On Sunday, Taliban militants took over Afghanistan’s capital and other major cities, almost two decades after they were driven from Kabul by US troops; as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, abandoning the presidential palace to the Taliban.
However, following the withdrawal of US troops in early July, Afghan security forces put up little resistance as Taliban militants seized much of the country. In fact, US officials have already admitted that they underestimated the speed at which the Taliban were able to advance across the country.
Formed in 1994, the Taliban fighters were made up of former Afghan resistance fighters, known as mujahedeen. They fought the invading Soviet forces in the 1980s. Now, they aim to impose their extremist interpretation of Islamic law on the country, and to remove any foreign influence.
After they captured Kabul in 1996, strict rules were implemented wherein women were forced to wear head-to-toe coverings, weren’t allowed to study or work, and were forbidden from travelling alone. TV, music, and non-Islamic holidays were also banned.
On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four commercial planes in the US, crashing two into the World Trade Centre towers. Over 2,700 people were killed in the attacks, which were orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Less than a month later, US and allied forces invaded the country. Currently, the Taliban are led by Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, a senior religious cleric from the Taliban’s founding generation.
Now, they are reinforcing their control over Afghanistan and other major cities, marking one of the fastest-growing humanitarian crises in the world. At the time of writing, roughly 390,000 people have been displaced – most of which are women & children – bringing the total number of people displaced to 3.5 million.
Whilst the UN Aid Appeal for Afghanistan calls for $1.3 Billion to help people in need, it only has 38% funded. Living under Taliban laws restricts girls from education, women cannot leave without male guardians, women are left with no rights, and marriages are forced on girls as young as 12.
YOU can help by knowing your (correct) sources of information and encouraging conversations to help spread further awareness.
Share this article to help spread awareness.