We are reaching the 300-day mark since the terror regime in Afghanistan outlawed girl’s education above the 6th grade level. Meanwhile the Taliban-Haqqani regime continues their quest for internal legitimacy and external recognition, and they continue to stumble and retreat further into themselves.

National Gathering of Taliban

The most recent attempt to gain internal legitimacy from Afghans was a so-called “national” gathering of Taliban approved religious leaders from various provinces. This group met in Kabul without the presence of any women, to among other things, supposedly discuss women and girl’s roles in society.

The outcomes of the closed door gathering that have been leaked offer no surprises and no reason for hope for Afghans, international diplomats, or human rights watchers. The outcome of the three-day session was an 11-point resolution. A few highlights follow.

Propaganda Leads the Way

They resolved that there was no assistance from Pakistan in re-establishing the regime. A propaganda message they are pushing to trick Afghans (and delude themselves) into thinking this was some sort of people’s movement. Without even discussing any of the demands of the international community and addressing their shortcomings, the Taliban-Haqqani regime again called on the international community to recognize the Taliban as a government and to unfreeze Afghanistan funds. The group also resolved that they have brought security to the country, stamped-out corruption, put down all rebellions, and have established a powerful central government. When terrorists stop mass terror attacks, they often claim to have brought security.

Another middle finger to the diplomats calling for human rights was the resolution that the Taliban-Haqqani regime does not plan to interfere in other countries, and expects equal treatment from other nations. The regime also claims to be against IS-K and sees all armed opposition against the Taliban-Haqqani network as a rebellion.

The “religious scholars” also reportedly pledged their allegiance to Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzadah. But it has been noted by many that when their leader supposedly appeared in front of the audience, he stood facing away from them. This has led to many rumors that their senior leader is not alive.

Zero Interest in Human Rights

This event showed the terror regime has no interest in the demands of the international community to provide education for girls, to build an inclusive government, or to allow women to resume life outside the home. Some Taliban-Haqqani members like Mawlawi Ansari went so far as to say publicly that “anyone standing up against the Taliban must be beheaded. This is the way that ISIS is doing in Syria and other parts of the world.”

According to numerous news outlets Taliban leader Akhundzadah was heard to say, “Thank God, we are now an independent country. [Foreigners] should not give us their orders, it is our system and we have our own decisions.” The diplomats are running out of time to gain leverage on this dictator.

In response to the gathering, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission released a statement calling the gathering illegitimate, lacking in women’s voices and transparency, detached from the rule of law, and lacking in diversity—especially lacking attendees from oft-marginalized groups. They noted the meeting was closed to the Press and showed that the Taliban-Haqqani regime had no intention of deviating from their pattern of dictatorship.

Former National Directorate of Security chief Rahmatullah Nabil, reacted to the gathering of pro-Taliban Ulema saying the event was the “pinnacle of Taliban’s misogyny, obscurantism, anti-development and beastliness.”

While the Taliban-Haqqani regime fails to show diplomats that they want to earn international legitimacy, they continue to put more barbaric rules in place. In Herat they are now ordering that men and boys (under 18) not exercise together “as they can sexually get stimulated/aroused.” A deep look at the censorship of the books by Reporterly shows the Taliban-Haqqani regime want to remake Afghan culture by putting any bookseller out of business that has material contrary to the Taliban’s radicalized ideas. This massive censorship program is run by the Taliban-Haqqani intelligence operation, who has been getting assistance from Pakistan and China.

How Will the International Community Respond?

In another sign of frustration at the lack of respect that Afghans have for the illegal regime that took power by violence, the Taliban-Haqqani fighters are now asking Afghans to fly the Taliban flag on buildings. The Taliban-Haqqani terrorists can’t seem to get any respect, this is because they give none to others. The regime shows daily they don’t think the world will force them to change and to many it seems the world might be willing to let human rights get erased in Afghanistan.

The urgency of this human rights crisis was summed up by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan at a recent UN human rights council meeting. Richard Bennett, stated “The human rights situation for women and girls in Afghanistan is devastating for the country. It deserves maximum attention and decisive action…because the Taliban’s escalating repression was unparalleled in its misogyny.”

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Jason spent 23 years in USG service conducting defense, diplomacy, intelligence, and education missions globally. Now he teaches, writes, podcasts, and speaks publicly about Islam, foreign affairs, and national security. He is a member of the Military Writers Guild and aids with conflict resolution in Afghanistan.