Caliphate vs. Emirates: An off the cuff look into the analogy between Taliban and the ISIS

Posted: July 7, 2014 in Daily incidents


By Mustafa Kazemi


    Conspiracy wise the ISIS or Islamic State of Iraq & Syria isn’t much different from what we witnessed during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Differences like culture, government system, and economy might make us think that there are barely anything common between the two terrorist groups – but there are enough analogy between the two.

When Taliban came into existence, it was merely known as a resistance group. It later transformed into a group that wanted to establish an Islamic government in Afghanistan and finally one of the groups responsible for the 9/11 attacks. It was no longer government of Afghanistan – but was “the Taliban”. ISIS – which also goes with its brand new name the “Islamic State” displayed a very similar show on its appearance. Still labelled as a Sunni resistance group that is fighting the “injustice” in Iraq by the Shiite government of Noori Al-Maliki, the Islamic State is by far proved itself anything but a sectarian movement.


  1. Taliban and the Islamic State both became who they are out of a few stained AK-47s and cold war weapons. Islamic State managed to get Russian BMP and American Abrams tanks along with relatively plenty of other armaments provided to the Iraqi government by the US – once – to fight groups like ISIS with. But the Taliban used 90% Russian arms.


  2. Islamic State is after printing passports. Taliban had taken a parallel step: Get independent as far as it can. Taliban used different currency banknotes, which decreased the value of the Afghani currency from 1 to 100. One Afghani before Taliban’s Afghani currency (which was printed in an allied Arab country), turned to 100 – the smallest bill. It fell well into the place, and until one and half year into the Transitional Government, the same was used. They though failed to print their own passports. One reason could be attributed to the fact that they didn’t need them. Afghans were travelling to neighboring Pakistan & Iran with no documents, and wherever the Taliban officials went, they needn’t to show passports.


  3. Going to mosque for prayer – Jama’at – was as mandatory during the Taliban regime as Islamic State is enforcing it. When its prayer time, whether you were on a street, in the hospital, in a park, a farm, or in a car, you were forced to offer prayer with everyone else. I spent many weeks in a Taliban detention center for not going to the mosque for prayer and opting to offer the prayer at my workshop. As did many other Afghans. In extreme cases the Taliban would lash, beat, and fine those who’d avoid going to the mosque – the exact that Islamic State is enforcing upon Iraqi citizen.


  4. No woman was allowed to go out without a confidant (mostly a sibling) in any case. Women were lashed, beaten or punished in a different style if they were seen without a man in the public. Difference with Islamic State rule is that Afghan women were forced to wear a Burqa, but Islamic State hasn’t yet punished anyone for not wearing a veil to cover full body. Although their law says so.


  5. Being a cross-border rule is another common habit of the two groups. In Islamic State, its Syria as second home for them, and Afghanistan shared the Taliban with Pakistan during their rules.


  6. US Government – or the biggest “anti-terrorism” government opposes both groups – for national and international interests. Islamic State has so far only made threats against the U.S., but Taliban did what they could to cause a terrible grief being developed in America’s heart for them, a grief that cost the Taliban their rule.


  7. Tendency to share politics with Arab countries of the Gulf area. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are some examples which both Taliban and the Islamic State have either proved their political propensity with, or are going to do so. Even years after overthrowing of the Taliban government, their peace talks and other legal matters which required a table and a chair to sit and discuss them are taking place in either of the countries.


  8. Leader of the Muslims or Amir-ul-Momenin is a disputed title. After Imam Ali, it was claimed by Mullah Omer, the one-eyed spearhead of the Taliban, and Abubakr Al Baghdadi. They both ask the Muslims to obey them, and they both said the same things: obey me if I’m right, and do not if I’m wrong. Maybe we need a 3rd one to judge which one is right & which one is wrong.


  9. Mullah Omer never wore a James Bond watch, as Abubakr Al Baghdadi did.


  10. Cultural Enemies: Both the Islamic State and Taliban regime destroyed culturally-valuable sites and religiously important shrines for the minorities in Iraq and Afghanistan.


From 1990s onwards when the Taliban came into the spotlight until 2001 when the US military conducted a generous carpet bombing of Taliban strongholds and got rid of them, almost everything is known about the Taliban whilst the Islamic State is still under development. As weeks and months pass on, more and more is revealed about the brand new caliphate. A couple of weeks later, this list will make us read far more than 10 points of similarity.


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