Afghanistan Set for Taliban Rule as the US Withdraws

After twenty years of war at the cost of more than 100,000 Afghans, 6,000 American Lives, and over $2 trillion spent by the United States, Afghanistan is on the brink of being under the control of the Taliban again.

Who are the Taliban

The Taliban was formed in 1994 and consist of former Afghan resistance soldiers, generally known as mujahedeen, who resisted occupying Soviet forces in the 1980s. They intended to establish their vision of Islamic law on the country and eliminate any Western influence.

Following the Taliban’s conquest of Kabul in 1996, the Sunni Islamist group imposed harsh laws. Women were required to cover themselves from head to toe, were not permitted to study or work, and were prohibited from travelling alone. Television, music, and non-Islamic holidays were all outlawed as well.

This changed after 19 men commandeered four passenger airliners in the United States on September 11, 2001. Two crashed into the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon, and another, bound for Washington, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The attacks claimed the lives of around 2,700 individuals.

Osama bin Laden, the commander of al Qaeda, organized the attack from within the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. 

Just under a month after the attack, the US and ally troops attacked Afghanistan, ostensibly to prevent the Taliban from providing al Qaeda with a safe haven and to prevent al Qaeda from utilizing Afghanistan as a stronghold for terrorism.

Since their overthrow from power two decades ago, the Taliban have waged an insurgency against coalition forces and the US-supported Afghan government.

The Agreement Between the United States and the Taliban

After the election of the former US president, Donald Trump, the Taliban wrote an open letter to him in 2017 urging him to pull US troops out of Afghanistan immediately.

In 2020, a peace agreement was finally struck between the Taliban and the Trump administration due to years of negotiations.

The agreement includes: the US soldiers will be withdrawn, and 5,000 Taliban detainees will be freed. The Taliban will take measures to prevent any person or group — including al Qaeda — from exploiting Afghanistan to harm the US or its allies.

It didn’t, however, lead to peace.

As a result of this, the level of violence in Afghanistan reached its greatest level in two decades. According to the United Nations Security Council assessment, it was projected that the Taliban controlled or claimed 50 to 70 per cent of Afghanistan’s terrain outside metropolitan areas as of June.

The Major Worry of a Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan

In the eyes of many, a return to Taliban control would surely lead to the Afghanistan of 20 years ago, when women’s rights were greatly reduced. This will only roll back years of progress made to improve the general quality of life of the Afganistan people. 

The US Miscalculated 

A few weeks ago, senior government officials in the Biden administration anticipated it would be months before the civilian government in Kabul was overthrown.

As a result, legislators are now putting pressure on the Biden administration to explain how US intelligence might have miscalculated the conditions on the ground.

What’s Happening Now?

There are horrifying scenes of scared Afghans crowding the tarmac at Kabul’s International Airport; this is followed by news that the Taliban forces have captured the Presidential Palace after the escape of the former civilian president.

According to news reports, Military evacuation flights are scheduled to evacuate civilians from the Kabul airport. The crowded runway and tarmac have now been cleared, and evacuations are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

The news that the US will abandon their allies in Afghanistan was a major contributor to the complete fall of the nation into the hands of the Taliban in less than ten days. 

The world can only watch now as the nation that has only known war for the last hundred years resumes another chapter of oppressive rule under the hands of the Taliban. 

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