The transition from ‘jihad fighter’ to ‘bureaucratic cog’ is not going well for the Taliban. While it was a ‘victory’ in many senses of the word, the takeover brought additional responsibilities into the lives of fighters – from earning money to support their families to handing administrative issues that can affect millions. Against this backdrop, many have now resorted to ‘quiet quitting’ – doom-scrolling through social media or ruing the loss of their social lives – as they toil within Afghanistan’s ministries.
“A large number of Taliban fighters have moved to Afghanistan’s cities since the movement’s capture of power – many of them seeing life in the city for the first time in their lifetime. These fighters had lived modest lives, entirely focused on the war,” explains a report by the non-profit Afghanistan Analysts Network.
While some have acclimatised well to the office and city life, others find themselves yearning for the tranquility of village life and the ‘simplicity’ of the jihad-fighting life. Now, the men find themselves toiling under the bureaucracy of running a country, spending hours stuck in traffic and adhering to a slew of new rules and laws.
“They find ‘clocking in’ for office work tedious and almost unbearable, although some said they were now getting used to the routine,” the report states. Others complained about the ‘ever-increasing traffic holdups’ on their way to office and the fact that wages would be cut if someone skipped work for a day.
One of the individuals interviewed by researcher Sabawoon Samim also touched upon how their responsibilities had increased considerably since the Taliban takeover. As he put it, all they had to handle in the time of jihad was ‘making plans for attacks against the enemy and for retreating’.
“Whatever happens in Afghanistan, people blame us. Even a minor misdeed by us makes it to the media that the Taliban are doing this and that. It’s like the cameras of the entire world are watching us,” added Abdul Salam.