Comparison with Pashtunwali

  • Yoshinobu Nagamine


A passage of the Layeha says: “The Mujahids have the duty to behave well with people in accordance with Islamic ethic and moral values.”.1 In the Layeha, the religious allusion is more than obvious, and accordingly, various observers were quick to compare the Layeha with Islamic law.2 Another possibility of normative reference is Pashtunwali, literally “the way of the Pashtuns” or the Pashtun’s moral conduct, which glorifies bravery, pride, and manhood.3 This feature is, for example, reflected in the following passage: “You should stand before the enemy as steel; events and propaganda should not shake your persistence.”4 This chapter and the following one thus hypothesize that the Layeha makes use of Islamic law and Pashtunwali in order to gear the Taliban toward behavior in line with the expectation of the external audience. Apart from Pashtunwali and Islamic law, there might well be other norms, such as pre-Islamic natural religion or Sufism, but the former two seem to show the highest degree of regulation and are the most relevant norms applicable to the armed conflict in Afghanistan today.


Armed Conflict Restorative Justice Common People External Audience Personal Justice 


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  1. 10.
    David B. Edwards, Before Taliban—Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2002, p.294; Sinno, “Explaining the Taliban’s Ability to Mobilize the Pashtuns,” p.76.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    Thomas Barfield, “Afghan Customary Law and Its Relationship to Formal Judicial Institutions,” Washington, DC: United States Institute for Peace, June 26, 2003.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    Palwasha Kakar, “Tribal Law of Pashtunwali and Women’s Legislative Authority,” Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, 2004, p.3.Google Scholar

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© Yoshinobu Nagamine 2015

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  • Yoshinobu Nagamine

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