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The whole world is taken aback after hearing the news of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan and the United States giving up that country so easily which they once promised to “Democratise,” make “Self Sufficient” and a role model for other countries which are in a constant state of war. While the entire world seems awestruck, the Taliban believes that Afghanistan has now gained independence in the real sense after the US exits. This article deals with the status quo of Afghanistan, how much relevance do international organizations carry, the fate of Afghani women, and how silence can wreck the entire world.
Keywords: Taliban, Afghanistan, Women, Government.
Afghanistan (previously known as Kabulistan) has always been in a continuous civil war from 1978 to date. The country is backlogged due to wars, terrorism, and economic outbreaks. Afghanistan has always bounced back and faced the wrath of nature, and artificial crises – Russia’s invasion under the garb of the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty (1979), Pakistan’s continuous support to the Taliban, as well as two decades of the US invasion, resulting in a stronger Talibani resurgence. But in the present scenario, the revival seems implausible.
The roots of the Taliban emerged in the year 1994 around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, wherein a group of students and the other core members of the group were students who belonged to a madrasa (Islamic School) and commanders in Pashtun parties. From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban governed over roughly three-quarters of Afghanistan with a dogma of implementing an austere elucidation of Islamic law.
In the present state of affairs, an agreement dated February 29, 2020, reportedly signed between the United States and Taliban, was established to withdraw all American troops by May 1; however, it was later rescheduled to September 11, 2021, by America’s current president Joe Bidden. Nonetheless, the agreement marks a milestone at the end of America’s longest war.
TRANQUILLITY OF THE INTERNATIONAL ALLIES
Although during these challenging times, countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Tajikistan, Canada, Germany, and Iran have provided shelter to the homeless Afghans, other significant countries consisting of Russia, Turkey, France, and Austria have shown less interest regarding the same. Accordingly, Tajikistan will provide shelter to 10,00,00 Afghans, Canada and the United Kingdom will accept around 20,000 Afghans each, whereas Germany and Australia have vacant slots for 10,000 and 3000 Afghans, respectively. India is keen on airlifting Hindus and Sikhs, while the United States is ready to assist those Afghani nationals who previously worked with the US government. On the other hand, Iran has set up emergency tents for refugees in three provinces that border Afghanistan. [i]Even after relief poured from almost all directions, there is a long way to go to help Afghanistan stand up once more on its feet.
It is high time to reconsider the long speeches recited by the US on sensitive issues including ‘Equality,’ ‘Democracy,’ ‘Women Empowerment, and ‘Fight against oppression,’ as the US quietly evaporated from the country which they aimed to rebuild into a democratic country. In reality, the Panjshir Bravehearts, under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, are continuously fighting the Taliban even when they have limited resources, be it manpower or war equipment, compared to the US, which buried the hatchet alongside the Taliban by providing it reins of Afghanistan.
The European Union (EU) has even left the US behind by providing Pakistan with financial support to tackle the refugee crisis. The fact that the EU knows where all the funding is going is well-known by them too, but the false belief that this support will result in no refugees and Islamist terrorists seems too vague to chew upon. Top officials of civilized countries such as General Nick Carter of the United Kingdom (Chief of Defence Staff) designated the Taliban as “Country Boys, who live by a code of Honour.” These ignoramus stances of such countries reflect the state of an Ostrich burying its head in the sand.
The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is quite alarming. It has even baffled International Organisations such as International Rescue Committee, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children’s Fund, and United Nations Refugee Agency to assist the citizens under the control of the Taliban. As hard as it seems for such International Institutions, they are still continuously juggling finding ways to deliver aid to Afghans in this crisis juncture. Not to mention, the promises made by the Taliban to safeguard women and protect human rights are mutilated as they have laid conditions on women to stay at home, and restricting teenage girls from school is in direct contradiction with the assurance made by the Taliban.
In the recent session of the Human Rights Council attended by the United States High Commissioner; Michelle Bachelet and Afghanistan Ambassador; Nasir Ahmad Andisha on September 13, 2021, in Geneva, quite a lot of incidents were reported by them on the situation of Afghanistan where Taliban has been found to not to stay on their word despite making a plethora of promises.[ii] To say, reprisal killings of Afghan military members have been reported, and also the dominance of the ethnic Pashtun is being witnessed. All in all, an appeal is made to the Human Rights Council to take valiant and healthy actions and also to monitor the Taliban’s actions seeing the gravity of the persisting crisis.
STATUS OF WOMEN UNDER THE TALIBAN REGIME
As already indicated above, uncertain times are ahead for Afghan women under the Taliban’s new rules regime. Although the Taliban have stated that they will not put a stop to education or jobs for women, the present circumstances are offbeat. When the country’s eminent professional women like Aryana Sayeed and Sahara Karimi fled Afghanistan because of the fear of the Taliban as they came back in power, it’s quite evident what would be the locale of females present in Afghanistan.
Huge progressions have been made since 2001 in upgrading Afghanistan’s education and literacy rates, especially for women and girls. According to a recent report shared by the United Nations education branch (UNESCO), literacy rates have almost doubled to 30%, and there has been a significant rise in the number of girls in primary schools. However, the new policies introduced by the Taliban for female students concerning segregation of boys and girls at primary and secondary schools, banning male teachers except those of good character bearing old age can teach female university students only if female staff is scarce and directing orders wherein women will have to sum up their classes five minutes before men are in itself self-explanatory of the Taliban stereos.
The new policies are limited to education, but the participation of women in the government is also in question. The recent incident in which the Taliban replaced the Women’s Affairs Ministry with a new department named the Ministry of Vice and Virtue is a leading example of how women are being abolished under the formation of their new government. Therefore, it is not shocking to notice why the dominance of the Taliban has led to the escape of prominent women personalities, including artists and journalists.
THE UNANTICIPATED FUTURE UNDER THE REGIME OF THE TALIBAN
For the past three millenniums, numerous militias scuffled through the mountains and unconquerable natural structures, but to no avail. With time and advancement in technology, Afghanistan was made accessible, thereby connecting it to the outer world. The Afghans counted on the United States in hopes of a bright future, only to get plundered and finessed. The United States, the country that assists other nations without being asked, civilized other nations, spent $2.26 trillion ($ 290 million every day!) without anyone detecting how much the US made from plundering Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
Though it is known that the Taliban is supported by nations including Saudi Arabia and some Gulf Countries, one of the closest friends being China, which revived the Afghani economy between 1996 to 2001 (during the Taliban rule), the days are not very far away when the same scenarios will be repeated. India, which was considered as one of the well-wishers of Afghanistan, acted as a counterbalance to Pakistan, invested a humongous sum of capital, and maintained good relations with both the Karzai and Ghani government, which seems like a Utopian dream at present.
As witnessed that the Taliban used significant force to break up a women’s rights demonstration in Kabul, especially if we talk about their new policies, be it education or women or any number of other things, how much has the Taliban changed in real life? People of Afghanistan have mostly seen war and hate crimes. The way the Taliban has taken over everything and does not feel accountable for anything to anybody, it can be foreseen that the Taliban ought to be trying to return to the 1990s by reinstating the type of government that was there back then, without sharing any authority and making any compromise towards the rights of women.
The above precis showcases similarities with the 2001 scenario when Afghanistan (under control of the Taliban) remained dark at night, and countrymen were afraid of leaving their homes during daytime owing to the Taliban gangs, the Afghans were unable to buy even fuel, widespread power cuts, may not be very far if the entire world remains silent. The current state of affairs is enough to send shivers down the spine, raising questions on the functioning and counterterrorism capacity of the International institutions to safeguard the rights of Afghanistan’s citizens from the onslaught of desperados.
In a nutshell, the Taliban are neither respected nor valued members of the global community as they have not earned that. Moreover, the speed at which incidents like the collapse of the Afghan government and territorial gains by the Taliban are alarming as well as threatening to the economy of Afghanistan. The present circumstances have already exacerbated the dire humanitarian crisis. According to the Taliban, they aim only to execute an “Islamic government” and not terrorize any other nation. But numerous experts are of the view that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are inextricable, with the latter’s fighters heavily ingrained and affianced in the training campaign.
The question which arises at the moment is how will the Taliban plan to govern Afghanistan.
How the Taliban aims to administrate Afghanistan prevails vaguely. Women face an undetermined future. According to the Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban will consider the rights of Afghani women and minorities “as per Afghan standards and Islamic desirability.” According to the persisting plight, will the Taliban be able to survive for the coming years given the stances which are quite unfavourable?
Taliban executives contend that they will completely stick fast to the United States agreement and put a stop to any organization from using Afghan land as a substructure for a skirmish at odds with the United States and its companions. As the American withdrawal has already encouraged the Taliban to put a hold on the country, the question which needs immediate attention is whether the Afghan government or any other international organization can prevent the excessive violence used by the Taliban to take over the power. Another crucial trepidation is that the nation will once again convert into a training and preparation terra firma for terrorism.
It is unclear whether Afghans, who have lived witnessing one war after another for almost four decades, will ever be able to find peace. Although there have been certain peace talks around the corner that engage the Taliban and the US; however, owing to the severity of the violent incidents which already took place, the day the Taliban took over really leaves a question mark in our heads. It is also paramount to recall that the Taliban are not a consolidated and affiliated force. Some commanders may want to keep the West still by not rousing up the predicament, but hardliners may be hesitant to discontinue relations with al-Qaeda.
[i] Poulomi G, Which countries are taking in Afghan refugees and which countries are not? Hindustan Times, 22 August 2021.
[ii] Emma F, Taliban breaking promises including over women, says U.N., September 13, 2021.