Taxation, which is sometimes fair and often wealthy but compulsory, can fall prey to rival taxpayers and lead to beatings and imprisonment if not paid.
Judges go to jail or are killed with adulteries in mobile courts and some thieves are hanged in public. Bread, clothes and even the occasional smartphone are gifts for fighters.
This is 2021, in a Taliban stronghold: Musa Qala, a town in Helmand province, in which dozens of American, British and Afghan soldiers have been fighting for nearly two decades.
It is now a completely backward type, Islamist society wants the Taliban. Locals say it is a crude form after more than 30 years of chaos.
In interviews with the city’s six male residents, CNN sought to establish what a Taliban-controlled society is like for its citizens, given the growing nationwide stranglehold of the militant group that ruled the country in the 1990s.
Negotiations between the US and the Taliban are ongoing, with the Afghan government often left on the sidelines, and pieces of any peace deal are likely to be taken.
The fate of Moses Kala is a symbol of great symbolism for the presence of NATO in Afghanistan. This is where some fierce fighting took place ten years ago, before the US-led army left Helmand and Afghan troops and left the area from 2016 onwards.
Britain killed at least 23 soldiers in 2010 before the US Navy’s sinking with greater firepower. The lack of rights for women, and the complete absorption of society by the Taliban, will raise questions about the ultimate purpose of the sacrifice of NATO nations.
While the centers of Kabul and most of the main cities remain mostly under government control, vast tracts of rural Afghanistan are ruled by sinister and diverse units of the Taliban. Now in Musa Qala for more than five years, he has enforced his rules despite being in regular conflict with Afghan security forces in Helmand province to the south.
“The Taliban have power at the end of the day,” one resident said. “It is not possible to go against their will.”
“They are everywhere,” another resident said. “They have power and court. They tell us what our zakat or tax is.”
“They use it for expenses and guns. They persecute those who do not pay.”
Residents who spoke to CNN did so anonymously, fearing reprimand from the Taliban.
The men largely described the Taliban’s regime as an improvement over the past decade, married by deep backward treatment of women and moments of cruelty. The men stated that women are not allowed to work unless they are medical staff.
“when they [women] Go outside, they have to wear clothes according to Sharia. So, for them, taking care of their homes is more important than working outside, ”said a third resident.
Another person we interviewed said that the women were prosecuted by the courts for leaving their homes.
“Women are not allowed to go out; you cannot allow many women out of their homes. There is no school for girls in Musa Bala.”
The fourth man said: “No one can dare to ask that since we cannot talk about this, people have accepted the reality.”
Residents spoke of the trusted terrorist group, who were able to move freely on motorbikes, with a walkie-talkie warning system installed for coal attacks. He said that the US airstrikes were triggered by an airstrike recently triggered by the Trump administration’s ongoing peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban.
A fourth person said that the Taliban are now more cautious than ever.
He described a system of governance and a regular court system with elders in charge, where the Taliban established an “ottak,” or chamber, where grievances could be heard or dealt with, and criminals tried and punished. The room at Musa Kala was called every Thursday, and often the place was changed, the men said, because of the threat of airstrikes.
The third man said, “Many people in different villages, who have been taken to the Taliban Otak,” have been locked up there for a night or two or beaten up.
While some described the court system as efficient, others said it was a victim of corruption and favored the rich. “If you are poor and weak, your chances of winning are very slim,” he said.
The sentence includes death for robbery, with the first man citing the hanging of three thieves four years ago.
“He was arrested several times for robbery, but he did not stop,” he said. He said that a woman was jailed for adultery five years ago and her fate was unknown. Another resident said that the jail was built from a deserted house on the outskirts of the city.
Miscellaneous Accounts of Taxation in Musa Art. Some said that it focuses on the rich. A fifth resident said that the Taliban forced residents to buy fighters’ clothes at the market during Ramadan, and also collected taxes on opium production in the crop. Others described a relaxed system in which shopkeepers, farmers and traders were approached for a contribution. Locals were also encouraged to give bread and clothes to Taliban militants.
A third person said that competing groups among the Taliban often tried to impose their own taxes.
“A better approach would be to give it to the same authorized officer, but every group tries to keep it in their pocket,” he said.
Recruitment to the Taliban was described as voluntary, with relatively little training, and was relatively popular due to the lack of local work and school houses.
“The Taliban emphasized the importance of jihad in madrasas,” or schools said.
The sixth person said: “School children are the weakest, quick and admitted. I hope we will see a day when there is only one government and one law in the country. Only then we can find peace . “
Economic challenges for the Taliban, if the fighting becomes country-wide, were also evident.
Analysts believe the group is keen to find a political accommodation with the central Afghan government to maintain international legitimacy and ensure that development aid can still flow into the country, keeping it intact.
The fourth man said that no development projects were going on in Musa Kala as if central government had control.
“They [the Taliban] Are not able to create jobs, ”he said.
A moment of modernization surfaced in six interviews: the return of smartphones, known to locals as “big phones,” or “WhatsApp phones”.
Banned by the Taliban for years, they have since been allowed to return slowly, due to their use by the coalition to track Taliban fighters for airplanes.
Musa Kala residents said the Taliban, merchants and wealthy locals appreciated the improved communication. Some terms and conditions are still in force, he said.
“The Taliban will stop anyone who will use the phone to shoot video,” the first man said. “They have instructed shops that run WhatsApp service, which no one finds suspicious, do not register it.”