The Taliban says it will rule under sharia law. What does that mean?

Taliban members speak with journalists in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Aug. 17. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The return of Taliban rule to Afghanistan will mean a return to sharia law, the group’s interpretation of Islamic religious law, a senior Taliban commander declared on Wednesday after the Islamist militant group swept the country, ousting the U.S.-backed government.

The takeover has sparked fear and speculation about the future of Afghanistan.

“There will be no democratic system at all,” Taliban commander Waheedullah Hashimi said in an interview with Reuters. “We will not discuss what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is sharia law and that is it.”

Here are some of the basics.

How life under Taliban rule in Afghanistan has changed — and how it hasn’t