top of page

Taliban’s religious authority challenged over delay of Eid celebrations

The Taliban's decision to delay Eid-ul-Adha in 2024 sparked widespread defiance and criticism from Afghan communities and leaders.


3 Jul 2024

On 7 June 2024, the Taliban’s Supreme Court announced that Monday 17 June would be the first day of Eid-ul-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice), based on the findings of the Taliban’s Crescent Sighting Committee. However, according to the Islamic calendar, the first day of Eid-ul-Adha in 2024 should be Sunday, 16 June, which is preceded by Arafah, the Day of Standing, on 15 June. 

Despite this, on 14 June, Taliban Spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid posted on X (formerly Twitter), reiterating that Arafa would be held on 16 June, with the first day of Eid falling on 17 June, emphasising that this was a Sharia ruling. 

Despite the delay in the Eid celebration by the Taliban, people in some parts of the country reportedly performed Eid prayers and celebrated the occasion on 16 June. 8am Media reported that a number of residents in Panjshir, Kandahar, and Helmand provinces celebrated Eid a day ahead of the Taliban’s announced date for the occasion. 

According to the outlet, residents in Panjshir’s Sangin Village of the Anaba district conducted Eid prayers and slaughtered livestock, leading the Taliban to launch an intelligence inquiry in the area. Meanwhile, claims circulated on X that the Taliban detained a local mullah in the Panjshir’s Faraj area for conducting Eid prayers on 16 June. 


The Taliban’s delay of the Eid celebrations drew contempt from opposition groups and prominent opposition figures online. On 15 June 2024, Former Director of the National Directorate of Security Rahmatullah Nabil posted Eid wishes wishes on X, and criticised the Taliban’s Supreme Court, saying: “When a corrupt, narrow-minded and vicarious group hijacks a geography, a culture and a rich history, what more can be expected from such a group.”

Then, on 16 June 2024, media outlets affiliated with Hezb-e Islami posted a video on X claiming that people performed Eid prayers at the Hezb-e Islami Congregation Mosque that day, in spite of the Taliban’s announcement. Shahadat Media, with over 79K followers, claimed “hundreds” of people attended the prayers, while Daily Shahadat, with over 18K followers, claimed the numbers of worshippers were in the “thousands.” Neither account specified the location of the mosque where prayers were conducted. 

AW investigators analysed the video, shared by the Hezb-e Islami affiliated media, and determined that the mosque is called مسجد جامع امام محمد بن حسن شیبانی (the Imam Mohammad Ibn-e-Hassan Shibani Congregation Mosque). This mosque is located in the Shamshato Refugee Camp in Peshawar, Pakistan (seen in AW’s geolocation below). AW note that this camp is known to have been a Hezb-e Islami base since the 1980s.

Figure: Image shows a group of men in front of a mosque with a signpost that reads “Imam Mohammad Ibn-e-Hassan Shibani Congregation Mosque.”

Figure: Geolocation of the Imam Mohammad Ibn-e-Hassan Shibani Congregation Mosque [33.882425, 71.710295], located in Shamshato Refugee Camp, Peshawar, Pakistan.

Daily Shadat also published an Eid message from Hezb-e Islami leader Gulbudin Hekmatyar on 16 June 2024, questioning the Taliban’s delay in Eid celebrations. He said: “Unfortunately, our situation today is such that two million pilgrims have gathered in Arafah, and they are practically testifying that today is Arafah and tomorrow is Eid. But others do not consider this great testimony and testimony to be sufficient in a situation where the Messenger of God, may God's prayers and peace be upon him, considers the testimony of two Muslim and righteous witnesses to be valid.”

The National Resistance Front (NRF) did not share an Eid message on social media. However, on 15 June 2024, NRF leader Ahmad Massoud posted an Eid message along with a photo of two NRF commanders, saying: “The day is not far when, in the shadow of the struggles of these brave freedom fighters, we will witness the realisation of the humane, legitimate and just demands of the people of Afghanistan.” AW investigators confirmed that the photo had not previously been posted online. AW also determined that the same photo subsequently circulated on X, alongside a video claiming that the two commanders, Khalid Amiri and Hasib Qowai Markaz, were in the Hindu Kush mountains to lead the fight against the Taliban.

Between 16 and 19 June 2024, the NRF did not post regular updates on anti-Taliban attacks on X, indicating that the group may have halted its attacks during the three days of Eid. The break could have also been due to enhanced Taliban security measures during Eid. 

Like the NRF, the Afghanistan Freedom Front did not post any updates on anti-Taliban attacks during Eid. The group did, however, share an Eid message on X on 16 June 2024, reiterating its commitment to fight against the Taliban, and criticising an Eid message shared by the Taliban’s Supreme Leader on 14 June, published by Taliban-affiliated media outlet, Alemraha. 

Pro-resistance accounts that share content related to both AFF and NRF, circulated footage showing a group of men with a Northern Alliance flag walking in a rocky area, alleged to be the foothills of the Hindu Kush. The narrator in the video claims it was the first day of Eid-ul-Adha, and that they were heading towards a “specific location” to perform Eid prayers. AW investigators were unable to geolocate the video; however, AW confirmed that the footage had not previously been shared online.

Similar to other resistance groups, Hizb ut-Tahrir, the pan-Islamist fundamentalist organisation, posted a press release on 15 June 2024. This statement included Eid wishes alongside criticism of the Taliban’s delay of the first day of Eid, which it referred to as a “great Fitna” or sedition. The group added that the delay was “perceived as indifference, sowing discord among Islamic Ummah.”



The Taliban’s delay of Eid-ul-Adha was met with criticism and contempt from opposition groups in Afghanistan, with many opposition leaders publishing Eid messages ahead of 17 June 2024, and some groups challenging the Taliban’s authority by celebrating ahead of the Taliban’s schedule. In Panjshir province, early celebrations reportedly led to a Taliban inquiry and the detainment of a local mullah. These developments suggest that the Taliban face resistance not only on political and military fronts, but also in their authority on religious affairs and rulings.

bottom of page