Taliban flags two political parties, 75 social organizations for ‘illegal activities’

Taliban-run Ministry of Justice in Kabul, Afghanistan. File photo.

Taliban’s justice ministry announced on Sunday that two political parties and 75 social organizations in Afghanistan have been identified for engaging in “illegal activities” over the past two years. These groups have been referred to the Taliban’s security agencies for further action.

According to the ministry’s statement, a comprehensive review of numerous committees and organizations revealed that these entities, including several charitable and social institutions, were operating without legal authorization. The implicated parties and organizations’ officials have since been directed to the security institutions of the Taliban for investigation.

The ministry also reported that 17 charitable organizations had been advised to adjust their activities to comply with the Taliban’s principles, while 19 others had their licenses revoked due to a failure to renew.

This crackdown comes amid warnings from the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice that any political activities labeled as party-related will be considered a criminal offense under their governance, subjecting participants to legal prosecution.

Despite such warnings, “Shahadat” newspaper, associated with Hizb-e-Islami, continues to report on its leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s engagements with supporters. The ongoing tension between Hizb-e-Islami and the Taliban escalated further over the controversy surrounding Hekmatyar’s residence, previously granted by the government led by Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in 2016 as part of a peace agreement.

The property, controversially reclaimed by the Taliban’s special commission for recovering government lands, was initially allocated for Hekmatyar’s residence and office. The seizure reflects broader tensions, including between Kandahar, the Taliban’s stronghold, and Islamabad, highlighted by Iran’s former ambassador to Afghanistan in a social media post.

Amid these developments, Issa Ishaqzai, head of the Afghan National Congress, criticized the restrictions on political parties, civil society activities, social institutions, and media as being against national interests and human rights principles.

“The Taliban do not accept anyone in Afghanistan except themselves, especially Hekmatyar, who uses the Quran and Hadith to challenge or advise. This intolerance is why they increasingly pressure Hekmatyar,” said Mohammad Isa, a religious scholar.

Informed sources report that Hekmatyar had developed the contested land to include two residential houses, a mosque with a separate hall named “Iman,” a television station named Beria, and the Hizb-e-Islami headquarters.