The Taliban jihadist group published a video this weekend showing the arrest of alleged alcohol traffickers and Taliban jihadists doing away with what reports estimated was about 3,000 liters (660 gallons) of alcohol, the Afghan news outlet Khaama Press reported Monday.
The video originated with the Taliban’s “General Directorate of Intelligence” (GDI), the Taliban regime’s official espionage arm. The Taliban has expanded its operations in the country to simulate the functioning of a legitimate government since seizing power on August 15, 2021, after President Joe Biden extended the 20-year Afghan War in April of that year. Biden’s extension of the war was a violation of an agreement President Donald Trump had made with the Taliban to leave the country by May 1, 2021, prompting the Taliban to launch a campaign to seize as much territory as possible that ended at the presidential palace in Kabul.
While no foreign government has formally recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, many – from rogue states like China and Russia to members of the European Union – have begun treating the Taliban as a real government, conducting talks and brokering trade deals. The Taliban has considered itself the only legitimate government of Afghanistan since the Afghan War began in late 2001, formally referring to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The Emirate’s GDI announced via Twitter on Saturday that its spies had successfully infiltrated and shut down an illicit alcohol syndicate. Alcohol is haram (forbidden) under Islamic law, or sharia, which the Taliban uses to rule the country.
“A special operational unit … arrested three liquor dealers in the Karte Char area of Kabul with about 3,000 liters of alcohol, according to a series of credible intelligence reports,” the GDI announced on Twitter. “The seized liquor was destroyed and the liquor sellers were handed over to the judiciary.”
Along with the message, the GDI posted a video of three men detained with their hands tied behind their backs and rags on their faces, presumably serving as both blindfolds and a way to hide their identity. The video then shows a group of masked Taliban terrorists dumping out six large blue containers into what appears to be a canal in Kabul. The video does not specify when either the arrests or the liquor dumping occurred, nor does it identify the spirit in question.
د ا.ا.ا د استخباراتو لوی ریاست ځانګړې عملیاتي قطعې د یو لړ مؤثقو کشفي معلومات پر اساس د کابل ښار کارته چهار سیمه کې درې تنه شراب پلورونکي له شاوخوا درې زره لېتره شرابو/الکولو سره یو ځای ونیول.
نیول شوي شراب له منځه یوړل شول او شراب پلورونکي عدلي او قضايي ارګانونو ته وسپارل شول. pic.twitter.com/qD7D5ZIsuL
— د استخباراتو لوی ریاست-GDI (@GDI1415) January 1, 2022
“Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has banned using alcohol and has been searching for stores where the intoxicants are being sold,” Khaama Press detailed on Monday. “It is worth mentioning that, selling and drinking alcohol was also banned during the previous Afghan government but people would drink and sell it covertly.”
“Muslims have to seriously abstain from making and delivering alcohol,” an imam in the video posted by the Taliban scolds the general public.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the government the Taliban overthrew, also governed under sharia. Unlike the Taliban, however, women and girls in urban areas such as Kabul had access to school and jobs. The new Taliban regime promised upon seizing power that women would be part of society, but immediately imposed a ban on women existing in public and has yet to lift restrictions on girls’ education or allow women to return to work.
On Monday, the Afghan newspaper Etilaat Roz reported that the Taliban’s “Ministry of Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice” had begun implementing a new “checkpoint” system to closely monitor the personal activities of every individual in the capital. Among the topics that members of the ministry would be randomly stopping Kabul residents to berate them about are “beards, music, women, and going to mosques during service hours.” Under the Taliban’s interpretation of sharia, beards are obligatory and music is forbidden, women have vastly diminished human rights, and regular attendance at a mosque is required. Among the checkpoint warnings for women specifically are that men should not drive unmarried women for more than 78 kilometers (48 miles).
Etilaat Roz reported that the Taliban Virtue Ministry was particularly targeting truck drivers, who reportedly listen to music often on their radios and miss mosque prayers to make sure deliveries make it on time.
The Ministry of Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice has been busy since the rise of the Taliban. In another bizarre move to disrupt daily life last week, in the province of Herat, the Afghan news outlet Tolo News reported that Taliban jihadists have begun threatening clothing stores to behead their mannequins, arguing that mannequins with heads are too similar to the icons allegedly prohibited by Islam.
“These are the statues- they are defined in the (holy) books and should not be in Islam,” regional Virtue official Aziz Rahman reportedly said. “These were being worshipped. They (the shopkeepers) said that they display the clothes on them. I ordered that they (the mannequins) should have their heads removed.”