Taliban Influence Grows In Afghanistan

A human rights group reports that the Taliban is regaining influence in Afghanistan.

In late December, Human Rights Watch released a report on the resurgence of sorts of the Taliban, which before the Ameri­can invasion in late 2001 ruled the country under an oppressive regime of Islamic laws. The Religion News Service noted that the report was issued amid concerns that former Taliban officials had won seats in the country’s first democratically elected parliament.

“A lot of people will use their new positions to reconstitute their networks of power,” said Sam Zarifi, a researcher with Human Rights Watch.

According to the report, the Taliban is gaining strength in large rural parts of the country because the central government is perceived as corrupt and unable to deliver services.

There is a growing feeling among Afghanis, said Zarifi, “that at least the Taliban brought peace and security” to the country.

A majority of the deputies in the new parliament’s lower house and many in the upper house may directly or indirectly have connections to past or current human rights abuses with Afghanistan, Zarifi charged.

One of them, Arsala Rahmani, held one of the top positions in the Taliban’s religious affairs ministry and is credited with being an intellectual driving force for the militant Islamic movement. He was appointed to his current post by President Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-aligned leader of the country.