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Shattered Dreams: One Year of Taliban Rule


Shattered Dreams: One Year of Taliban Rule Created: 08/15/2022, 00:34 A Taliban fighter sits in the back of a vehicle with a machine gun in Kabul. © -/AP/dpa Images of chaotic scenes at Kabul Airport went around the world in August 2021. After two decades of armed resistance, the Taliban are back in power. It could have turned out differently. Kabul - When the Afghan capital Kabul fell into th

Shattered Dreams: One Year of Taliban Rule

Created: 08/15/2022, 00:34

A Taliban fighter sits in the back of a vehicle with a machine gun in Kabul.

© -/AP/dpa

Images of chaotic scenes at Kabul Airport went around the world in August 2021.

After two decades of armed resistance, the Taliban are back in power.

It could have turned out differently.

Kabul - When the Afghan capital Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban a year ago, the young judge Amina was on her way to the provinces.

“We saw Taliban vehicles moving towards Kabul.

My family was very concerned.”

After a few phone calls, the 34-year-old finally turned around with her driver - and drove back to Kabul, back to her family.

“Everyone was very afraid.

Nobody knew what would happen,” the young woman recalls on August 15, 2021. Panic spread.

"We ran around and burned our documents."

The precarious situation has been clear to many Afghans for years.

The political elite has repeatedly been accused of corruption, and morale in the army has recently deteriorated rapidly.

Because of the poor security situation, the government resorted to ever more extreme measures even before the change of power.

“All colleagues received weapons.

I got one too,” says Amina.

"When the Taliban started house searches in Kabul, we threw them away at night so they wouldn't find them in the house."

"Can't believe where we ended up"

From 2001 to 2021, Amina, whose real name is different, experienced an Afghanistan that opened up.

For example with the strengthening of women's rights: before the US-led military invasion and the liberation of the country from the Taliban, a career for a young woman in the judiciary was unthinkable.

But Amina also experienced the radical break in the summer of 2021, the step backwards in development.

"I still can't believe where we ended up.

We studied for years, we worked hard.” Despite the many attacks, she remained combative.

“I woke up every morning with renewed courage.

As a judge, I enjoyed a lot of respect.”

For more than four decades, Afghanistan has been plagued by conflict and war.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the international military invasion was a severe turning point for the country, and the Taliban were deposed.

20 years later, the USA and its partners decided to withdraw the soldiers - and the Taliban took power again.

One of their promises to the population was to ensure peace and security.

But the criticism of the new rulers is great.

The country is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe, almost half of the population is threatened by hunger.

And again and again organizations complain that human rights are disregarded and women are excluded from public life.

“Thanks to Allah we have reached this goal”

From the point of view of the new Taliban government, Afghanistan was liberated from an "occupying power" twelve months ago, as the militant group repeatedly emphasizes.

The rapid advance surprised many experts at the time, and Kabul was finally conquered by the Taliban almost without a fight.

"Thanks to Allah we have achieved this goal and at the moment I am enjoying being in a free country," said Bilal Karimi, one of the government's senior spokesmen.

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"Everyone knew the collapse was coming, but the timing was a surprise," said expert Tamim Asey.

He describes the Afghan army as brave and self-sacrificing - but also riddled with corruption and incompetence in the higher ranks in the past year.

In 2021, the army lost up to 160 men a day, according to Asey, who also worked for a time as deputy defense minister under President Ashraf Ghani.

When the Taliban took power, the army was also far smaller than officially stated: many Afghan soldiers had long since died.

If even experienced Western armies could not successfully fight the Taliban, how could a young army like the Afghan one do it?

US-Taliban peace deal kills army

The biggest blow to army morale was the February 2020 peace deal between the US and the Taliban.

Many soldiers suddenly asked themselves: if they make peace with these people, why should we fight?

The West had gotten too much hope for the Taliban.

“You handed over an entire country to a terrorist group.

Assuming they changed and turned into responsible Western-style government, which they didn't." July in the heart of Kabul.

The Taliban continue to offer terrorists shelter - according to the general interpretation after the killing.

Regional powers also made it possible for the Taliban to take power, says Asey.

According to the expert, many countries around Afghanistan wanted NATO and the USA to fail in Afghanistan - and strengthened the Taliban accordingly.

He makes serious allegations against the last Afghan government.

President Ghani's flight shortly before the Taliban took power finally sealed his fate.

“He failed to unite the country and the elites.

He knew the language of the West, but he didn't know the language of his own people, and his escape was a shame.” Asey believes it could have been different.

For example, if the president had negotiated a deal with the Taliban and resigned for an interim government.

"Afghanistan again a safe haven for terrorism"

According to the former deputy defense minister, history is repeating itself, since the reason for the war in 2001 was the hunt for Osama bin Laden, who had found refuge in the country during the Taliban rule.

"Afghanistan has once again become a safe haven for terrorism." There is enough evidence of this.

Only the jihadist group Islamic State, which is active in the country with terrorist cells, is being fought by the Taliban.

"It seems that the United States and the West are not learning from history."

Women wait in Kabul for food rations to be distributed by a Saudi Arabian humanitarian aid organization.

After the Taliban took power, women lost many rights.

The country is also experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe.

© Ebrahim Noroozi/AP/dpa

The Taliban always reject this account.

After the killing of al-Qaeda boss al-Zawahiri, the incumbent government announced that it had no knowledge of his whereabouts.

Those in power in Afghanistan are trying to gain international recognition.

They reject interference.

The Taliban see demands from the international community to reopen secondary schools for girls as an internal debate.

"Nobody has the right to discuss our country's internal affairs with us or tell us that we should have this or that system," said Taliban spokesman Karimi.

However, the Taliban themselves seem to disagree on many points - above all when it comes to education.

While schools remain closed for many girls in the country, senior Taliban leaders are sending their daughters abroad for education.

But many don't seem to want to give up hope.

"The young people and their families want to continue learning - in the hope that the situation will improve one day," says Amina.

The young woman herself sees the future of her country as bleak.

People were already dissatisfied under the old government - but they had no idea that things would get worse.

"In the future we will probably need more psychiatric clinics in Kabul." dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-08-14

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