A year after the rule of the Taliban .. What has changed in Afghanistan?  |  DW |  16.08.2022

A year after the rule of the Taliban .. What has changed in Afghanistan? | DW | 16.08.2022

On August 15, a year ago, the world was on a date with a resounding surprise, represented by the Taliban’s seizure of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the overthrow of the government of former President Ashraf Ghani, without much resistance from the Afghan army, which was supported by the United States.

As a result, the hardline Taliban movement wrote a new chapter in the rule of Afghanistan and returned to power again, as it had previously ruled the country before its fall in 2001 following the US invasion of Afghanistan.

Experts believe that the fall of President Ashraf Ghani’s government was inevitable with the start of the withdrawal of NATO forces in May 2021 under the Doha agreement between Washington and the Taliban concluded in February a year earlier, but few of them did not expect a Taliban takeover. power so fast. Since the Taliban returned to rule Afghanistan, the lives of Afghans and the ways of life in this poor country have changed dramatically, but the change has been for the worse.

undo backwards

Despite criticism of the Afghan governments that have taken charge since 2001, Afghanistan has made progress in several areas over the past two decades, especially in girls’ education, human rights and the media, while improving the lives of relatively middle-class people.

Since the Taliban’s control, these achievements have significantly declined in the country in light of the Taliban’s failure to fulfill their commitments under the Doha Agreement, as they hesitated to form a government that includes all sectors of the country and prevented girls from continuing their education after the sixth grade, as well as imposing strict restrictions on the work and lives of women, which led to effectively remove them from public life.

On the economic front, the situation in the country has collapsed and the country’s economy is “in a state of free fall”, according to the description of the United Nations, which warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Since seizing power, the Taliban has been pressing the international community to recognize it as a “legitimate authority” in Afghanistan, which is crucial for the Taliban to avoid the collapse of the country’s economy with widespread poverty and hunger and food insecurity in urban communities reaching levels comparable to rural and remote areas for the first time in country.

In January, the United Nations launched its “largest appeal ever” for humanitarian aid to one country, stressing that it needed funding of $4.4 billion (€3.9 billion) to prevent a worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which has become the “fastest growing” Afghanistan. In the world”.

However, the international community is still reluctant to send financial aid directly to the Taliban for fear of using them to buy weapons, fears that prompted Washington to refuse to lift the freeze on Afghan banking assets.

The deteriorating situation of Afghan women

With regard to the situation of women in Afghanistan after a year of Taliban rule, the United Nations said that Afghanistan has become the only country in the world where girls are deprived of secondary education.

It is noteworthy that during the past two decades, Afghan women have made a lot of progress as they held ministerial positions and joined the labor market, but after the Taliban took control, women were forced to stay at home.

Despite the restrictions of the Taliban and its strong security grip, Afghan women took to the streets to protest against the Taliban’s repressive decisions, while the movement responded to the protests with repression and the arrest of a number of women’s rights activists.

In turn, Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, said last July that “less than a year after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the movement, through its tough decisions, has deprived millions of women and girls of their right to live in safety and freedom.” Despite the Taliban’s pressure on women, many Afghan women have struggled to make their voices heard.

Several times, women’s protests erupted against the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on women and girls

As a result, some leaders of the women’s protests fled the country, but five women’s rights organizations still operate in Afghanistan and use social media platforms to protest Taliban policies, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and torture practices.

Zulia Barsi is a prominent women’s rights activist who has pledged to press forward the protest for a better future for her children. In an interview with DW, she said, “One of my daughters was supposed to go to university while another should have gone to 11th grade. When I look at their mental state, I find that I have no choice but to protest for our rights. I can’t remain silent.”

aTo inform the freedom in danger

Even before it came to power, the Taliban viewed the independent media as their enemy. Afghanistan has made progress in the field of media over the past two decades, but with the return of the Taliban to power, thousands of journalists were forced to flee the country or remain in their homes without work.

Reporters Without Borders reported that 43% of Afghan media had been shut down in the past three months, adding that nearly eleven thousand people “were teaching in Afghan newsrooms, including more than 2,000 women, by the beginning of August 2021, but In December, that number reached 4,360, including 410 women.

In an interview with DW, Muhammad Zia Bumia, who heads the South Asian Free Media Association in Afghanistan, said that after the collapse of Ashraf Ghani’s government, many Afghan media outlets were shut down resulting in hundreds of journalists losing their jobs. “The Taliban have imposed strict censorship on the media, “both news and entertainment,” while women working in the media bear the brunt of the burden,” he added.

In this, the Afghan journalist who fled to India after the Taliban took control, Salha Aini, said that the Taliban tried to arrest her several times, adding, “The movement’s elements raided my house and warned my family, so I had no choice but to flee from Afghanistan.” For his part, Hojjatullah Mojadidi, president of the Kabul-based Afghan Independent Journalists Association, called on the international community to support Afghan journalists.

Successive wars destroyed the country, and the victims are always women and children

Afghan women in rural areas have endured the ravages of continuing battles and fighting with high rates of poverty

Is the risk coming?

Despite the increasing dangers in Afghanistan, the country’s crises are not receiving much attention from the international community with the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the escalation of tension with China over Taiwan. As a result, experts see a similarity between the current situation and the situation in Afghanistan in the late nineties of the last century, when the international community did not realize at the time the serious repercussions of the Taliban’s seizure of power in 1996.

In light of the waning global attention on the situation in Afghanistan, the movement provided a foothold for local and foreign armed and extremist organizations, while the recent killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul indicates this danger. In an interview with DW, Fareed Amiri, a former official in the Afghan government, warned of the seriousness of the matter, especially “with the existence of relations between the Taliban and international terrorists.” “As the movement consolidates its control over Afghanistan, its tactical and strategic relations with organizations that finance terrorism will grow, which will eventually endanger peace and security both in the region and the world,” he added.

Ahmed Hakimi / M.A

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