By Karnabati Das Mahapatra
Afghanistan has always had a complicated and oftentimes, volatile political atmosphere. From frequent shifts in power to political assassinations, the country has had a bloody history.
In 1996 Mohammed Omar, the founder of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, was declared the ‘Commander of the Faithful’ at Kandahar. That is when his Taliban forces began capturing the northern parts of the country.
The Taliban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a Deobandi Islamist movement and military organization based in Afghanistan.
From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban held power over most of Afghanistan and they enforced a very strict interpretation of the Islamic Law. Surprisingly, Taliban emerged in 1994 as one of the most prominent movements in the Afghan civil war. It consisted of students who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools. After solidifying their hold over a larger portion of Afghanistan, the Afghan capital was transferred to Kandahar.
Many Afghan civilians faced brutal treatment by the Taliban, they massacred civilians and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
The Taliban banned activities and media and they prohibited musical instruments. Any attempt at self-expression was silenced. Protest movements against this blatant misuse of power only resulted in the death of millions. Women were prohibited from attending schools and they were banned from working jobs outside healthcare.
The law of wearing a burqa at all times in public was made compulsory. The ones who broke the rules were publicly tortured and executed.
The Taliban’s ideology was a combination of the Islamic Law and militant Islamism. Their dictatorial rule continued until it was overthrown after the American led invasion of Afghanistan in December, 2001, following the 9/11 attacks.
For twenty years Afghanistan was protected by the US military forces, making it difficult for the Taliban to regain power over Afghanistan. Five months ago, on April 14, 2021, US President Joe Biden announced that US military forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the 11th of September, 2021.
Taking the advantage of the US forces’ withdrawal, the Taliban declared war in Afghanistan after the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani fled the country and they captured Kabul .
According to the US Officials, the Taliban offensive happened more quickly than they had anticipated. When asked about the crisis, Biden said that it was never the intention of the federal government to provide nation building support.
Defending his statement, he said that it is the responsibility of the Afghan people and the government to secure their nation and ensure correct democratic measures. As the Taliban is regaining power in the country, the prospects of US aid being sent to Afghanistan is unlikely.
The widespread conflict has forced 80 percent of nearly 250,000 Afghani women and children to flee. Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes in the fear of the Taliban and their brutal, repressive government. The increasing violence and atrocities committed by the Taliban is pushing the possibility of peace further away.
Rights of women and girls, including access to education, markets and basic health services are diminishing at an alarming rate. As the Taliban gains more control, access to information and freedom of expression can be majorly curbed.
With the Taliban back in charge of the country, it is also quite possible that Al-Qaeda will re-establish itself in Afghanistan. The terrorist group could possibly flourish with the cash looted from Afghanistan’s Central Bank, with weapons seized from the defeated Afghan army and with their former members freed from the prison.
With no military or diplomatic presence of the US government in Afghanistan, it will be very difficult to monitor the activities of al-Qaeda. As for the Afghan civilians, everyday life will change for the worse with increasing restrictions on individuals.
Women, children and the minorities will face unprecedented discrimination and oppression. This is a humanitarian crisis, a question of life and death for many. The lucky ones will flee, take shelter elsewhere, the ones left behind will pay with their blood and their future. History will repeat itself yet again, the reign of terror we thought we had left behind two decades ago is back.