Difference In Taliban Leaders’ Eid Messages Indicate Tension Amongst Group Members

Friday, 04/12/2024

Fox News reported on Thursday, citing experts, that the differing Eid messages from two influential Taliban leaders indicate tensions within the group.

This media outlet wrote that unlike the strict stance of Hibatullah Akhundzada, Taliban’s leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group’s interior minister, is looking to draw trust support from the outside.

According to Fox News, Akhundzada defended the implementation of Islamic laws in his Eid message and criticised the international community for objecting it. This American media outlet stated that Haqqani urged the Taliban to be humble and avoid behaviours that displease Afghans.

The Taliban leader pledged to publicly stone women in a direct message aimed at Western democracies.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have released two Eid messages attributing to Mullah Hibatullah.

The first Eid message was a written statement issued on Saturday in seven languages, including Arabic, English, Turkmen, and Uzbek. In this message, he issued recommendations to the officials of the group in the group’s administration.

The second Eid message was an audio file that the Taliban broadcasted after the Eid prayers held at the Eidgah Mosque in Kandahar. This half an hour audio file is in Pashto and has a fiery tone similar to the previous statements of Hibatullah.

In this speech, he said that he would never compromise with anyone over the implementation of Islamic law. “I won’t even take a step away from Shariah (Islamic law)”, he said.

Fox News wrote that the analysis of Haqqani's Eid message indicates that he is was looking to show a softer side and “to draw trust and support from a broader Afghan public aware of the Taliban’s brutal form of governance”.

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and author who has written books about Afghanistan and the Taliban, said that both leaders send a strong message to Taliban members that nothing has changed despite pressure from the West.

Rashid said that there is clearly a difference within the Taliban, but they stand together. “There are moderate elements that want to see women educated, but they’re not in a strong position so they’re biding their time,” said Rashid.

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