The Islamic Emirate of Helmand (Pashto: د هلمند اسلامي امارات, Da Helmand Islami Amarat), was founded in 2003 when the Taliban lost control of South Afghanistan and was forced to focus its power on holding their strongest province, Helmand. The Taliban currently holds control over much of Helmand, although Afghan forces have begun to regain control some small pockets on the border. The Islamic Emirate does not enjoy recognition from any sovereign state, and it is still claimed as part of Afghanistan by the central government of the country.
Fall from Grace
Kabul, they center of government control for the Taliban, fell to a coalition of Iranian and Arab armies in February of 1999. The Taliban army, scattered, began to fall victim to Northern Alliance attacks. With the coalition armies being expierenced in mountainous warfare, the Taliban was pushed down to their stronghold area, South Afghanistan. Once Kabul had been liberated, the Arab and Iranian forces began to do sweeps without concern, conducting bombing raids on areas suspected of holding Taliban soldiers. The Taliban in Southern Afghanistan became more and more fractured as these sweeps went on.
South Afghanistan Campaign
After the Afghan presidential election of 2000, where the incumbent president Burhanuddin Rabbani was reelected, the coalition forces began to leave Afghanistan, with all troops exiting by March of 2001. During this pullout, the Afghan Army, significantly less advanced than the Arab and Iranian armies that occupied the country before it, was unable to control the influx of successful Taliban advances into Afghan territory.
Helmand StrongholdAfter the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan to "finish off" the Taliban located in south Afghanistan. Coalition forces lead by the American military invaded the country later that year and decimated Taliban forces.
The leaders of the Taliban agreed to focus their power on protecting the province of Helmand, the province in which they had the most influence and the most soldiers at the time. By going on the defensive against forces inexpierenced with heavily mountainous terrain, the Taliban secured Helmand Province by the beginning of 2002.
Establishment of the Second Islamic Emirate
On October 26, 2003, the first day of Ramadan, Mullah Muhammad Omar, the previous dictator of Afghanistan when the Taliban held control over the country, declared the province of Helmand independent from Afghanistan. Mullah Omar declared that Helmand would be the successor state to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. It was deemed that it would be a temporary administration before the Taliban could reclaim Afghanistan once again. As it was a succesor state and in essence, a continuation of the regime, Mullah Omar declared himself dictator once again as the Amir Al-Mu'minin of Helmand. The Jirga was re-established, but the position of Prime Minister was not re-introduced.
Afghan Reclamation Campaign
As the American intervention gradually began to phase out during the Kerry administration, the Afghan Army stepped up to the plate to focus on attacking and reclaiming Helmand Province. To this day, Helmand Province has been top priority for the Afghan military, but almost no progress has been made. Members of Quetta Shura have made advances into Nimruz and Kandahar provinces in the absense of foreign intervention, though they have not gained control of the province whole, and no state has been declared by the group.
Helmand is an Islamic totalitarian dictatorship.
The country is ruled by the Amir Al-Mu'minin, the "Prince of the Believers, or the modern version of the Caliph. Muhammad Omar, the 1st and to date only Amir Al-Mu'minin of Helmand, was previously the Amir Al-Mu'minin of Afghanistan. The Amir Al-Mu'minin rules by decree, and can act entirely independent of the legislature known as the Jirga.
The Jirga acts as a de facto ceremonial legislative body. The Jirga is made up of Pashtun Islamic elders belonging to no political party, but rather to the Islamic extremist movement. The Jirga can pass legislation, but it has never done such. In its history, the Helmand Jirga has only passed statements relating to world events, and advised the Amir Al-Mu'minin on his decrees.
Helmand adheres to a strict interpetation of fundamentalist Sunni Islam. All law is based on Sharia Law. Women are barred from showing their face or any part of their body in public. Use of Alcohol, Pork, or Drugs is punishable by execution, oftentimes publicly. Pornography is also banned, and is punishable by life in prison.
During the Taliban's control of Afghanistan, the army had a wide array of Soviet-era tanks and APCs. However, being limited to Helmand, their military was forced to use equipment from captured military bases and equipment that has been rebased. The Helmand Army currently possesses 12 T-62 tanks and 6 APCs.
The soldiers of Helmand use a wide array of weaponry from all countries, among them M4s, AK-47s, and Type 95s.
The Air Force of Helmand is severely limited. The Air Force contains 1 Antonov An-26, 2 MiG-21s, and 2 Mil Mi-8s.
All forms of television are banned in Helmand, and the Amir Al-Mu'minin has considered many times to ban music. The only form of media in the country is the daily state newspaper called "The Document".
There are a number of road systems within Helmand, though many are not paved.
There is a large boating community that use the rivers within the country, and function with almost no government intervention.
There is an airport in the capital, but currently serves no destinations. Airport officials are currently in negotations to introduce flights to and from Quetta, Pakistan. However, these talks are stalled due to the Pakistani government not recognizing the Taliban administration.
The economy is entirely controlled by the government. Private enterprise within Helmand is non-existent.
Helmand imports automobiles from Pakistan and Afghanistan, even though neither country recognizes the regime.
Helmand exports a large amount of grain legally. Illegal imports are more widespread. Among them are opium (the thirrd largest exporter), and Heroin, with many other smaller drugs.
Although education is legal in Helmand, the government is in an active campaign to suppress the school system. There is no public school system because of this, and private schools are often underground to protect their students. There is a very low literacy rate, and very few Helmand citizens can get an education.
No sovereign state, widely recognized or not, recognizes the Islamic Emirate of Helmand. All the states of the world have at some point released a statement recognizing Afghanistan's territorial integrity and an opposition to any terrorist regime. However, Helmand does sometimes engage in business with Pakistani and Afghan industry, despite a ban.