What’s Happening in Afghanistan Now?

Previously published on December 4, 2021
What’s Happening in Afghanistan Now?

Previously published on December 4, 2021.


In April 2021 Biden announced that he was in the process of having all US troops in Afghanistan withdrawn by September. On August 15th, the Taliban captured the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, and took over the country causing the president, Ashraf Ghani, to flee the country. It is still unclear where he went. Thousands of Afghans, in a state of panic and terror, ran to the Kabul Airport in the hopes of escaping the Taliban, but they were met with zero aid. Some Afghans were so desperate that they clung onto the sides of US military jets flying back until they fell thousands of feet to their death. Parents tried to give their infants to the US military in hopes of saving their progeny.

Why? Why does the presence/resurgence of the Taliban instill so much fear in the citizens of Afghanistan? Here’s a bit of background to help us all make sense of it.The Taliban was in control of Afghanistan from 1996-2001, and they held power with a very strict reign. Women’s rights were barely present in their society. Women were banned from attending school, banned from working outside of home, banned from walking in public alone unless with a male, and mandated to wear burqas wherever they went. The Taliban also banned music for the collective. The population was very restricted and tightly controlled, having limited free will. After the attack of 9/11, the Taliban were known to be hiding groups of terrorists including Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. They refused to hand him over after the US’s demands, so the US invaded Afghanistan to catch Bin Laden and the Taliban lost control and fled the country.

Now that the Taliban has reinstated their reign, Afghans fear for their safety and the loss of their rights. People are worried Afghanistan will once again become a safehouse for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, even though the Taliban said they would not do that in the 2020 peace deal with the US. Many people distrust them; even the UN team that monitors the Taliban has vocalized that the Taliban are currently in cohorts with Al Qaeda. In September, the city of Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS K with three explosions, killing three civilians and injuring fourteen.The terrorists stated that they were targeting the Taliban. This was the first attack since the Taliban came into power.

As a result of the new rule, the Taliban has reversed social progress for women’s rights. All girls in grades 7-12 are not able to attend school now. However, the Taliban has said that girls can still attend universities, but there will now be gender segregated classrooms. This also means that women cannot teach men, and vice versa. The Taliban has confirmed a change in curriculum, though they haven’t mentioned the exact changes. Many people are concerned about the future of women’s studies, including Mohammed Tariq, a private school administrator, who says, “Certain subjects will be eliminated for girls: engineering, government studies, cooking, vocational education. The main subjects will remain” (Blue, Zucchino, 2021). Students are also feeling helpless when thinking about their future. “Ayba, a 12th grader, said she had planned since childhood to study for a career as a surgeon. But last month, she said, her future seemed to evaporate. ‘The day the Taliban took control, I was thinking: This is the end of life for women’” (Blue, Zucchino, 2021). In regards to higher positions in education, women are not allowed to participate in the education board without a male representative. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs compound was replaced and converted into an office for “religious morality police” who police their interpretation of the Islamic law. Though the Taliban has stated they aren’t opposed to women in office, they did appoint an all male cabinet. Women who work in the government must stay home, according to the mayor who was also appointed by the Taliban. Furthermore, the Taliban’s government, The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is only led by religious leaders that they choose. As of yet, they have not mentioned holding elections.

In regards to protestors, the Taliban has “cracked down on protestors and reportedly detained and beaten journalists”  who supported the US (Maizland, 2021). The majority of Afghans are fearful for their future as well as their childrens’.

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