With the Taliban’s resurgence to power, the government led by Mohammad Ashraf Ghani collapsed. This collapse was due to many internal and external factors, including corruption, monopoly of power, tribalism, ethnocentrism, internal tensions within the anti-Taliban factions, the support of some countries for the Taliban, the Doha agreement, and others. However, the most cogent reason lay in the lack of resistance of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan against the war machine of the Taliban group. In addition to other internal problems, the government under the leadership of Ghani had also lost popular support. In the last presidential election, of at least 10 million people being eligible, about 1,800,000 people took part. A segment of the people could not participate in that process due to the insecurity caused by the presence of the Taliban, but millions of people who had the facilities and grounds to attend overlooked it. The previous government, its electoral institutions, and the election process had lost its credibility among the people. Although the people were in favor of the republic system, they distanced themselves from the government led by Ghani. Now that more than two years have passed since the rule of the Taliban, we observe that the distance between the people and the ruling group is much wider than in the final days of the republic period. Now the ranks of the people and the Taliban are completely separate. There is a serious popular resistance against the Talibanization of society.
The Taliban group represents a certain standpoint in Afghanistan and the region. The Taliban represent those who endorse a caliphate or emirate and see happiness in returning to Islam. ISIS is another prominent group characterized by such type of thinking. Other terrorist groups that are featured in the “exhibition of terrorism” (Afghanistan) all pertain to the same kind of thinking, with mere distinction. The civilian representatives of this type of thinking in Afghanistan are Hizb ut-Tahrir and Jamiat Islah. This approach attracted several low-educated and illiterate Afghans in remote villages, making them adopt it to achieve “worldly and hereafter happiness”. Now, following more than two years of Taliban rule, they have gradually concluded that their “worldly happiness” has become more unattainable with such a regressive regime. The cruelty and barbarism that the Taliban group inflicted on non-Taliban and anti-Taliban people during this period has also convinced people who believe that no world can be settled by the oppression of a terrorist and destructive group, just as no house can be settled by oppression.
Therefore, now two types of Afghanistan exist in one territory. One type of Afghanistan belongs to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K), and seventeen-eighteen other terrorist groups who are infamous for violence, weapons, prisons, killings and terror. In such a type of Afghanistan, women’s education and work are prohibited, schools have been substituted with madrasas, and modern education has been replaced with the yellow books of Peshawar’s story-telling bazaar. No one reserves the right to protest and the society is obedient. People in such a kind of Afghanistan remain serfs and have not yet been promoted to the level of citizenship. The serfs are also classified into two worse and usual ones. On the opposite side of such a type of Afghanistan, there is non-Taliban Afghanistan.
In this type of Afghanistan, women, despite not having the right to education freely, believe in its importance, thus endeavoring to acquire it in secret. In this Afghanistan, just opposite to Taliban Afghanistan, people are citizens and they have equal rights, respect each other’s basic freedoms, do not invade people’s privacy, and endorse schools and modern education. Such a type of Afghanistan is not signified by violence and guns. This Afghanistan exists throughout the country, with each underground school for girls itself signifying a non-Taliban Afghanistan.
The Taliban regime will not last long in a non-Taliban society. This regime can be perpetuated only if the society becomes Talibanized, but there is quiet and widespread resistance against this process in the country. Armed resistance against Taliban fighters also exists on a small scale in numerous parts of the country, but the social resistance against Taliban thinking is very big and serious. A prominent characteristic of the Taliban’s thinking and politics is the opposition to modern education, particularly the education of women and girls. Taliban fighters and commanders of the group may not encounter serious resistance within their families because of the fear that reigns there. Still, outside the family, they see a quiet but widespread struggle.
Right now, tens of thousands of girls are pursuing home and underground education. Online education is also widely used as an alternative. Women who are still working, female fighters who come to the streets and protest, or those who protest in closed places, all are fighting against the Talibanization of the situation. A teenage boy who cuts and decorates his hair according to his will resists the Taliban’s thinking and contributes to deterring Talibanization. Although the Taliban’s Faith Inquisition Police create disturbance for people in every area interfering with people’s clothes, beards, and hijab, society has still resisted.
Recently, it was reported that the Taliban in Herat have closed several educational centers due to the education of girls. Before that, similar actions were taken several times in Ghazni province. While educational centers were closed in Herat, a report was published about a girl who teaches reading and writing to village women in one of the central provinces after being deprived of education. Similar events transpire all over the country, but most of them are not covered by the media due to the censorship and restrictions imposed by the Taliban. All these serve as examples of people’s resistance against Taliban thinking.
On August 15, 2021, the Afghan government and army were defeated and disbanded by the Taliban, but the society, despite being wounded and damaged, is still standing firmly. Society holds strong resistance against the Taliban. The government failed, but the people have not failed. This resistance manifests itself in all urban and rural exhibitions. The type of outfit of men and women, despite all the pressures from the Taliban, shows a prominent distinction between the people and this group. The appearance and even character of people represent this situation. People stand together and love and help each other in the sorrows that nature and the Taliban have brought upon them, contrary to the Taliban’s thinking, which dominates violence and fear instead of love in sadness and happiness. The defeat of such social resistance by the Taliban’s thinking is not as effortless as the defeat of the government under the leadership of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.