In their zeal to overcome the abuses of the previous 20 years and to create a new foundation for the country, the Taliban have instituted an uncompromising moral severity and inflexibility that, abuses aside, does not mesh well with Afghan sensibilities, especially the valorization of individual autonomy that is shared across the ethnic and regional spectrum. Afghans rejected the Marxist regime principally because they came to believe that Taraki, Amin, and laterKarmal were intent on imposing a foreign moral code on the country, and now [in the 1990s] many feel that the Taliban are trying to do the same thing -- this time instituting under the cover of "village morality" religious mores that are more parochial and conservative than those of the vast majority of Afghans, including most Afghans from rural areas. Ironically, the Qandahari villages that Mulla Omar and the other top Taliban officials come from are famous throughout Afghanistan for the enjoyment of music, dancing, games of various sorts. One comes to the conclusion that the Taliban call for a return to "village morality" has as little connection to real villages as the Khalqi valorization of "downtrodden peasants" did to the struggles of actual people. One also suspects that just as the isolation of Kabul-based Marxist leaders from the life of the rural poor led them to formulate unrealistic social programs, so the cloistered society of the all-male madrasa has led the Taliban to create an idealized vision of Afghan villages unmoderated by the domestic influence of women, families, elders, and the everyday realities of tilling fields, tending flocks, and raising children.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Taliban version of "village morality" and the real thing
Edwards, page 299-300:
Posted by Steve Muhlberger at 2:10 PM