CATEGORY: HUMAN RIGHTS
The blame games
Chaos, panic, staggering collapse. How did this happen so fast? So many people, are blaming the Afghan president who left the country, without warning the public or the rest of the government. Hundreds of people are criticizing the USA withdrawal for destabilizing the country. On the other hand, President Biden blames the Afghan military. Whose fault is this? That's a very difficult question to answer particularly because in a situation as complex as the US involvement in Afghanistan, there's enough blame to go around however, it seems that nobody is taking any responsibility, even though the situation in Afghanistan is critically crucial.
The main priority of all countries should be the cooperation to protect the vulnerable population during the Taliban regime. The word is full of situations that put-on threat the basic human rights of many people. Even with the existence of the United Nations the need of aid from all the countries individually is vital. Afghanistan is a country with a history of conflicts due to its geopolitical position and its natural resources. It has been a toy for the rich countries to meet their social, economic, and political goals. Endless wars helped the powerful to draw attention away from economic corruption.
The Taliban’s recognized terrorist organization has a regime which it provokes international opprobrium for its cruelty-erasing women’s rights and its brutal, inhumane punishments, while offering shelter to Islamist extremists. Harboring Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda ahead 9/11 is one sad example of the impact of the Taliban’s organization in the world.
The USA withdrawal
Everything started when President Donald Trump agreed to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan in a 2020 peace deal, with his successor Joe Biden later setting a departure date. President Joe Biden, mindful of domestic exhaustion at the so-called forever war, announced that the US would leave by the end of September 2021. The troops retirement was forced due to the weakness of the Afghan National Army and the lack of further financial support by Washington to the existing forces. After the withdrawal of international troops, the Taliban swiftly seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021.
In the present situation, as the world follows events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead, massive amounts of people have been trying to flee the country in a desperate action to avoid the Taliban regime. However, the refugees are indeed between a rock a hard place, due to the immersed amount of asylum requests being filed every day, in the neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and Iran. Women, children, minorities, journalists, and activists are in extreme danger. According to the Secretary-General, since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the nation’s poverty rate has soared and basic public have neared collapsed, hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless after being forced to flee fighting. After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour.
The Taliban’s war on women
Concerns over accounts of mounting violations against women and girls who fear to return in the “the darkest days” are being voiced through journalists and through people all around the world using their social platforms. They continuously face gender-based discrimination and violence. Their rights and freedoms are threatened by the Taliban’s acquisition of power. Murders and massacres of women just because they are wearing the “wrong” clothes are the results of the obscured Taliban takeover. Child brides for the militants and the opposition to women’s education are instances of the human rights violations Afghan women are currently facing. Under their rule, women have been beaten for the length of their burqa or for painting their nails, and people have been horrifically executed for their sexual orientation. Its dictatorial, oppressive, and non-democratic. During the first phase of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, women were not allowed to travel without a male guardian and were punished if they were perceived as too independent. The Taliban, who ruled over Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 but were forced from power after a US-led invasion, have historically treated women as second-class citizens, subjecting them to violence, forced marriages and a near-invisible presence in the country.
After they reclaimed the country's capital last month, the Taliban's leadership claimed that it would not enforce such draconian conditions this time in power. But the absence of any female representatives from their newly-formed interim government and an almost overnight disappearance of women from the country's streets has led to major worries about what will happen next for half of its population. Female employees in the Kabul city government have been told to stay home, and only women whose jobs cannot be done by men are allowed to come to work.
For the past 20 years, the USA government and other countries have financed the vast majority of the Afghan government’s non-military budget. Now, with the American aid out of the question and billions in the banks frozen, the Taliban will have to find other means to pay for salaries and support citizens and infrastructure. Keeping in mind, that Afghanistan is a country that for decades was navigating by aid from international donors, it’s going to be a challenge as the humanitarian crisis deepens. A severe drought is now affecting Afghanistan, threatening nearly 12 million people with food poverty. Food and other needs have increased in price, although most banks have reopened with limited cash availability.
However, it’s easier to win a battle than to administer a new government and that’s why Talibans are currently facing daunting financial challenges. 9.4$ billion international reserves were frozen immediately after the Taliban took over. The International Monetary Fund suspended more than 400$ million in emergency reserves, and the European Union halted plans to disperse 1.4$ billion in aid to Afghanistan through 2025.
Intelligent agencies and others believe that various countries, including Russia, Iran, Quatar, Pakistan, and China, have helped finance the Taliban, and these countries may continue to do so. With those money they managed to buy plenty of weapons and grow their military ranks as they took advantage of the US withdrawal and conquered Afghanistan in a matter of weeks. In the 2020 year alone, the Taliban had 1.6$ billion from a variety of sources. Some of their well-known sources of funding is selling opium, mining minerals and donations from private groups.
In conclusion, Americans want to say that they don’t negotiate with terrorists, but for the last few days US military officials have been meeting with Talibans trying to work out a deal that it will protect Afghan civilians. There was a conversation, that the US doesn’t have a great deal of leverage left in the situation, there is not a lot of bargaining that US left to do. The nature of how things have collapsed in Afghanistan, it’s as if the Americans gave a timeline for this and that was a strategic mistake. They had a ticking clock the and the advantage to just wait it out. Everything that happened over the past 3 - 4 months was not only foreseeable, but it was also foreseen. How America spent 20 years in Afghanistan, only to have the Taliban resume control again as its troops withdrew, will be a topic for historians to ponder for decades, and who ultimately bears responsibility will be forever a complicated debate.
*The photo is taken by the Pulitzer award winning and Reuters photographer, late Yiannis Behrakis, the day the Taliban regime fell in Kamboul in 2001.
Author: Eleni C. Louca