• Avani Sood

What is happening in Afghanistan?

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AFGHANISTAN?

Afghanistan has never looked more dreadful. The Taliban have once again conquered Afghanistan succeeding the 20 years of war. After the US withdrawal and collapse of the Afghanistan government following the disappearance of Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan's president, the militant group re-established itself at an alarmingly fast pace. They captured Kabul, the country’s capital, and 17 other provincial states including Kandahar and Herat on 15th August 2021.


THE ORIGINS OF TALIBAN AND AFGHANISTAN'S

HISTORY:

Taliban means “student” in the Pashto language. It is an Islamic militant group founded by Mullah Mohammad Omar, an extremist, in the civil war after the retreat of Soviet troops in 1989. They were initially greeted by the Afghans as they successfully eradicated corruption and provided better infrastructure for local trade growth. They then ruled Afghanistan from 1995 to 2001 and deprived women and children of all basic human rights under the claims of harsh “Islamic rules.” By 1998, the Taliban were in control of 90% of Afghanistan. They were then dethroned by the US in 2001, after their involvement in the 9/11 attacks in which nearly 3000 people were killed. US officials ascertained Osama Bin Laden and his militant group, Al-Qaeda responsible for the attacks, who was residing in Afghanistan and protected by the Taliban. The Taliban didn’t cooperate and the US invaded the Taliban and removed it from power, also promising modern democracy in Afghanistan to discard the terrorist threat. After several deals between the Taliban and the US with the Afghanistan government uninvolved, the Taliban directed their attacks towards the Afghans.




SITUATION AFTER THE RISE OF TALIBAN:

After Ashraf Ghani fled, thousands of residents desperate to flee and leave the country due to the fear of the Taliban thronged the Hamid Karzai International Airport which was guarded by the Taliban.

Devastating videos and images of the airport filled with desperate, hopeless residents trying to fly away from their homes have been circulating on the internet.


https://twitter.com/KazmiWajahat/status/1427593900571648004?s=20


https://twitter.com/RespectIsVital/status/1428076159481360389?s=20

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1427280264133230598?s=20


Some of them clinged to the plane by the wheels. At Least 12 people were killed either in a stampede or by American soldiers in order to control the situation or falling from the airplane.

Most people were hiding in their homes while armed Taliban men looted them.

The American embassy and the Indian Embassy were evacuated. There are no women on the streets.


The US forces are carrying out evacuation operations at the Kabul airport.

The spokesperson of Taliban Suhail Shaheen addressed international safety and no terrorist threat in a press conference but the Afghans express a sense of distrust.



WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT? (Consequences)

The future of Afghanistan under Taliban rule remains uncertain. There is a major fear that Afghanistan will re-emerge as a host nation for terrorism. Taliban claims to only implement the “Islamic government” and not pose a terrorist threat, but analysts say violence and the Taliban are inseparable. The Afghans are also concerned about the collapse of the security as it could harbor Al-Qaeda once again. According to the Taliban commanders, women of the country will give rights according to the Sharia law, which is a Muslim personal law that can be molded according to different regions and communities, provided it doesn't go against the Qur'an.


WOMAN AND CHILDREN:

Women’s freedom to work, to dress the way they want, to receive education and have access to good healthcare services, or to even leave their homes will be all taken away from them.

Domestic violence on women and children has increased by 87% since the Taliban rise.


“As a woman, I feel like I am the victim of this political war that men started", said a woman as she fought for her life desperately wanting someone to rescue her and her classmates.

They couldn’t use public transport as the Taliban men would forcefully marry them, rape them or kill them for not wearing burqas or niqabs.

"All I could see around me were the fearful and scared faces of women and ugly faces of men who hate women, who do not like women to get educated, work, and have freedom. Most devastating to me were the ones who looked happy and made fun of women. Instead of standing by our side, they stand with the Taliban and give them even more power.

Afghan women sacrificed a lot for the little freedom they had. As an orphan, I weaved carpets just to get an education. I faced a lot of financial challenges, but I had a lot of plans for my future. I did not expect everything to end up like this.

One had lost their son in the war and didn’t have any money to pay the taxi fare to Kabul, so they gave their daughter-in-law away in exchange for transportation. How can the value of a woman be equal to the cost of a journey?

Then today, when I heard that the Taliban had reached Kabul, I felt I was going to be a slave. They can play with my life any way they want.

I also worked as a teacher at an English-language education center. I h my sisters and I did was hide our IDs, diplomas and certificates." (source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/15/an-afghan-woman-in-kabul-now-i-have-to-burn-everything-i-achieved )


COVERAGE

It is important for us to try and get the information about this situation as unfiltered as possible. Al-Jazeera and Reuters have been closely covering and giving out vital information live from Afghanistan. Charlotte Bellis is among the 3 approved women journalists reporting live from the Taliban-held press conference in Afghanistan. She is giving out vital information and is also updating her socials with the same. Clarissa Ward, a journalist working with CNN is also reporting from Afghanistan.

It is also important for us to note how dire the situation is in Afghanistan right now, especially for women and little children whose lives have flashed before their eyes. The girls of Afghanistan will go to school every day not knowing if they’ll make it back home safely. Not knowing whether they’ll be caught and married to a Talibani soldier or murdered on the spot for not covering their faces. The bigger picture still lies in the fact that we, as developed or developing countries, are helpless and are not able to provide proper long-term assistance to the people stuck there. Right to education is also on the line which makes us think about our own privileges.


Charlotte Bellis socials:


https://instagram.com/charlottebellis?utm_medium=copy_link


https://twitter.com/CharlotteBellis?s=09


Clarissa Ward socials:


https://twitter.com/clarissaward?s=09


https://instagram.com/clarissawardcnn?utm_medium=copy_link



WHERE CAN YOU DONATE?

https://twitter.com/aishatweetsalot/status/1426637367411159049?s=20

https://www.islamicreliefcanada.org/emergencies/afghanistan-emergency/

https://secure2.convio.net/lirs/site/Donation2?df_id=4079&4079.donation=form1&mfc_pref=T/ (LIRS connect donation for Afghan friends)

https://support.womenforwomen.org/donate/afghanistan-emergency-2x-match?src=HHUA21082A (Women for Women International)

https://refugeerights.org/donate (International Refugee Assistance Project)

https://www.mediasupport.org/donate/#main-menu-toggle (Support Afghan Journalists)

https://web.charityengine.net/Default.aspx?tsid=17640 (No One Left Behind)

https://help.rescue.org/donate/afghanistan?ms=ws_resq_top_nav_btn_191203_t248&initialms=ws_resq_top_nav_btn_191203_t248 (International Rescue Committee)

https://muslimhands.org.uk/appeals/focus-afghanistan (Muslim Hands)

AFGHANISTAN SUPPORT RESOURCES


HOW TO HELP IF YOU ARE NEAR A REFUGEE SITE

(https://lirsconnect.org/get_involved/action_center/siv) is asking for volunteers to help refugees upon arrival with airport pickups, meal assistance, mentorship, tutoring, and more. You can participate if you're in one of the areas where refugees are arriving, and there's a standby list.

Sources: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49192495

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11451718


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/15/an-afghan-woman-in-kabul-now-i-have-to-burn-everything-i-achieved







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