Open-Letter on the Anniversary of the Taliban’s Takeover
Open-Letter on the Anniversary of the Taliban’s Takeover
Why this petition matters
Following one year of harsh, chaotic, and abusive occupation, the Taliban have amply demonstrated that they are not fit to govern Afghanistan. We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the Taliban and their actions, and oppose their insistence on upholding their extremist and oppressive ideology based on vague and unjustifiable references to Islamic Sharia. We call upon the international community, the United Nations, Afghanistan’s neighbors, and other international organizations to use any necessary mechanism to compel the Taliban to fundamentally change their current policies and yield to the legitimate demands of the peoples of Afghanistan.
A policy of 'willful blindness' vis-a-vis the Taliban by some countries, or worse, creeping and shameful normalization of their regime by others is unjustifiable in light of their regular and systematic violations of basic human rights in Afghanistan. Following decades of violence which brought immeasurable suffering to ordinary Afghans, the Taliban’s haphazard attempts to build a government is a clear sign that its leaders have focused more on honing their capacity for criminality and violence, than on governance. They refuse to listen to domestic and international pleas to change their policies in order to create an environment for the resumption of international assistance. By ignoring the legitimate demands of the Afghan people they will significantly worsen the present humanitarian crisis in the country for which they bear a great deal of responsibility.
The Taliban have shown no inclination to implement any measure of popular representation or inclusivity. Its main ideologues preach the primacy of rule by decree based on mostly the misinterpretations of Islamic texts by its leaders. Its pursuit of militant autocracy has led to grievous violations of human rights directed at both the past (former government employees and civil society) and the present (members of the anti-Taliban resistance and targeting ethnic Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras).
The group has brought to power the most mono-ethnic and mono-gender oppressive regime that qualifies it as a religio-fascist entity. By insisting on the domination of their language, tribal and ethnic privileges at the exclusion of others, the Taliban have exacerbated interethnic tensions, increasing the possibility of inter-group violence which seriously threatens the long-term integrity of Afghanistan as a nation. The expectation that the Taliban have changed during the last twenty years has proven profoundly and dangerously mistaken. The harm caused by the regime puts the very future of Afghanistan as a country in question and its implications will not remain confined to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has continued their ties with Al-Qaeda and other regional jihadi groups amid constant lies and deception to prove the contrary to the world. A drone attack that killed Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in July 2022 in downtown Kabul brought Taliban's relations with Al-Qaeda in the open, in response to which the Taliban continued resorting to deception, claiming the regime did not know of Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul. The claim is untenable as the Taliban regime has previously carried out a citywide raid of all civilian homes in Kabul in search of possible reasons for persecution of individuals or groups. Meanwhile, their claims of having brought stability has proven baseless because of the regular suicide attacks that have thus far mainly targeted Afghanistan’s Shia communities.
Since their violent takeover of power, the Taliban have reversed many of the country's hard-won gains of the past two decades, which came at great cost. Especially closing the secondary schools for girls, restricted, thus automatically depriving girls from pursuing university education. They have also imposed, once again, gender apartheid compounding economic crisis and the alarming rates of poverty and destitution in the nation.
The Taliban’s fundamental intolerance against individual rights, their imprisonment and torture of journalists and suppression of independent media, and the group’s politics of intimidation and terror have significantly reduced the space for freedom of expression and independent media in Afghanistan. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs and hundreds have been forced to flee since August 2021. Around 300 media outlets have been forced to shut down.
We urge the international community to take the right and courageous step to support the peoples of Afghanistan in their struggle against the ongoing systematic oppression under the Taliban. We firmly believe that continued non-recognition of the Taliban regime and imposition of other restrictions in the global approach toward the group is urgent.
Scholars for Justice in Afghanistan (SJA)
1. Dr Kambaiz Rafi, SJA Member and Independent Researcher in Political Economy, Strasbourg, France
2. Dr Lutfi Rahimi, SJA Member and Assistant Professor of Economics, American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), United Kingdom.
3. M. Nazif Shahrani, SJA member and Professor (Emeritus) of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
4. Munazza Ebtikar, PhD Candidate, St John’s College, University of Oxford, UK
5. Dr. Omar Joya, Researcher, University of Bordeaux, France.
6. Dr. Ali Karimi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication, Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, USA
7. Scott Richards, Executive Director of the Joint Task Force for Anti and Counter Corruption, Dallas, U.S and Co-Founder of the Presidium Network, London, U.K.
8. Dominik Byrne, Co-Founder of the Presidium Network, London, U.K
9. M Bashir Mobasher, Postdoctoral Fellow, American University, USA
10. Dr Elham Gharji, Independent Scholar, Canada
11. Tariq Basir, Research Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, USA
12. Dr Omar Sadr, Research Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, USA
13. Dr. Mejgan Massoumi, Lecturer and Fellow, Stanford University, USA
14. Mirwais Parsa, Research Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, USA
15. Nigara Mirdad Omar, Counsellor (Deputy Head of Mission) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Embassy, Warsaw Poland
16. Parwana Paikan, Deputy Chief of Mission/Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Paris and Permanent Delegation to UNESCO and ICESCO
17. Azizullah Omar, Charge d’Affair of Afghanistan Embassy Nursultan Kazakhstan
18. Mohibullah Taib, Human Rights Counsellor at the Embassy and Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to UNGO
19. Fazull Mohmood Rahemee Pajwak, Counsellor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Vienna
20. Nazir Majeedi, Counsellor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic. of Afghanistan in Brussels-Belgium
21. Azimullah Warsaji, Charge d’Affair of Afghanistan Embassy Doha, Qatar
22. Rahim Peerzada, Charge d’Affair of Afghanistan Embassy Madrid, Spain
23. Ahmad Seiar Daqeeq, Vice Consul General of Afghanistan Dubai, UAE
24. Nazir Ahmad Foshanji, Member of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations in New York
25. Abdul Ahad Habibi, First Secretary of Afghanistan Embassy and Permanent Mission to the UN Geneva- Switzerland
26. Shabana Kargar, former Diplomat at the Afghanistan Embassy Ottawa, Canada
27. Zuhal Bahaduri, Co-Founder of The 5ive Pillars Organization , USA
28. Ariana Delawari, Filmmaker, Musician, and Activist, TEDx Kabul Speaker, co-founder of Inspire Peace Campaign, co-creator of Afghanistan Connect App, USA
29. Tahir Qadiry, Afghan Ambassador to Poland.
30. Sayed Ismail Yosufi, First Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Embassy in Warsaw Poland
31. Wajiha Qazizadah, First secretary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Rome- Italy.
32. Angiza Nasiree, Counsellor of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Embassy in Washington- US
33. Arzula Elmi, Former Deputy Director General- Second Political Division of MFA- Afghanistan.
34. Safiullah Wahdat, Former Human Resources Director General of MFA- Afghanistan.
35. Skander Shuja, Former Deputy Director General- Third Political Division of MFA- Afghanistan.
36. Helal Massoumi, Women's Rights Activist and Member of the Afghan Adjustment Act Coalition
37. Farida Darvish, Former Afghan Diplomat
38. Fahim Fetrat, Former Political Advisor to the Speaker of Afghanistan’s Parliament
39. Nilofar Ayoubi, Journalist and Human Rights Activist, Afghanistan
40. Daoud Naji, Political Activist, Journalist, and Political Adviser to Afghanistan’s National Security Council
41. Ahmad Omaid, First Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Dubai, UAE
42. Maroof Shukran, Second Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Dubai, UAE
43. Hanif Aman, Second Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Holland