Even as the Taliban have established control over Afghanistan’s formal institutions, its leadership has pursued more traditional methods, including an outreach by the powerful Invitation and Guidance Commission, led by Amir Khan Muttaqi. The commission’s events included a gathering of religious scholars at the Loya Jirga hall in Kabul last week, where the tricolor flags of the fallen Afghan republic remain painted on the wall behind the stage.
Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that came after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including floggings, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more on their origin story and their record as rulers.
Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the top leaders of the Taliban, men who have spent years on the run, in hiding, in jail and dodging American drones. Little is known about them or how they plan to govern, including whether they will be as tolerant as they claim to be. One spokesman told The Times that the group wanted to forget its past, but that there would be some restrictions.
At the Ministry of Peace in downtown Kabul, Khalil Haqqani, uncle of the Taliban’s deputy leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has held a series of meetings with tribal elders, former government officials and military pilots, urging them to support the new Taliban government. Last Thursday, flanked by uniformed guards wielding American M4 carbines, Mr. Haqqani presided over a gathering that included Allah Gul Mujahed, a former member of Parliament from Kabul, who asked the audience to cooperate with the Taliban.
“All who accept this great law, which is the holy Quran, raise your hand,” Mr. Haqqani said.
In his capacity as special representative to the movement’s supreme leader, Haqqani asked participants to swear bayah, an Islamic oath of allegiance. Over the past two weeks, a succession of Afghan power brokers have taken those oaths in his presence, including Gul Agha Sherzai, the former governor of Kandahar, and Hashmat Ghani, brother of the former president.