign troop’s withdrawal, they stressed no one should shed the blood of the Afghan people in the name of jihad or of defending Islam. They also said that religion should not be exploited for political and personal interests. 
Unfortunately, the efforts of religious scholars have either been ignored or responded with weapons. As a result, dozens of religious scholars who raised their voices against war and violence had been killed or assassinated in the country. As a result, 1200 religious scholars have been assassinated in the country in the last 18 months. Therefore, most religious scholars cannot dare to express their views about the current war and conflicts.
Given the above approach of Taliban against religious scholars that is overtly in paradox to their Jihad ideology, they have been widely faced with criticism at the national and international levels. The only issue that tempted some people to join Taliban was the issue of corruption inside the government body, but after recent Taliban’s deeds and behavior against men and women and that they have become more violent and irrational than they were in the 1990s, everyone is changing their minds to oppose the Taliban. This shows that the religious motto of the Taliban is entirely hollow. In fact, the Taliban themselves nullified or hollowed their own mottos with shocking and un-Islamic deeds and behavior against men and women. Therefore, they have faced more hatred in public opinion and have no chance of gaining legitimacy through religious sophistries.
In addition, the Taliban has never proposed any political and economic alternative program in Afghanistan. As a result, there is wide consensus in public opinion that the Taliban is not able to rule on today’s modern generation of the country. The destruction of governmental and non-governmental infrastructure also shows the fact that the Taliban do not have the idea of governing the people, Therefore, Taliban and Taliban supporters must note that no country is ruled by barbarism. They must note the recent voice of Allah Akbar was not only the voice of national consensus but also the voice of public anger and the voice of Allah. Therefore, history shows that shedding the blood of civilians including men, women, and children destroys the house of oppressors.