Afghanistan is once more under the control of the Taliban, a fundamentalist group that ruled the nation for five years before U.S. led forces expelled them in 2001. There are worries spreading that the Taliban’s return might encourage Islamist movements elsewhere in Central Asia more than two decades after Osama bin Laden first sought refuge under their protection.
As the group is believed to maintain ties with al-Qaeda, the takeover of the country could once again turn Afghanistan into a terrorist safe haven. The takeover also threatens to reverse advances made in securing the rights of women and girls in the country. On the contrary, if we look into the Taliban’s history of violently suppressing women’s rights, Afghan women’s fears are real as we are already hearing reports of females being turned away from their universities and offices. The future they were promised is terribly close to slipping away.
Afghanistan is on the brink of an all-out civil war as the US and other international forces complete their withdrawal from the country. The Taliban have seized more than half of Afghanistan’s districts and now threaten a military takeover of its main cities. Nothing is new for the people of Afghanistan; they have been stuck for generations in proxy wars of global and regional powers. Children have been born into battle. For years families have been living in refugee camps, thousands more have fled their homes in recent days.
“Afghanistan was neither free yesterday, nor is it free today! Initially, we all feel extremely sad for the ordinary Afghan civilians; their lives have been torn to pieces for the last 30 years or more. It feels like there is no way for real peace” added Neyaz Khalid Noor.
On the other hand, as we know every coin has two faces and if we look into the other face of it, a better and a peaceful outcome is still possible for the people of Afghanistan. But it would obviously require urgent prioritisation by the Afghan government, US, key European countries, and the UN.
There is an immediate need of an armistice, which will eventually lead to a negotiated political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that will guarantee the rights and safety of all Afghans. But this is only possible if the Taliban have an inducement to negotiate.