Friday, July 06, 2007

The Taliban's "Regulations"

Last November a Swiss weekly, Die Weltwoche, published the Layeha [regulations] of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. It can be found at:

What makes it interesting is how clearly it reveals an institutional structure among the Taliban. We have heard of many instances when people who called themselves Taliban were so unruly or ad hoc in their applications of rules that we tend to regard the Taliban as essentially a rag-tag association of brigands or at least ignorant and uncontrolled vandals. This statement reveals that, at least in theory, they belong to an organization that seeks to be institutionalized, regulated. Consider the following regulations:

2) We guarantee to any man who turns his back on infidels, personal security and the security of his possessions. But if he becomes involved in a dispute, or someone accuses him of something, he must submit to our judiciary.

4) A convert to the Taliban, who does not behave loyally and becomes a traitor, forfeits our protection. He will be given no second chance.

7) A Mujahid who takes a foreign infidel as prisoner with the consent of a group leader may not exchange him for other prisoners or money.

12) A group of Mujahideen may not take in Mujahideen from another group to increase their own power. This is only allowed when there are good reasons for it, such as a lack of fighters in one particular group. Then written permission must be given and the weapons of the new members must stay with their old group.

14) If someone who works with infidels wants to cooperate with Mujahideen, he should not be killed. If he is killed, his murderer must stand before an Islamic court.

16) It is strictly forbidden to search houses or confiscate weapons without the permission of a district or provincial commander.

21) Anyone with a bad reputation or who has killed civilians during the Jihad may not be accepted into the Taliban movement. If the highest leader has personally forgiven him, he will remain at home in the future.

We must suppose that such regulations seek to be consistent with their understanding of Sharia. The problem is, of course, that the "Sharia" is itself nowhere to be found in one single undisputed place, so there is lots of room for misunderstanding and disagreement. What make this document interesting is the evident attempt of the Taliban to be operating according to "regulations."

Click on the title to get the whole document.

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