Taliban gunmen seized possession of the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, August 15, 2021, after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan just two weeks before the United States was supposed to end its two-decade war in the country.
As Afghan security personnel trained and equipped by the US and its allies faded away, the insurgents rushed over the nation, taking all major cities in a couple of days.
Here’s a rundown of what happened and what’s to come:
Talking About History
Along with the officially recognized Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, it is one of two entities claiming to be Afghanistan’s legitimate government.
The Taliban ruled over nearly three-quarters of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, imposing a harsh interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law.
The Taliban rose to prominence in the Afghan Civil War in 1994, mostly students (Talib) from Pashtun districts of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools and fought during the Soviet-Afghan War.
In 1996, the Taliban formed the dictatorial Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and the Afghan capital was relocated to Kandahar.
It ruled most of the country until it was deposed in December 2001, following the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the 09/11 attacks.
Parts of the northeast were held by the Northern Alliance under the group’s previous leadership, which essentially retained international legitimacy as a continuation of the interim Islamic State of Afghanistan.
Only three countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban’s authority at its height: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
What’s Going On In Afghanistan?
Afghanistan has been reclaimed by the Taliban, a violent group that dominated the country in the late 1990s. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 drove the rebels out of power, but they never left.
After a recent assault across the country, the Western-backed administration that had dominated the country for 20 years fell.
Fearful of the future, Afghans hurried to the airport, one of the few remaining exit routes out of the nation.
The war in Afghanistan has been the US longest conflict and the nation has tried to withdraw its forces from the nation for several years.
When American troops invaded to root out al-Qaeda, which coordinated the 09/11 attacks while being harboured by the Taliban, they did it in a couple of months.
Holding land and rebuilding a nation devastated by wars proved more challenging!
As the United States’ focus went to Iraq, the Taliban regrouped and, in recent years, took control of much of Afghanistan’s countryside.
Last year, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw and signed an agreement with the Taliban that limited US military operations against them.
Therefore now the final troops are set to leave by the end of August, according to President Joe Biden.
Why Are People Running Away From The Country?
They are worried that the country will collapse into chaos, or that the Taliban will retaliate against those who helped the Americans or the government.
Many people are also concerned that the Taliban would reintroduce the strict interpretation of Islamic law that they used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Women were not allowed to go to school or work outside the home at the time. When they went outside, they had to wear the all-encompassing burqa and be accompanied by a male relative.
Music was forbidden by the Taliban, who also cut thieves’ hands and stoned adulterers.
While it can be said that living in a liberal world might have changed the Taliban’s outlook towards the strict laws of Islamic Sharia, their past actions do instigate a lot of fear among the common people.
What Happened At The Kabul Airport?
Thousands of Afghans flocked to the city, trying to flee the country’s Taliban authority.
Some people were so desperate that they clung to the side of a military plane as it took off, only to die when they couldn’t hold on!
To disperse the masses, US troops utilized helicopters and sprayed warning rounds into the air.
According to US sources, at least seven people were killed in the pandemonium.
What Caused The Afghan Security Forces To Fall Back?
Wanna know the simple answer to this?
Over the last two decades, the United States and its NATO allies have spent billions of dollars training and equipping Afghan security personnel.
On the other hand, the Western-backed leadership was rife with corruption!
Commanders overstate the number of soldiers to siphon off resources, and troops in the field regularly lacked ammunition, supplies, and even food.
When it became evident that the United States was leaving, their morale plummeted even more.
What Happened To Afghanistan’s President?
He took off.
As the Taliban surged throughout the country, President Ashraf Ghani dug down and made few public pronouncements.
He left Afghanistan on Sunday as they reached the city, stating he left to escape more violence. He hasn’t been seen in a long time, and his whereabouts are unknown.
American President’s Words
Biden described the situation in Afghanistan as “gut-wrenching,” but he denied any responsibility for the situation.
While he acknowledged that the Afghan government fell considerably more quickly than he had anticipated, he said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw US troops.
He argued that the US forces weren’t staying and fighting in Afghanistan to build the country.
On the contrary, their motive was to make sure that they wouldn’t be attacking the US anytime in the future, which was deemed a success!
What Does The Future Call For Afghanistan?
Looking at the situation, saying anything about the nation would be wrong.
In simple terms, it’s completely unclear.
The Taliban have stated their desire to build an “inclusive, Islamic administration” with other groups.
They are negotiating with top politicians, including former government officials.
Many Afghans, however, are wary of the Taliban, fearing that their reign will be brutal and authoritarian.
Afghans are also anxious about the security situation, which has deteriorated since hundreds of detainees were released and security units disbanded in the face of Taliban advances.
What Impact Will The Taliban Takeover Have On Women?
The section that has been the most affected by the Taliban’s takeover is women. Reports have arrived that the Taliban has been forcefully taking Afghan women to marry.
Women’s entry to most schools and universities has been prohibited and strict rules of Islamic sharia have been applied.
The Taliban has also imposed a mandatory policy of making all women wear burqa and a death penalty on refusal to wear it!
Hence, many people are concerned that the takeover will result in a significant reduction in women’s civil liberties.
Since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001, Afghan women have achieved significant progress, and therefore the civilians are worried that the women would again be confined to their homes by the takeover.
The above already explains that the Taliban has shown strict resolve about women’s rights.
Although they have stated that women’s rights will be upheld under Islamic law, they have not provided any additional information.
But well actions speak louder than words!
The Question Of Greatest Concern
ARE THE TALIBAN GOING TO HARBOR AL-QAIDA AGAIN?
The Taliban have promised not to use Afghanistan as a base for attacks on other countries, which is a crucial US requirement enshrined in the 2020 peace plan.
Military leaders in the United States, on the other hand, are concerned.
An extremist group like al-Qaida may be able to regenerate in Afghanistan, according to top Pentagon officials earlier this year, and authorities are now warning that such groups may grow far quicker than projected.
On the other side, technology advancements in the previous 20 years have enabled the US to target suspected extremists in countries where it does not have a permanent force presence, such as Yemen and Somalia.
The Taliban paid a high price for their role in the 09/11 attacks, and they are likely hoping to avoid repeating the mistake as they move to consolidate their power.
In addition to this, in recent years, an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan has carried out a wave of brutal atrocities on the country’s Shiite minority.
The Taliban have condemned such attacks, and the two organizations have fought over territory in the past, but it is unclear if a Taliban government would be willing or capable of suppressing it.
It’s also unclear whether the Taliban will itself conduct terrorist attacks as it did with 09/11.
Where one might think about getting assured by the Taliban’s promises to the world, their actions till now do not give major assurance.
Voice can also be raised on the fact that the Taliban might not attack the US but what about other countries?
The group is already onto integrating Afghanistan’s air force into itself! The incidents like the Peshawar attacks are still fresh in many people’s minds.
And Pakistan sheltered the Taliban during the time they were fleeing from the US forces, is there a chance that the Taliban might send ammunition to Pakistan to use against India?
The tumultuous situation in Afghanistan has altered rapidly in the blink of an eye. Many people blame the United States, and many people are frustrated by the international community’s lack of support.
But the most troublesome aspect of this entire invasion is the condition of women and children in a country like Afghanistan in the twenty-first century. In the strictest sense, the women and children have no future there.
It’s like diving back into the hole from which you were saved. Whatever the present entails, the future remains in shadows!