Hojatoleslam Dr. Mahdi Farmanian, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, stated: The closest model of government to the model of the “Islamic Emirate” of the Taliban will be the government of Saudi Arabia during the reign of “Abdul Aziz” between 1900 up to 1953.
Saudi Arabia’s past governance, a model for Taliban rule
Saying that sons of Abdul Aziz chose more secularist approaches in administering the government and cope with some issues with tolerance, he added: It seems that in the model of the “Islamic Emirate”, we will be witness to the presence of a head of government without holding elections and paying attention to the principles of democracy. The people must pledge allegiance to the head, and the opposition will be treated with violence. Of course, the Taliban seek to enforce Sharia in Afghanistan; while Sharia is not enforced in many cases in Saudi Arabia due to the approach of the rulers.
Stating that the Islamic Emirate means that people and other groups and parties do not interfere in politics and social affairs, the university professor continued: The Taliban, along with the head of government, will have a leadership council called the “Council of settelment”, which will be formed to consult with the head on any issues he deem necessary, and members of the council will be elected by the same head.
While explaining the differences between Saudi Wahhabism with the Taliban, Farmanian stated: The origin of the Taliban’s thoughts goes back to the Sunni currents of the subcontinent, and in particular to the Deobandi school of thought; because most of the Taliban and its leaders are educated in Deobandi schools. Meanwhile, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam played a key role in supporting Afghanistan’s Sunni jihadist forces and the Taliban mobilization, to the extent that even the draft of the Taliban constitution has been prepared by that group. Of course, due to the diverse range of opinions in Deobandi schools and consequently the Taliban, their school of thought is the school of “contradictory dualities”.
The difference between the Caliphate and the Emirate
Explaining that the model of the “Islamic Emirate” is not seriously different from the “Islamic Caliphate” in terms of governmental characteristics, Farmanian said: In the view of the Sunnis, the “Caliphate” has characteristics; the Ottoman Empire would not introduce its government as a “caliphate” either, because in this view, one of the prevailing conditions is that it must be “Qurayshi”; but after that empire became powerful, there were justifications that, for example, if the ruler is not a Qurayshi, the position of the caliphate can be considered for him. It seems that the Taliban will take the same approach in the future.
Referring to the demarcations between countries and the efforts for nation-building in accordance with those demarcations, he continued: Mohammad Rashid Reza, the religious thinker and political activist in Egypt and Syria in the late Ottoman period, stated for the first time in his book that ‘we cannot establish an Islamic Caliphate because of the situation we are witnessing in the Islamic world; instead, we must seek to establish an “Islamic state” within a specific geographical area’.
The researcher of Islamic currents, sects and religions said: The Muslim Brotherhood also sought to establish an Islamic government in a specific geographical area, but they eventually accepted the elections and tried to dominate over the government through it; but the Taliban do not believe in such a way, and if they come to power, in the coming years they will move towards the appointment of a Qurayshi as leader and will talk about the Islamic Caliphate.
He reminded: Of course, the Taliban did not have a positive view of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; to the extent that during the Taliban rule, their books were banned from entering into Afghanistan. Such an approach stems from the past fatwas of the scholars of India, Sindh and Pakistan, and of course the positions of the Brotherhood populations against such view have further intensified those differences.
Saying that we will not see a significant difference between the Taliban government and the Arab governance models in some Sunni countries, Farmanian said: The only difference we may see will be stricter attitude towards the people with regard to what they call implementation of the Sharia; especially since such approach towards women is quite noticeable.
Foreign policy in the Islamic Emirate
The associate professor of the University of Religions and Denominations said that in this period of Taliban rule, we will be witness to coordination between the United States and the Taliban, adding: In the new era, the Taliban will drastically change their approach to the international community and connect with all countries in the region and the world; as in the past, they will not show anti-American attitudes and probably will only not recognize Israel; but there will be no official or serious threat or opposition to it. On the other hand, as we see in Turkey at the time of Mr. Erdogan, sometimes they will only take a stand on some of the atrocities committed against Muslims and will change their style and method under the influence of time.
At the same time, he stressed: Due to various historical issues and different ideological bases between the Taliban and Wahhabism, there will be no serious alliance between Saudi Arabia and the Taliban. The Taliban will interact with Saudi Arabia and have relations with it like any other country, and while they will not speak out against it, they will not form a serious alliance against other countries.
Farmanian said: Afghanistan’s geographical location is as such that it does not have access to the sea, and for this reason it is necessary to meet its needs from the Pakistan or Iran. The Taliban will certainly pay attention to such issues in the new era, given its experience.