Waking up in a New World

With last week’s sudden capture of Kabul, the Taliban successfully took control over Afghanistan. But moments before the capital’s capture, President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan citing that he wanted to avoid any further bloodshed. His exit to Uzbekistan was seen by many as a cowardly tactic to save his own life. Ghani proceeded to resign his post as President of Afghanistan, ending the 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking the country.

Now the whole country braces itself for a new government. On Sunday, 15th August the Taliban made history again by entering the presidential palace to prepare for a ‘peaceful transfer of power’. The new interim government is expected to be led by top Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Former president Hamid Karzai and Senior Politician Abdullah Abdullah have offered to lead the transition of power from the government side, though it is doubtful that the Taliban would wish to associate with them in any way. Although both parties have issued statements that the transition of power will happen peacefully, and residents should be assured that security forces will ensure the security of the city, there still is chaos in the capital. Especially with people trying to evacuate the country before any permanent law is emplaced by the Taliban.

Everyone remembers when the Taliban were in power and their rule which enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia Law that eliminated women’s rights and limited state education for girls. There is still a strong fear that the Taliban will re-introduce their version of law and order again and whatever development that has occurred in the last twenty years will be gone. As people are fleeing to countries such as Pakistan and to the US and UK, the Taliban have begun to close its borders and are preventing people to leave the country, citing that they need the people to live in Afghanistan.

But outside the capital, there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Millions of Afghans who reside outside of Kabul are about to face a severe shortage of food, water and with the ongoing pandemic, many fear that this is the perfect storm as the number of people reaching starvation is 14 million now. This concern has led the executive director of the World Food Programme to say that political leaders need to act now.

Faria Ahmed

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