Taliban Supreme Leader

What Does the Speech by Taliban Supreme Leader Portend?

RTA, National Radio Television Afghanistan, the official media of the IEA, shared a video message from Supreme Leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. However, they quickly deleted the message. This action has raised the following questions and concerns among international analysts.

The Taliban Supreme Leaders’ commitment to Global Jihad has sparked a new wave of debate among international security experts. For these experts, the uncompromising and persistent support for globally recognized terrorists such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Tehreek-e Taliban Tajikistan (TTT), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Al-Qaida, and East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), is putting regional cum international peace in peril.

Also Read: The Taliban Eclipse

The said terrorist organizations have a proven history of international attacks. This demeanor of the Taliban Supreme Leader ultimately shows the Taliban’s nonseriousness towards their commitments in the Doha Accords.

One of the salient promises of the Taliban in the Doha Accords was not to harbor any terrorist organization on its soil.

Notwithstanding, the Supreme Leader’s outright call for Global Jihad and on-ground evidence prove that Afghanistan under the Taliban has turned into a new nucleus for globally notorious and violent terrorist organizations. Notably, in the same speech, the Supreme Leader endorsed the inhuman treatment of women in Afghanistan, including flogging and stoning to death punishments.

Not surprisingly, after hearing this, the international champions of women’s rights turned their cannon of criticism towards Taliban-led Afghanistan. This sentiment underscores the growing concern among advocates for women’s rights, who argue that these words from the Supreme Leader categorically demonstrate that women’s rights, including education, employment, and freedom of speech, are no longer expected from the Taliban. Consequently, women in Afghanistan could face social extinction owing to the Taliban’s anti-women attitude.

Another important speech theme was the Supreme Leader’s outright criticism and long-simmering hatred for democracy. He felt proud to turn Afghanistan into a graveyard of democracy. Again, political analysts working on democratic forms of governance believe that the return of the Taliban has caused a palpable dent in the global image of democracy. The comeback of the Taliban-led theocracy encourages regional and international religiously motivated groups to continue their armed struggle until they achieve their broader goal of theocratic states instead of democracy. One prominent political analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, warned that this spillover effect of theocratic government needs to be thwarted; otherwise, these states are becoming the Bermuda Triangle for women and minority rights.

Concerns have also been raised that this speech could further increase the reluctance and serious concerns of the global community in granting de jure recognition to the Taliban government.

Additionally, what is paramount to notice in this removal of the speech from the official handle is the difference among the Afghan Taliban. One camp encouraged the social media team to upload the speech on social media, while the other camp resisted (and won over) the social media handlers to delete the speech from X, formerly Twitter.

Another observation regarding this speech of the Supreme Leader is that through such speeches, the Afghan Taliban are exacerbating their diplomatic, economic, and political challenges. Also, the poor Afghans are the direct victims of all the miseries wrought by the Afghan Taliban. Already, economic hardships have badly impacted common Afghans.

Finally, this speech has raised several questions. Firstly, how will regional states like Pakistan, India, Iran, China, and Russia react? Secondly, what will be the response from the West regarding the statements against Western values and democracy by Mullah Khund? Thirdly, if the Afghan Taliban continue to deliver such speeches, how can the world address the looming security threat from jihadist terrorist organizations with regional and international ambitions?

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and may not reflect South Asia Times’ official stance.

Deedar Karim

Deedar Karim, Research Fellow in counter-terrorism, BA & MPhil in International Relations, focused on regional security dynamics. He can be reached on X, formerly Twitter, via @Emperisist

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