On Sunday, August 15, when Pakistan celebrated its independence just a day earlier and when India was also celebrating its Independence Day, the Taliban laid siege to Kabul and took control of the administrative offices. At the time, it was expected that Ashraf Ghani’s government would fight the Taliban, but everything turned out to be the opposite. The United States left Afghanistan and said before leaving that the Afghan army was trained and fully equipped to fight the Taliban. To this day, the Taliban are the de facto rulers of Afghanistan and it proved to be the most unfortunate and ominous thing for the citizens of Afghanistan.
Eight months have passed since the Taliban took power. Apart from many statements from the Taliban, nothing proved to be in favour of the locals. The country is completely mired in many problems and there seems to be no way out. Large numbers of people are being severely affected by these problems daily. Everyone there is struggling to leave the country, and some have already left. There are several restrictions on the locals, from education to freedom of expression. People have health problems and there is no proper cure or medicine for them. On the one hand, economic sanctions have been imposed on the Taliban government, which is increased hunger and inflation in the country.
Therefore, the question arises as to what political methods and tactics the Taliban use to deal with these issues. What kind of politics are they doing? And what kind of political structure and political trends do they want in Afghanistan? In a world where there is a global crisis and the whole world is suffering, where inflation is rising, how will the Taliban deal with it?
In the Taliban government, where there is no room for women, no freedom of expression, the press is almost inactive and journalists are scared, it is difficult to unravel the mystery of the Taliban-style government.
Freedom of the press has been severely restricted under the Taliban regime. According to a survey by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), about 6,400 journalists are unemployed and more than 200 media outlets are closed. The worst victims are women journalists who have lost their jobs and are unable to work or are not allowed to work. Eight out of 10 women journalists have no job and are deeply troubled by the Taliban’s ongoing Press policies. As in other fields where there is no place for working women, women are not seen in the media. However, some women still appear on TV screens. Abid Ehsas, newsgathering manager for Shamshad TV, a local TV channel in Kabul, told Al Jazeera that the channel had lost most of its revenue due to a lack of advertising. He added that many organizations have censored themselves because of the Taliban’s policies.
Eleven journalists have been killed since the Taliban took over, including Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photographer who worked with Reuters. An estimated 200 journalists have fled the country, and many are queuing to leave.
The Taliban government has no cash available for the convenience of local citizens. After the Taliban took power, the international community withdrew all funds and froze billions of dollars of Afghan assets abroad. The United States alone froze about $9.5 billion from the Afghan central bank, and the World Bank also suspended aid to Kabul. For a country heavily dependent on foreign aid, where international aid accounts for 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP and 80% of its budget, the results have been disastrous. Both the economy and the national currency have been destroyed. The country is suffering from drought and an ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
According to recent reports, people are selling their kidneys to meet their nutritional needs. Parents are forced to sell their daughters for early marriage to get some financial support. It has been the most shocking and worst humanitarian crisis facing any country. A recent report by the United Nations reveals that over 95 percent of the Afghans are facing hunger. Afghanistan is facing several crises, such as another bad harvest this year, the banking and financial crisis is so severe that it has left more than 80% of the population in debt, and food and Rising fuel prices.
A large number of working-class people have left the country, including doctors, engineers, professors, bureaucrats, and political leaders who have worked with provincial governments. According to Asian News International (ANI), the Taliban has formed a commission to pave the way for political leaders who fled the country shortly after the Taliban took power. The commission has been named “Commission Ertibatat Ba Shaksiat Hai Afghan Wa Awdat Anan” or Commission of contact with Afghan leaders and their Repatriation. The commission is made up of seven members and is headed by Acting Minister for Gas and Petroleum Shahabuddin Dilawar. However, the Taliban’s record of dealing with the leaders of the previous government is not encouraging. According to the United Nations, the Taliban have killed more than 100 members, including former members of the government and security forces, since taking power. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said more than two-thirds of the victims had been extrajudicially killed by the Taliban and its affiliates. So how is it possible for the Taliban to bring back the leaders who fled in fear? It is difficult for the Taliban to build trust with former officials to work for them.
The right to education has also been hampered by extremely weak policies. Universities are subject to maximum restrictions based on gender. Women’s education policies in particular are one of the most affected. There is no continuity in the education sector, schools are often closed, especially for girls. The Taliban have snatched values at gunpoint and perhaps that is why they are not so serious about education.
The Taliban are pursuing their ego-filled policies, destroying the country’s economy, social life, human rights, education, and so on. They continue to use violence, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, restrictions on media freedom, and the detention of Taliban critics. It is clear that the Taliban cannot rule a country like “Jihadi Madrassa”. They must understand and acknowledge that there is no war going on and that they must rule politically, not militarily. This style of governing will create more chaos and instability in the country. The crisis created by the Taliban after coming to power will be difficult to overcome. Regardless of the restrictions imposed by the outside world, they should learn from their past and find a dignified way to govern a country. The Taliban must give its citizens a chance and ease sanctions on various sectors. They should give more space to ordinary citizens, especially women, to participate in administrative matters.
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