Morphed Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
In times of strife, taliban have usually mobilized in defense of tradition. British documents from as early as 1901 decry taliban opposition to colonialism in present-day Pakistan. However, as with so much else, it was the Soviet invasion and the US response that sent the transformative shock. In the 1980s, as guns and money coursed through the ranks of the Kandahar mujahedeen, squabbling over resources grew so frequent that many increasingly turned to religious law to settle their disputes. Small, informal bands of taliban, who were also battling against the Russians, established religious courts that heard cases from feuding fighters from across the south. Seemingly impervious to the lure of foreign riches, the taliban courts were in many eyes the last refuge of tradition in a world in upheaval... Thousands of talibs rallied to the cause, and an informal, centuries-old phenomenon of the Pashtun countryside morphed into a formal political and military movement, the Taliban. As a group of judges and legal-minded students, the Taliban applied themselves to the problem of anarchy with an unforgiving platform of law and order. The mujahedeen had lost their way, abandoned their religious principles, and dragged society into a lawless pit. So unlike most revolutionary movements, Islamic or otherwise, the Taliban did not seek to overthrow an existing state and substitute it with one to their liking. Rather, they sought to build a new state where none existed. This called for 'eliminating the arbitrary rule of the gun and replacing it with the rule of law-and for countryside judges who had arisen as an alternative to a broken tribal system, this could only mean religious law. Jurisprudence is thus part of the Taliban's DNA, but its single-minded pursuit was carried out to the exclusion of all other aspects of basic governance. It was an approach that flirted dangerously with the wrong kind of innovation: in the countryside, the choice was traditionally yours whether to seek justice in religious or in tribal courts, yet now the Taliban mandated religious law as the compulsory law of the land. It is true that, given the nature of the civil war, any law was better than none at all-but as soon as things settled down, fresh problems arose. The Taliban's jurisprudence was syncretic, mixing elements from disparate schools of Islam along with heavy doses of traditional countryside Pashtun practice that had little to do with religion. As a result, once the Taliban marched beyond the rural Pashtun belt and into cities like Kabul or the ethnic minority regions of northern Afghanistan, they encountered a resentment that rapidly bred opposition.

Anand Gopal