The Terminology of Insurgency and the Taliban
The Taliban have referred to their opponents as “insurgents” and have declared any opposition to their rule to be worse than infidelity, as has been stated multiple times by their governors and clerics. Previously, the group’s leader had declared any dissent and criticism of the group’s leaders to be forbidden. Utilizing religion and religious ideologies to suppress opposition is not a new concept, and has been employed by authoritarian regimes for a long time. Religious authoritarian regimes have a particular aptitude for using religion to quell opposition.
Insurgency is the act of revolting and defying authority. Historically, it has referred to insurgent groups that caused chaos and disrupted society against a legitimate order. This term is more of a jurisprudential concept that emerged based on social relations in the ancient world and helped governing systems to deal with insurgent forces. In that era, preventing unrest was the primary concern, even if it meant establishing an oppressive regime, which was referred to as the “unjust Imam” in jurisprudence. At that time, concepts such as human rights, civil rights, civic values, constitutional law, separation of powers, rule of law, diversity and pluralism, minority rights, and independent judiciary, which are the foundations of modern political systems, did not exist.
The Taliban, a group with no political philosophy other than what is discussed in medieval Islamic jurisprudence, utilize the same methods to address modern societal issues. Their leaders appear to be unaware that challenging a political system is a violation of citizens’ rights, and a government not based on the people’s votes has no legitimacy. Therefore, opposing such a government is not wrong. Additionally, any group that deprives a nation of its fundamental rights, disregards the majority of its citizens’ wishes and international conventions, and does not care about the needs of society for development and progress is deserving of opposition, and any free human being has an obligation to stand against it.
From a human rights and religious perspective, what the Taliban call “insurgency” is in fact the legitimate right of citizens to stand up against an “injustice”. This has led to people eagerly anticipating a freedom-loving force to challenge the Taliban’s despotism. The oppressive nature of authoritarian regimes such as the Taliban has caused looting and destruction, and it is the responsibility of all free people and citizens to consider ways to bring about change. Although people do not wish for war and insecurity, when peaceful avenues for change are blocked, they are left with no choice but to consider all possible options, including whether they want the Taliban and their supporters or not. The Afghan crisis continues to worsen under the Taliban’s rule, and the country’s problems become more widespread each day.