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The hypocrisy of the Taliban’s mantra of inclusion has been exposed during the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha.

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The Afghan peace process entered a pivotal phase with the start of the long-awaited intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on September 12. Shortly after the talks commenced, however, the process was stalled due to disagreements over the procedural rules for the negotiations.

One of the two main points of divergence concerned the Taliban’s insistence on a particular Islamic jurisprudence – the Hanafi fiqh – as the sole religious basis for the negotiations. (The other issue revolved around whether or not the US-Taliban accord should form the overarching foundation, or the “mother deal,” underlying the intra-Afghan talks.)

While the Hanafi jurisprudence is practised by most Sunni Muslims in the country, the Taliban’s obdurate stance would de facto exclude millions of other Afghans who are Shia Muslims or members of other religious minorities.

By contrast, the Afghan government proposed to rely on the Hanafi jurisprudence by default while also respecting the religious liberty of Shia Muslims and other Afghans. The government’s position largely reflects the Afghan constitution which underscores the centrality of Islam – rather than a particular Islamic jurisprudence – in governance and virtually all aspects of Afghan life. The Taliban, of course, dismiss the current constitution as un-Islamic.

These preliminary disputes, while frustrating, help lay bare the contours of the Taliban’s real vision for........

© Al Jazeera

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