Can’t keep up with all of the news circulating on the internet — whether fake or true? We got you with “Fact Check,” our column breaking down viral stories and confirming or denying their validity one researched-based piece at a time. Come here for the facts.
Presently, the Taliban has an inescapable media presence globally. As viral footage broadcasts of Afghanistan citizens chasing an airborne U.S. military plane down a runway, the world is becoming more informed about the fear that inspired locals to try and hang off the aircraft. The Taliban have obtained control of the nation and settled in the presidential palace in Kabul mere weeks ahead of the scheduled American troop withdrawal.
For two decades, the United States has assisted the Afghan government in keeping the Taliban at bay. In light of this, President Biden has received backlash for his “... the buck stops with me” approach toward population-promised protection. Still, some may not understand what makes the ultraconservative political and religious faction threatening to the outside country’s people.
A complicated archive provided more concise, is as follows, “The Taliban emerged as a force for social order in 1994 in the southern Afghan province of Kandahār and quickly subdued the local warlords who controlled the south of the country. By late 1996, popular support for the Taliban among Afghanistan’s southern Pashtun ethnic group, as well as assistance from conservative Islamic elements abroad, had enabled the faction to seize the capital, Kabul, and gain effective control of the country... By 2001 the Taliban controlled all but a small section of northern Afghanistan,” per Britannica.
In response to the devastating Sept. 11th attacks, power was regained by the Afghan government following a U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan. The predominantly Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist are equipped with suicide bombers, guerrilla warfare tactics, and shooters who have assassinated key Afghan justice leaders. The collectives “by any means necessary” method of dominion renews anxieties regarding regulated policies to come. AP has chronicled previous laws noting “...women were barred from attending school or working outside the home. They had to wear the all-encompassing burqa and be accompanied by a male relative whenever they went outside. The Taliban banned music, cut off the hands of thieves and stoned adulterers.”
Ahead of the recent insurgency in Afghanistan, women’s rights improved, international agencies helped advocate for distinct clinics, and “...mortality rates among children have decreased,” according to NPR. Phumzile Mlambo, a South African politician, the United Nations under-secretary-general, and executive director of UN Women has elevated concern toward the future. She tweeted, “Please spare a thought for the people women and girls of Afghanistan. A tragedy unfolds in front of our eyes.”
This week during his first news conference in Kabul, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid assured his public there would be a more inclusive government. Women and girls were verbally guaranteed to maintain rights so long as they fell “... within the bounds of Shariah law,” reported Bloomberg. Headlines from separate corners of the globe are inquiring if limited freedom is true liberation. From an American perspective, our administration thinks not.
President Biden has said in a televised address, “I know there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghan civilians sooner. Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier... Part of it because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering... a crisis of confidence.” Nevertheless, his public sentiments negate a lack of preparation for the sudden overtaking by the Taliban. From a militant perspective, the loss is troubling among various authorities about the strength of our nation’s forces.
More specifically, an Afghan interpreter for the U.S. military informed CNN, “I feel like we were abandoned... There is no way for me to evacuate my family... Whoever I am calling to get help for this matter, nobody answers. I keep sending emails to different people. Nobody responds to me back.” President Biden announced his withdrawal was “hard and messy.” He doubled down on the earlier perspectives, adding, “We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong.” However, that figure has also been disproved by the aforementioned platform.
The government watchdog outline’s SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION section acknowledges “... questionable accuracy of data on the actual strength of the force.” Additionally, it documents that by July 30, 2021, “Fewer than a thousand U.S. military personnel remain there ...” With such reduced energies, Afghan workers of the U.S. military may feel as though they were left in a vulnerable position during a globally sensitive period. Beyond repeated insurgency efforts against allied armed units, the Taliban also has a history postured in opposition to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As this year’s toll continues to rise, civilian casualties by way of Taliban violence are innumerable, covering 20 years.
As maintained by the United Nations, “More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009.” Further, NPR data supports that “80% of the nearly 250,000 people in Afghanistan who have been forced to flee their homes since the end of May have been women and children...” For those who value the wellness of matriarchs, these figures may knot one’s stomach. Women of color warrant protection.
Foreign jurisdictions, such as Germany’s, have ceased their development compensation concerning Afghanistan-based structures. A lack of outside funding causes the surrounding control to demonstrate their self-reliance. While Taliban leaders claim in televised interviews to endeavor beside Afghan natives without retaliation confronting those who worked with former officials, belief is fleeting.
Overseas at France 24, then Afghan journalists spoke to French reporters under the condition of anonymity. “A broadcaster in Afghanistan said she was hiding at a relative’s house, too frightened to return home much less return to work following reports that the insurgents are also looking for journalists... She feared for her safety,” the outlet wrote. While new statements are refreshed globally, history has a habit of repeating itself.
Information coming from Afghan sources beyond the powers that be may transpire at life-threatening prices. The Council On Foreign Relations confirms that “... experts say the Taliban threatens Afghan democratic institutions, citizens’ rights, and regional security.” How separate nations organize will soon be widespread publicly. The desperation captured on film by residents attempting to flee Taliban rule was not exclusive to women.