Why didn’t they change when in power, the Nazies, Khmer Rouge, and the Taliban

Nadum Jwad*
Things are always different when someone looks into the inside from the outside. And the common cry is “why don’t they do it this or that way.” This is common, as things from the outside looking into the inside seem a lot clearer and obvious without taking into consideration factors which influence how things are done and carried out. This is also true in politics, whereas those who are out of power wonder why this government or that president or that ruler, etc. is doing things that way and not another way which seems much easier to do and certainly will yield better outcomes. And of course this cycle is repeated when the opposition which was looking from the outside is now the government and a new opposition is
looking from the outside into the inside. It is common to see that an opposition which was blaming the government in power for its performance, changes course, to various degrees, and more than often, the change could be drastic and could very well take the same course of action the previous government took and maybe even more. The question is why? Well, first the opposition does not have to worry about any consequences for doing and saying things, second, but once in power, they have to worry about what is said and done to internal and external audiences. In addition, any decision no matter how minor it is the government makes, could have major implications whether politically, socially, economically, etc.
The question is why these three remain “crazy” and did not change when they came to power? Is it in their philosophy? Is it because they were insulated from external and internal factors, and hence, oblivious to the new facts, or is it because of the leadership at the top which dictated all decisions and refused to change? Or there are factors which we are not aware of. Afterall, these governments and once in power will try, like any other government, to remain in power as long as possible, and by adapting to the new realities, is their logical way of prolonging their life in power. And as we have seen, by not adapting to new realities and remaining strictly attached to their pre-government principles, resulted in relatively short life in power (the Natzies from 1933 to 1945, the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, and the Taliban in their first experience in power from 1996 to 2001.)
This phenomenon begs the question of why this is the case? This is especially true with the Taliban which experienced a crushing defeat in 2001 and returned to power almost twenty years later after bitter struggle with the American forces occupying Afghanistan and the government in Kabul. All indications pointed to them learning from their first experience in power, and they will change accordingly. But as the latest developments show, this was not the case.
The following sections will explore the possible reasons why the Natzis, the Khmer Rouge, and the Taliban remained entrenched in their philosophies and never changed when they got to power. We will begin with their philosophies and beliefs
The Nazis
Nazism the common name in English for National Socialism, is the far-right (1) totalitarian (2) political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany. During Hitler’s rise to power in 1930s Europe, it was frequently referred to as Hitlerism (German: Hitlerfaschismus). The later related term “neo-Nazism” is applied to other far-right groups with similar ideas which formed after the Second World War.

Adolf Hitler
Nazism is a form of fascism, (3) with disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system. It incorporates a dictatorship, fervent antisemitism, anti-communism, scientific racism, and the use of eugenics into its creed. Its extreme nationalism originated in pan-Germanism and the ethno-nationalist neopagan Völkisch movement which had been a prominent aspect of German nationalism since the late 19th century, and it was strongly influenced by the Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged after Germany’s defeat in World War I, from which came the party’s underlying “cult of violence”, (4) Nazism subscribed to pseudo-scientific theories of a racial hierarchy (5) and social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race (6.) It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a homogeneous German society based on racial purity which represented a people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft). The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum and exclude those whom they deemed either Community Aliens or “inferior” races (Untermenschen).

How the Natzis came to power
Germany became a republic in 1919. After losing the First World War, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated. Many Germans were dissatisfied with the new situation. They longed for a return to the Empire. Many people also believed that the ruling social democrats were to blame for losing the war. Nevertheless, things started to look up from the mid-1920s onwards.
And then in 1930, the global economic crisis hit. Germany could no longer pay the war debts stipulated in the Versailles Peace Treaty. Millions of Germans lost their jobs. The country was in a political crisis as well. Cabinets were falling, and new elections were held all the time. It seemed impossible to form a majority government. This was the backdrop to the rise of the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (NSDAP). When it was founded in 1920, it was only a small party. But Hitler used his oratory talent to attract more and more members. The party was characterized by extreme nationalism and antisemitism.
In November 1923, Hitler even led a coup attempt. It was a complete failure. Hitler ended up behind bars and the court banned the NSDAP. At the end of 1924, Hitler was released after serving a relatively short sentence. However, his political career was not over. In prison he had written Mein Kampf, setting out his plans for Germany.
From then on, the Nazis were to stick to the law and try to gain power by means of elections. They benefited from the economic crisis that began by the end of the 1920s. The Nazis used the crisis to condemn the government and the Versailles peace treaty.

Their strategy was effective. In the 1928 elections, the NSDAP gained 0.8 million votes; in 1930, the number had increased to 6.4 million. The fact that many Germans were attracted by the NSDAP was not only because of their party programme. The party radiated strength and vitality. Moreover, the Nazi leaders were young, quite unlike the graying politicians of the established parties. In addition, Hitler’s image as a strong leader appealed to people. He was all set to unite the population and put an end to political discord. The Nazis focused on voters from all walks of life, rather than on just one group, such as the workers or Catholics. They also attracted many people who had never voted before. Still, in November 1932 the party seemed to be past its peak. The economy was recovering, and the NSDAP received 11%
fewer votes than in the July elections earlier that same year. The conservative parties did not manage to win enough votes. They pressured president Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor. They hoped to form a majority cabinet with the NSDAP. The fact that they expected to use Hitler for their own agenda would turn out to be a fatal underestimation.
30 January 1933 was the day: Von Hindenburg gave in and appointed Hitler chancellor. ‘It is like a dream. The Wilhelmstraße is ours’, Joseph Goebbels, the future Minister of Propaganda, wrote in his diary.So, although Hitler was not elected by the German people, he still came to power in a legal way (7.)

Summary of what the Nazies did (1933-1945)
By genocide, the murder of hostages, reprisal raids, forced labor, “euthanasia,” starvation, exposure, medical experiments, and terror bombing, and in the concentration and death camps, the Nazis murdered from 15,003,000 to 31,595,000 people, most likely 20,946,000 men, women, handicapped, aged, sick, prisoners of war, forced laborers, camp inmates, critics, homosexuals, Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Germans, Czechs, Italians, Poles, French, Ukrainians, and many others. Among them 1,000,000 were children under eighteen years of age (8.) And none of these monstrous figures even include civilian and military combat or war deaths (9.)

The Khmer Rouge
In 1960, a small group of Cambodians, led by Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot) and Nuon Chea, secretly formed the Communist Party of Kampuchea. This movement would become known as the Khmer Rouge, or “Red Khmers.” Inspired by the teachings of Mao Zedong, the Khmer Rouge came to espouse a radical agrarian ideology based on strict one-party rule, rejection of urban and Western ideas, and abolition of private property. Increasing food production through collective farming, they believed, would ensure economic security for Cambodia’s overwhelmingly poor village population (10.)

Pol Pot
How the Khmer Rouge came to power
Initially small in number, the group operated quietly in the capital Phnom Penh until 1963 when the leaders and their growing band of supporters fled to the countryside. From there they launched an armed insurgency aimed at gaining control of the state from [king] Sihanouk. In the early years, however, the Khmer Rouge had few victories.
Sihanouk broke off diplomatic relations with the United States and strengthened his relations with North Vietnam, though he shared the Khmer Rouge’s distrust of Vietnam. By 1967, the North Vietnamese army and South Vietnamese insurgents were operating from sanctuaries located just inside Cambodia. US and South Vietnamese forces responded with cross-border incursions, which Sihanouk publicly protested. As Cambodia became drawn into the ever larger conflict in Vietnam, the dream of neutrality continued to fade. In March 1969, in an effort to disrupt North Vietnamese supply lines, President Nixon secretly ordered the US Air Force to conduct an extensive bombing campaign in eastern Cambodia. Later that year, in yet another public shift of loyalty, Sihanouk restored diplomatic relations with the United States. But by then his position inside Cambodia had become extremely precarious. While out of the country in March 1970, Sihanouk was overthrown by a pro-American general, Lon Nol, and other opponents. Sihanouk quickly cast his lot in with his enemies the Khmer Rouge, going on radio to urge all Cambodians to join their fight to take control of Cambodia.
War soon broke out all over the country. In April 1970, US and South Vietnamese ground forces entered eastern Cambodia to attack Communist sanctuaries there. The Vietnamese Communists, meanwhile, moved deeper into Cambodia and began seizing large sections of the countryside for the Khmer Rouge, who accepted their help despite historical distrust of Vietnam.

Khmer Rouge atrocities
Facing domestic outrage over the Vietnam War’s expansion, President Nixon withdrew US ground troops from Cambodia, but he authorized extensive military aid to Lon Nol’s pro-American government and army. US air strikes continued in the Cambodian countryside.
In 1970, the Cambodian Communists had few troops in the field and relied on the North Vietnamese to handle the brunt of the fighting. But as the war progressed, Khmer Rouge forces grew in number and battlefield prowess. They captured more and more territory on their own from Lon Nol’s army.
By the end of 1972, most North Vietnamese troops had left the country. Going forward, the Khmer Rouge relied mainly on China for weapons. The North Vietnamese, meanwhile, remained closely aligned with the Soviet Union. A growing rift between the world’s two Communist superpowers would soon be mirrored in divisions between the Cambodian and Vietnamese Communists. As the Cambodian war continued, US involvement remained unpopular at home. By Congressional order, the aerial attacks ended in August 1973 after a final surge of bombing. But US weapons continued to flow to Lon Nol’s slowly retreating
forces. Ultimately, civilian and military aid to his government totaled $1.6 billion. In early 1975, as the Khmer Rouge conquered more territory and new waves of refugees swamped Phnom Penh, the White House lobbied Congress to authorize $220 million more in aid, in the hope that strengthened resistance would force the Khmer Rouge into a cease-fire and political settlement. In the end, a Communist movement that in 1970 had been small and largely \powerless acquired strength and support sufficient to conquer the entire country (10.)

Summary of what the Khmer Rouge did (1975-1979)
The Khmer Rouge held power in Cambodia for just under 45 months (April 1975-January 1979) and left 1.6–3 million Cambodian civilians dead through starvation, torture, execution, medical experiments, untreated diseases, forced marches, forced labor, and other forms of violence. However, even after 1979, the Khmer Rouge remained active in remote regions of the country; thus, fatalities may be higher than documented.
The Khmer Rouge ruled a totalitarian state in which citizens had essentially no rights – they abolished civil and political rights, private property, money, religious practices, minority languages, and foreign clothing. Citizens could be detained for the slightest offenses, and the government set up vast prisons where people were held, tortured, and executed. The most infamous of these prisons was known as “S-21,” located in the capital city of Phnom Penh, where accused “traitors” and their families were brought, photographed, tortured, and killed. Of the roughly 17,000 men, women, and children who were brought to S-21 there were only about a dozen survivors. There were mass graves throughout the country, areas that became known as “killing fields.”
The Khmer Rouge based their policies on the idea that citizens of Cambodia had become corrupted by outside influences, especially Vietnam and the capitalist West. The Khmer Rouge referred to people who supported their vision as “pure people,” and persecuted anyone they deemed “impure.” Within days of taking power, the regime killed thousands of military personnel and forcibly moved millions of people out of cities, killing anyone who refused or was too slow.
They forced citizens into what they called reeducation schools, which were essentially places of state propaganda. The regime forced families to live communally with other people, in order to destroy the family structure. The Khmer Rouge targeted ethnic minorities, especially Chinese, Vietnamese, and Muslim Cham, of whom an estimated 80% were killed. In addition, anyone who was believed to be an intellectual was killed: doctors, lawyers, teachers, even
people who wore glasses or knew a foreign language became targets. Specially targeted were the inhabitants of the areas close to the Vietnamese border (11.)
The Taliban
The Taliban’s religious/political philosophy, especially during its first régime from 1996 to 2001, was heavily advised and influenced by Grand Mufti Rashid Ahmed Ludhianvi and his works. Its operating political and religious principles since its founding however were modeled on those of Abul A’la Maududi and the Jamaat-e-Islami movement (12.) Written works published by the group’s Commission of Cultural Affairs including Islami Adalat, De Mujahid Toorah— De Jihad Shari Misalay, and Guidance to the Mujahideen outlined the core of the Taliban Islamic Movement’s philosophy regarding jihad, sharia, organization, and conduct (13.) The Taliban régime interpreted the Sharia law in accordance with the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the religious edicts of Mullah Omar (14.)

Mullah Omar
How the Taliban came to power
The Taliban was in power first from 1996 till 2001 when they were driven out by
the invading American forces. The group was formed in the early 1990s by Afghan mujahideen, or Islamic guerilla fighters, who had resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979–89) with the covert backing of the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart, the Inter-Services
Intelligence directorate (ISI). (Pakistan is thought to have provided financial and logistical support to the Taliban during the U.S. war, though Islamabad denies this.)
They were joined by younger Pashtun tribesmen who studied in Pakistani madrassas, or seminaries; Taliban is Pashto for “students.” Pashtuns comprise a plurality in Afghanistan and are the predominant ethnic group in much of the country’s south and east. They are also a major ethnic group in Pakistan’s north and west.
The movement attracted popular support in the initial post-Soviet era by promising to impose stability and rule of law after four years of conflict (1992–96) among rival mujahideen groups. The Taliban entered Kandahar in November 1994 to pacify the crime-ridden southern city, and by September 1996 seized the capital, Kabul, from President Burhanuddin Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik whom they viewed as anti-Pashtun and corrupt. That year, the Taliban declared Afghanistan an Islamic emirate, with Mullah Mohammed Omar, a cleric and veteran of the anti-Soviet resistance, leading as amir al-mu’minin, or “commander of the faithful.” The regime controlled some 90 percent of the country before its 2001 overthrow. Following the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the original regime in 2001, the Taliban regrouped across the border in Pakistan and began taking back territory less than ten years after their ouster. By August 2021, the Taliban had swept back into power. The group’s swift offensive came as the United States withdrew its remaining troops from Afghanistan as outlined in a 2020 peace agreement with the Taliban (15.)
Summary of what the Taliban did (1996-2001)
According to a 55-page report by the United Nations, the Taliban, while trying to consolidate control over northern and western Afghanistan, committed systematic massacres against civilians. UN officials stated that there had been “15 massacres” between 1996 and 2001. They also said, that “[t]hese have been highly systematic and they all lead back to the [Taliban] Ministry of Defense or to Mullah Omar himself.” The Taliban especially targeted Shias or Hazaras (16.) Many civilians fled to the area of Massoud. The National Geographic concluded: “The only thing standing in the way of future Taliban massacres is Ahmad Shah Massoud (17.)” The 055 Brigade were also believed to be behind a string of civilian massacres of the Shia population nearby in Hazarajat, including one attack in early 2001, in which more than 200 people died (18.)

The Taliban second time in power (August 2021 –
The sequence of events which took place for the return of the Taliban to power is not a focus of this article, but rather investigating whether they learnt anything for their first experience in power which ultimately lead to their downfall. As we will see, contrary to expectations and their own pledges, they didn’t. On August 15, 2021, over two weeks before the official U.S. withdrawal deadline, Taliban fighters entered the capital. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani subsequently fled the country and the Afghan government collapsed. Later that same day, the Taliban announced they had entered the presidential palace, taken control of Kabul, and were establishing checkpoints to maintain security.
Those remaining in the country under Taliban rule have watched the regression and reversion of any gains in liberal and democratic rights and freedoms over the last twenty years. Girls are once again barred from secondary schools. Women are required to have a male-relative companion when traveling significant distances and to cover their faces in public. Music has been banned and flogging, amputations, and mass executions have been reintroduced. According to a New York Times investigation, the Taliban has killed or forcibly disappeared nearly five hundred former government officials and members of the Afghan security forces in just its first six months in power. Afghans also remain at a heightened risk of terrorist attacks, such as the August 2022 bombing of a mosque and September 2022 bombing of the Russian Embassy, both in Kabul, allegedly perpetrated by the Islamic State.
Afghans are also suffering from cascading and compounding humanitarian crises and face the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations. In January 2022, the United Nations launched the largest single-country aid appeal in its history to finance humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. By March 2022, 95 percent of Afghan households did not have enough to eat, and more than 3.5 million children were in need of nutrition treatment support. By August 2022, six million people were “on the brink of famine.” Climate change, which has increased the frequency and intensity of natural disasters and extreme weather, has elevated the population’s exposure to food shortages, with searing heat waves and flash flooding destroying crops and arable land. Afghans have also seen food prices soar as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war (19.)
In its latest action, the Taliban have banned women from universities in Afghanistan, sparking international condemnation and despair among young people in the country. The higher education minister announced the regression on Tuesday, saying it would take immediate effect. The ban further restricts women’s education – girls have already been excluded from secondary schools since the Taliban returned last year (20.)

Discussion, why didn’t they change when in power
As it was early stated, most political parties and forces are forced to change, sometimes dramatically, once they assume power as they face new realities and experience factors, internal and external, which were not anticipated, and understandably, adapt to new realities to extend their stay in power which is the ultimate goal. We have seen, however, in the case of the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, and the Taliban (twice), that they didn’t change and remain committed to their ideology and policies no matter what the circumstances are. This is truly astonishing, especially in the case of the Taliban, which had a very rare opportunity of returning to power. Then the question is why and what are the reasons behind such a phenomenon? Is it the leader (Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mullah Omar), the philosophy, or both?

The Nazies, Adolf Hitler
In the case of the Nazies, this writer believes that Hitler was the main reason why
the Nazies did not adapt to the new realities when they assumed power and remained entrenched in their beliefs despite all the facts surrounding them.
After world war I, army veteran Adolf Hitler, like most of the German people, was frustrated by Germany’s defeat which had left the nation economically depressed and politically unstable. And like many others in Germany felt that the Treaty of Versailles, the peace settlement that ended the war, was extremely unjust to Germany by burdening it with reparations it could never pay.
Hitler soon emerged as a charismatic public speaker and began attracting new members to his party with speeches blaming Jews and Marxists for Germany’s problems and espousing extreme nationalism and the concept of an Aryan “master race.”
Through the 1920s, Hitler gave speech after speech in which he stated that unemployment, rampant inflation, hunger and economic stagnation in postwar Germany would continue until there was a total revolution in German life. Most problems could be solved, he explained, if communists and Jews were driven from the nation. His fiery speeches swelled the ranks of the Nazi Party, especially among young, economically disadvantaged Germans.
Once Hitler gained control of the government, he directed Nazi Germany’s foreign policy toward undoing the Treaty of Versailles and restoring Germany’s standing in the world. He railed against the treaty’s redrawn map of Europe and argued it denied Germany—Europe’s most populous state—“living space” for its growing population.
Although the Treaty of Versailles was explicitly based on the principle of the self-determination of peoples, he pointed out that it had separated Germans from Germans by creating such new postwar states as Austria and Czechoslovakia, where many Germans lived (21.)
These beliefs of the harshness of the Treaty of Versaille, the superiority of the Araian race, the need to unify all Germans, the creation of German-dominated Europe, the return of the German empire (as manifested by his demand of the returning of all German colonies in Africa which it lost after the world), etc. were certainly the driving forces behind Hitler. One other factor is Hitler state of mind.
Many people believe that Hitler had a mental disorder and was not schizophrenic nor bipolar, but rather met the criteria for both disorders, and was therefore most likely a schizoaffective. If true, this might be explained by a series of brief reactive psychoses in a narcissistic personality which could not withstand being confronted with reality (in this case, that he was not the “superman” or “savior of Germany” he envisioned himself to be, as his plans and apparent early achievements collapsed about him). In addition, his regular methamphetamine use (22) and possible sleep deprivation in the last period of his life must be factored into any speculation as to the cause of his possible psychotic symptoms, as these two activities are known to trigger psychotic reactions in some individuals. Hitler never visited a psychiatrist, and under current methodology, any such diagnosis is speculation (23.)

The Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot
In the case of the Khmer Rouge, we see a similar pattern, a twisted philosophy and a strong-willed, charismatic, and eccentric leader (Pol Pot) who dictated the policies while in power and never deviated from them. Pol Pot (born Saloth Sâr) came to this world on 19 May 1925 to a prosperous farmer in Prek Sbauv, French Cambodia. He was educated at some of Cambodia’s most elite schools. While in Paris during the 1940s, he joined the French Communist Party. Returning to Cambodia in 1953, he involved himself in the Marxist–Leninist Khmer Việt Minh organization and its guerrilla war against King Norodom Sihanouk’s newly independent government. Following the Khmer Việt Minh’s 1954 retreat into Marxist–Leninist controlled North Vietnam, Pol Pot returned to Phnom Penh, working as a teacher while remaining a central member of Cambodia’s Marxist–Leninist movement. In 1959, he helped formalise the movement into the Kampuchean Labour Party, which was later renamed the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). To avoid state repression, in 1962 he relocated to a jungle encampment and in 1963 became the CPK’s leader. In 1968, he relaunched the war against Sihanouk’s government. After Lon Nol ousted Sihanouk in a 1970 coup, Pol Pot’s forces sided with the deposed leader against the new government, which was bolstered by the United States military. Aided by the Việt Cộng militia and North Vietnamese troops, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge forces advanced and controlled all of Cambodia by 1975 (24.)
What the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 is listed above (11), the focus of this section is on the state of mind of the man who lead the country during that time and implemented the policies which devastated the country and remained committed to them even when he was hiding in the jungles between Cambodia and Thailand. According to French psychoanalyst Dr. Jean Artarit, Dr. Artarit, a Paris-based psychiatrist who has examined the accused members of the Khmer Rouge and their alleged victims for tribunals examining their murderous reign, some revolutionaries, such as Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, an excessive amount of self-love stripped them of their humanity. He went on to explain why he believes Pol Pot had narcissistic personality disorder, a condition named after Narcissus, a hunter in Greek mythology whose beauty was such that he fell in love with his own image.
Narcissists deny their origins and any role their parents might have played in their lives, Dr. Artarit said. “There is nothing before them…. These are people totally into self-generating. They don’t owe anything to anyone.” For instance, Pol Pot was born to a family of well-off farmers with a relative at the Royal Palace, Pol Pot would portray himself in a 1978 interview to Yugoslav journalists as being from a poor “peasant family,” which was pure invention, Dr. Artarit said. Narcissists tend to need another person in which they can reflect themselves, he said. “The narcissist core, the perverse core I would say, was Pol Pot and Nuon Chea” [aCambodian communist politician and revolutionary who was the chief ideologist of the Khmer Rouge. He also briefly served as acting Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea.] Their logic was that, since others hated them and were about to kill them, they had to kill first, Dr. Artarit said. “Huge megalomaniacs…they were this terrible couple of persecutor-persecuted. (25)”
The Taliban, Mullah Omar and Hibatullah Akhundzada
Afghanistan is a rugged, mountainous, landlocked country. It experiences four distinct seasons, which vary in extremes. Summers are dry and hot, whilst winters bring extreme cold with heavy snowfall. The weather in Afghanistan also varies hugely depending on the location and altitude. The impact of Afghanistan’s weather is huge on rural farming communities, with unforeseen changes leaving alarge impact on crop production, agriculture, and livelihood (26.)

Hibatullah Akhundzada
Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, a weak governance, the lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government’s difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country. But Opium cultivation is estimated to be at an all-time high in Afghanistan, despite the US spending $7.5bn to combat it (27.) Although Islam is the religion of the vast majority of the country (99.7%), there is a long-standing feud between Sinni and Shia Muslims. Ethnically, Afghanistan has numerous Ethnic groups the largest of which is the Pushtun, followed by the Tajik, and the Hazaras. It is these realities that made Afghanis fiercely independent with the population exhibiting extreme loyalties to ethnic groups, tribes, religious sect, and geographical location. The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist nationalist and pro-Pashtun movement (28.)

“Since the emergence of the Taliban in the national scene of Afghanistan, speculations have abounded around whether to call the movement a Pashtun nationalist movement or should it be termed as a radical Islamic movement having supra ethnic tendencies? It can be viewed that the Taliban movement in Afghanistan neither has its origin directly in the Pashtun tribal culture nor in the tradition of Islam. The leaders of the movement tend to use both these identities voluntarily based on circumstances. Depending on the aims and objectives in a given situation, both these identities are instrumentalized by the Taliban leaders to recruit more fighters and also to carry on with the political aspect of strategic decision making (29.)”
It is with these backgrounds the Taliban ruled Afghanistan for the first time in 1996 under the leadership of Mullah Omar who was born into a religious family of Kandahar, Omar was educated at local madrasas in Afghanistan. Following the Soviet invasion in 1979, he joined the Afghan mujahideen in the Soviet–Afghan War. He served as an important military general during several skirmishes and lost his right eye in an explosion. Afterward, the Soviets withdrew in 1989 and the communist rule of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was toppled in 1992, prompting a civil war in Afghanistan. He initially remained quiet and continued his studies, though the practice of bacha bazi and fasad in the country prompted Omar to take part in the civil war. In 1994, Omar formed the Taliban along with religious students in Kandahar. The Taliban emerged victorious in the civil war and established the First Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with Omar serving as the country’s emir (30.)
What the Taliban did under the leadership of Mullah Omar from 1996 to 2001 was illustrated above, and why the group remained rigid in its policies is also explained in the previous paragraphs. But what is important to add, as in the case of Hitler Pol Pot and their mental state of mind, Mullah Omar looks like has experienced the same condition. An article in the Independent stated the following “MULLAH Omar, the one-eyed leader of the Taliban, is mentally unstable and suffers fits during which he babbles incomprehensibly, according to one of his personal physicians.
“He locks himself away for two or three days at a time and the official line is that he is having visions, but in fact he is suffering brain seizures,” said the doctor who
works at a hospital in the mullah’s home town of Kandahar (31.)”

It looks like the Taliban refuse to learn from their first experience in governing in Afghanistan and would remain entrenched in their philosophies gilded by their nationalistic, ethnic, and sectrain backgrounds. To that, the BBC reported that the new leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has ordered Afghan judges to impose punishments for certain crimes that may include public amputations and stoning.
It went on to say that his spokesman said offenses such as robbery, kidnapping and sedition must be punished in line with the group’s interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. It added that The Taliban’s supreme leader said judges must punish criminals according to Sharia, if the crime committed is a violation of those laws (32.) Nadum Jwad* is a freelance political writer who lives in Windsor, Ontario
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