The Taliban have been in power in Afghanistan for two years, since they took over the country from the legitimate government on August 15, 2021.
Since then, the Taliban government has continued to enforce a strict set of regulations. In fact, the number is growing and they all conform to the strict interpretation of sharia law.
The Taliban’s commander-in-chief, Hebatullah Akhundzada, is the only person who plays a role as a decision-maker in making the rules that govern the lives of about 40 million people in the country.
He was a man of mystery, not only to the world, but to the people of Afghanistan. It is believed that he is about 70 years old.
When you investigation for his picture on the internet, you will find only two pictures. The most famous is a passport-sized photo from the 1990s.
Since the general withdrawal of international troops two years ago, he has hardly appeared in public. He has never been interviewed by journalists.
He also never answered the questions they asked, for example about his decision to ban girls from going to school and women from working in public spaces.
To better understand this commander in chief, who chose to hide himself from public view, we analyzed all his speeches that we could find.
This is a word cloud (a visual representation of a group of words) that Hebatullah often uses in his speeches. (BBC)
There have been 65 decrees issued, all since he appointed the Taliban leader in 2016. Plus five Eid messages since 2018, three of which came after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan for the second time in August 2021.
We have also examined all of his speeches that have been transcribed and published by the Taliban government since he took over as commander-in-chief.
All transcripts were analyzed using the device Natural Language Processinga type of artificial intelligence, which calculates the frequency of use of each word.
The Taliban leader’s most frequently used word in public is the word “Islam”, with about 170 mentions of it.
From word cloud visual representation of a group of Islamic words that appear as the word with the biggest size. He continued to preach that Afghanistan should be ruled according to Islamic law only.
For Hebatullah Akhundzada, there is no separation between God and the state. For him, the state is managed by an Islamic government governed by sharia law.
He called for Afghans to shape their lives based on Islamic fundamentalist principles and adhere to those principles.
Its critics say such an extreme interpretation of Islam is a far cry from the rest of the world’s 50 Muslim-majority countries.
Even the United Nations is now talking about “gender apartheid” as the Taliban government continues to tighten its grip on women’s freedom, banning women from public parks to charm salons.
Look at the Western countries
Only once did he use the word ‘election’, not in a positive way either. During a large gathering of Islamic scholars in Kabul in June 2022, he announced: ‘I am not the president, nor a person elected by the people, nor a crooked politician’.
Hebatullah Akhundzada’s views on all forms of Western democracy continue to be one of insult.
Before Kabul fell to the Taliban two years ago, he used the word “America” in his speeches more than 55 times, almost always with hostility.
nonetheless, since they came to power, the word ‘America’ has rarely appeared. Even when it is used, it is only in the context of seeking recognition from the international community, including the US, of his ambitions as the official head of Afghanistan.
As poverty in Afghanistan increases, more families are forced to wait in Kabul for bread donations. (BBC/Nava Jamshidi)
‘Woman’ – in the third person
Hebatullah mentioned the word ‘Women’ only 13 times since he came to power in 2018.
In the last two years, he only referred to ‘girl’ in the third person. Women are the subject, not the intended audience.
Despite his orders to systematically deny women the right to work and study, Hebatullah Akhundzada rarely addresses the needs of women, who make up more than half of Afghanistan’s population.
The words ‘Jihad’ and ‘Mujahidin’ are both mentioned 160 times.
For many Muslims, the word ‘Jihad’ means the struggle against sin and goodness. nonetheless, in context word cloud the supreme leader of the Taliban, the word is used to refer to the struggle against the enemies of Islam and to promote holy war.
‘Mujahideen’ refers to those who undertake the Jihad journey.
The supreme leader’s continued call for jihad appears unproblematic, among a generation of Taliban fighters who, despite being raised during the war, now live in a country of relative peace.
There are several young people who have recently crossed illegally from Afghanistan to Pakistan to join the so-called militant group. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which seeks to enforce strict Islamic rule.
The Taliban leadership has publicly condemned the withdrawal of fighters from Afghanistan, but many young people say they are determined to continue waging jihad.
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