Sat. Oct 16th, 2021

Afghanistan Update

While the Taliban fighters were celebrating the departure of US troops from Afghanistan, Aalia, a 40-year-old high school teacher, was outside a bank trying to get money to buy groceries.

Banks have mostly been closed since the Taliban marched on Kabul more than two weeks ago. The few branches that reopened imposed strict withdrawal restrictions, which led to long queues and disruptions in the network cash-dependent economy.

“I have been standing in line here since 06:00,” Aalia told the Financial Times after Kabul’s night sky was celebrated by Taliban fighters. “I have nothing left in my house and kitchen.”

The crisis of Aalia reflects the rift between the euphoria of the Taliban leaders US exit and the serious challenge they face in the transition from an Islamic uprising to a functioning administration.

Elite Taliban units are equipped with high-fighting equipment that analysts say seized the seizure surrender The Afghan national army quickly took control of the airport in Kabul after the last Americans flew. Anas Haqqani, part of a prominent militant family linked to the Taliban, told a local journalist that the country had “gained a freedom that has no precedent in the past”.

Many Afghan civilians were relieved that Kabul had fallen into the Taliban without first becoming a battlefield, hoping that the American departure would be a end of battles and violence that plagued the country for two decades.

“I was very worried that there would be clashes and looting,” said a cheese seller in a neighborhood. “I was very happy that the Taliban came peacefully, there was no clash and they prevented anarchy in the city.

Taliban fighters drive through Kandahar on Tuesday as they celebrate the withdrawal of US forces
Taliban fighters drive through Kandahar on Tuesday as they celebrate the withdrawal of US forces © EPA / Shutterstock

Yet ordinary Afghans were also skeptical that the Taliban had the skills to tackle the country’s complex socio – economic problems. Others were anxious about the loss of hard-won freedoms, especially for women, who were confined to their homes under a strict Islamic regime when the movement was last in power from 1996-2001.

“The news from the Americans makes me happy – it’s good that the war is over,” Aalia said. ‘But it’s also important to work. It’s good to allow women [to work] as before. . . the government must pay attention to salaries that have not been paid for months. They need to pay serious attention to the economic situation. . . the Taliban should not hire a mullah for the ministries of economy, finance and public health. ”

Heavily armed Taliban fighters parading in the streets of Kabul on Tuesday were jubilant, with their leaders calling Afghanistan “Independence Day”.

Yet those attached to the former Afghan government who are not in the chaotic american airlift left behind. Many hid or moved from house to house while the Taliban searched for members of the former security agencies and forces.

“There’s a very clear list of people they go to – they go to people’s homes, talk to their families and try to locate them,” said Rudra Chaudhuri, a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. . .

Children arrive at a primary school in Kabul on Monday after the Taliban reopened classrooms for younger students
Children arrive at a primary school in Kabul on Monday after the Taliban reopened classrooms for younger students © Aamir Qureshi / AFP / Getty Imagess

The Taliban have not yet announced the contours of the new government, although the group has reached an agreement with their chief after a three-day meeting in Kandahar. Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Analysts believe the process of forming an administration has been delayed by tensions between the group’s different regional factions over the division of responsibilities.

But Asadullah Waheedi, an assistant professor at the University of Kabul and an expert on the Taliban, said the leaders of the movement were also discussing whether they could include non-Taliban politicians to create an “inclusive administration” that the international community seeks.

“The most important discussion at the moment in the Taliban leadership is ‘May we share under sharia power with those of the corrupt former government,'” Waheedi said.

The Taliban are trying to encourage a return to normalcy, even considering how reform Afghan society. The Islamists carried out an attack on social media spreading peaceful scenes and a senior Taliban kissing a baby. Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, urged international investors to return to Afghanistan to rebuild the economy and called on business people to help the country overcome the economic crisis.

Primary schools reopened for younger students, including girls, after the Taliban agreed that children’s and teachers’ uniforms conform to Islamic principles. Older students have not yet been allowed to return.

The group has replaced the former government’s tricolor flag with its own, which is white with the Muslim creed, or shadah, written in black letters.

But for many ordinary Afghans, the crucial solution was access to cash to buy necessities. “We can agree with everything,” said one man as he watched the flags being raised, “if only the banks would open.”

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