It is no secret how the Taliban have succeeded in capturing Afghanistan under their control because of a war that has been waging for almost 20 years. The terrorist group succeeded in this capture after they advanced across the country after capturing Kabul on 15th August 2021. And it should be noted that this capture over Kabul was only possible after a deal was formulated between the US and the Taliban; a negotiation that was achieved after 20 years of the US removing the Taliban militants from power back in 2001 after the 9/11 attack.
This conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands of individuals while displacing millions. And even though the Taliban have guaranteed to not make Afghanistan a terrorist base that could easily become a threat to the west, it is inevitable to ask questions as to how a group of militants that have killed thousands is going to govern a country? Or will their policies of running the country collide with the human rights of its civilians and other religious and political freedom?
Who is the Taliban and How did they rise to power?
In the Pashto Language, ‘The Taliban’ or “students” emerged within the early 1990s in northern Pakistan because of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban often tend to refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as they made promises of restoring peace and security by enforcing their own version of Sharia law as soon as they came into power within the Pashtun areas (i.e., areas including Pakistan and Afghanistan).
At first, The Taliban was welcomed within Afghanistan as they stamped out corruption by protecting roads that came under their territory which helped in boosting commercial businesses. But later on, when the Taliban banned television, disapproved of girls aging 10 or more to go to school, carrying out public prosecutions of adulterers and murderers, they were accused of violating several human rights and were tagged as human rights and culture abusers. But some of the major incidents that were traced back to the Taliban’s involvement were:
- The shooting of Malala Yousafzai in October 2012
- The 9/11 attack in New York supported Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda movements.
The fight between the US and the Taliban; why did it last so long?
As stated above, one of the largest terror attacks ever to happen over US soil was the 9/11 attack by Al-Qaeda led by Osama Bin laden. The US had intervened by using their military forces after the Taliban refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden to the US. And through this military intervention, the US vowed to eradicate terrorist attacks while bringing back peace in the world. As a result, Osama Bin Laden was killed. However, the militants had dispersed only to have re-joined forces later.
Furthermore, the NATO allies had displayed their support towards peace and democracy by joining hands with the US and a new Afghan government was formulated in 2004. However, the deadly Taliban attacks continued to occur over the country threatening and compromising its peace and security heavily. And if one jumps ahead to the year of 2014 which turned out to be the most gruesome and bloodiest year after 2001 that Afghanistan had ever witnessed, NATO’s international forces put an end to their combat mission which left the Afghan army to take responsibility for their weakened country’s security. This was the crucial time that gave the Taliban the momentum as they captured some more territory.
And in the following years, the Taliban displayed a shift in tactics as it stopped formulating complex city attacks or on military outposts and instead started focusing on agitating chaos and crimes within cities and continually targeted assassinations to terrorize the afghani civilians.
Without much involvement of the Afghan government, the peace talks between the Taliban and the US cautiously. However, with Joe Biden becoming president, the decision to withdraw military troops from Afghanistan by 11th September was announced in April 2021.
The consequences of this war
- Causalities :
The number of casualties within two decades cannot be precisely accounted for. However, research by Brown university displays that the estimated losses within the Afghan security forces come close to 69,000 whereas the number of civilians killed is around 51,000. While more than 20,000 US soldiers have acquired injuries in this war, Afghanistan’s two-thirds population has been displaced. This means that thousands of Afghan civilians have earlier displaced or have been taking refuge within neighboring countries while fleeing from their own since 2001 till now.
- The human rights of women:
Out of all the civilians, women tend to face an uncertain future within Afghanistan right now. This is because the spokesperson of the Taliban has declared that the rights of women will be respected “as per Afghan norms and Islamic values” which conveys that the liberation that had seeped within the Islamic religion will no more be as liberating as it once was. Moreover, the militants expressed that they will let the women join their government which comes with restrictions over the type of work they will be allotted, the dress code they will be obliged to follow, or whether they will be allowed to leave the house or not.
- The establishment of terrorism
Even though the Taliban promises that they will not make Afghanistan a base camp for harboring other terrorist groups, it is important to remember that the Taliban is not a unified force. Several leaders of the Taliban have had conflicting ideologies with one another and what the militant force should be. Moreover, the unification between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban is unpredictable and inseparable as several analysts have pointed out where most militants in Al-Qaeda are heavily involved in training activities such as learning how to make weapons, etc. And since it is still unknown how powerful or big Al-Qaeda is, it remains a threat. No one can be sure how quickly it can make a global network or whether it already has an existing one which could be a major threat to the world as it has already displayed its potential through the 9/11 attack.
To conclude, it is not sensible for a nation as powerful as the United States of America to take the word of a terrorist organization such as the Taliban that it will only protect the country and preach about the Islamic laws while not harboring other terrorists’ groups especially after knowing the connections it has to Al-Qaeda. Even though the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has ended the two decades of war between the US and the Taliban, the civilians within Afghanistan think nothing of that sort. Several videos have emerged on the internet of Afghan civilians trying to flee the country while sitting outside the airplane or hanging onto its wheels. No one can truly comprehend the fear that spread across the country, especially after seeing how its government fled within a night before giving the Taliban control of the country.