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Taliban: The Taliban face a shift from war to policing the streets

KABUL: One fighter after another, the Taliban are exchanging their trademark long, flowing garb for stiff military uniforms.
It is a symbol of the moment of transition in which they find themselves: once warriors embedded in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, they are now an urban police force.
But change is always an adjustment.
In the Afghan capital of Kabul, crime was rampant during the previous Ashraf Ghani government. Thefts and kidnappings were an almost daily occurrence and the judicial process was time consuming and expensive.
By winning the country after two decades of war with the capture of Kabul on August 15, the Taliban also inherited a city marked by anarchy.
They immediately got down to work, making their presence known on daily street patrols. Some have removed the typical AK-47 rifles, for the US-made M16s left by the Afghan forces.
They stop street fights, summon suspected criminals to police stations and persecute those who do not listen to their call.
In Kabul Police District 8, there is a long queue leading to two rooms. In one, there are criminal cases. In another, civil disputes. Victims of stabbings, robberies and other misdeeds sit in the same room as the alleged perpetrators, staring into the distance until it is their turn to defend their case.
For minor offenses, the Taliban police offer defendants three days to report to the station. After that, they go after them.
The court system is a work in progress, officials said. Meetings are still taking place between Taliban officials, accustomed to the tribal justice that prevails in rural Afghanistan, to settle the process in a sprawling city with an active judiciary.
Even those who fear them in the besieged city welcome the peace their arrival has brought.
The Taliban have empowered local elders to make judgments based on Sharia, or Islamic law, in minor criminal cases. In the residential area of ​​Kabul’s Sheikh Zayed city, a committee of elders ordered the father of a man accused of stabbing a neighbor to pay 35,000 Afghans, about $ 400.
The father quickly counts the bills and hands them to the imam, who offers them to the victim’s family. They hug. Justice served.
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