Taliban Hate Office Work, Misses the Days of Jihad

After achieving victory in the Afghanistan war, Jihadists who have spent their lifetime riding horses in the countryside are now expressing complaints about the work-life they currently lead behind a desk. Now all they can do is think about how to pay rent and spend their time using Twitter.

The war ended in 2021 with the U.S. coalition withdrawing and the Taliban capturing Kabul, the country's capital city. After that, the Taliban officials started taking over the government and the industries. From there, their "boring" day-to-day work life begins.

Five former mujahideen (guerrilla fighters who "struggle" for Islam), who are now a part of the new government, were interviewed by a non-profit research agency called the Afghanistan Analytics Network (AAN). It explained the current lives of the former fighters who have spent most of their lives fighting the empire to run the country.

Sabawoon Samin, a researcher of the AAN, personally conducted the interviews, mainly in Kabul. He asked the Taliban members what they felt after finally winning the country.

"They ranged in age from 24 to 32 and had spent between six and 11 years in the Taliban, at different ranks: a Taliban commander, a sniper, a deputy commander, and two fighters," said Samin.

According to the reports, after the fall of the Islamic Republic, the men had to change their occupation, befitting the new government in Kabul. It says that two secured civilian jobs while others joined security positions.

"All we had to deal with was making plans for ta'aruz [attacks] against the enemy and for retreating. People didn't expect much from us, and we had little responsibility towards them, whereas now, if someone is hungry, he deems us directly responsible for that…the Taliban used to be free of restrictions, but now we sit in one place, behind a desk and a computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Life's become so wearisome; you do the same things every day. Being away from the family has only doubled the problem," said former sniper Huzaifa. He believes that he was leading a simple life during the insurgency.

25-year-old farmer Abdul Nafi said he often reminisces about his Jihad life and all the "good things" if offered. "In our ministry, there's little work for me to do. Therefore, I spend most of my time on Twitter. We're connected to speedy Wi-Fi and internet. Many mujahedin, including me, are addicted to the internet, especially Twitter."

Nafi also lamented the greed for wealth soon coming to dominate Afghanistan. He said, "there is a proverb in our area that money is like a shackle. Now, if we complain, or don't come to work, or disobey the rules, they cut our salary. Unlike Jihad, now particularly, when the battles are long gone, and the risk is zero, the Emirate could find countless people to work with them in return for a salary."

The only thing the interviewed men have in common is that none are from Kabul. They moved into the city after the U.S. army retreated.

Omar Mansur told Samin that he could not bring his family to Kabul due to financial reasons. "I haven't brought my family to Kabul, Omar told Samin. "The rent of houses is very high for us since our salary is no more than 15,000 afghanis [roughly $180]. It is fully sufficient for Yahyakhel but not for Kabul. As soon as, God willing, I have a good salary; I will bring my family here," he said.

Mansur also criticized the traffic in Kabul, which increased a few months after the Taliban claimed the city. "In the group, we had a great degree of freedom about where to go, where to stay, and whether to participate in the war. However, these days, you have to go to the office before 8 AM and stay there till 4 PM. If you don't go, you're considered absent, and [the wage for] that day is cut from your salary. We're now used to that, but it was especially difficult in the first two or three months," he said. He claims that he was robbed of his freedom after the Taliban won.

While another man called Kamran elaborated on his partially satisfactory work life, "I'm sort of happy with my job but often miss the time of Jihad. During that time, every minute of our life was counted as worship. We used to live among the people. Many of us have now caged ourselves in our offices and palaces, abandoning that simple life. I'm very concerned about our mujahedin. The real test and challenge were not during the Jihad. Rather, it's now. At that time, it was simple, but now things are much more complicated. We are tested by cars, positions, wealth, and women. Many of our mujahedin, God forbid, have fallen into these seemingly sweet but actually bitter traps," said Kamran.

For the Taliban, who have dedicated their whole lives to fighting for several decades, it is not easy for them to give up and choose a different path.

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