According to our mole in the corridors of power, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has gone as per the plan hatched in Doha. It has happened ten days before it was supposed to – the fly in the ointment was former President Ashraf Ghani who was in an unseemly haste to leave Kabul. And that, they say, is because he wanted to flee with the cash he had stashed. Otherwise, it was all set to play out according to the deal done in Doha.
Still, says our mole, a few hitches remain. Amongst these are Uncle Sam’s desire to see once President Hamid Karzai in some shape of form in the cabinet, and free and fair democratic elections. Dream on, says our mole! As for the former, the Taliban are demurring; they don’t fancy the idea of a born-again Mr Karzai, especially since he was the inheritor of the mantle first conferred by Uncle Sam. Regarding the concept of free and fair elections, followed by democratic government, the Taliban are pushing for an Iranian type form of government, a Sunni version of Vilayat al Faqih. This is essentially government under the “guardianship of the Islamic jurist”, also called the Governance of the Jurist. What an irony that Salafist Sunnis now seek to rely on the post-Occultation theory in Twelver Shia Islam which holds that Islam gives a faqīh (Islamic jurist) custodianship over people.
The idea of guardianship as rule was advanced by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1970 and now forms the basis of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Taliban are also said to be amenable to a softening of their previous stance on women – they will be “allowed” to go about in head scarves a la Iran, instead of the all embracing Arab abaya. They will be “allowed” to do specific jobs like nursing, teaching etc., but will not be allowed to practice other “disreputable” professions in management and the arts. So, it’s still a work in progress and the jury is out.