In August this year, The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Kabul after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.
Heavily armed Taliban fighters fanned out across the capital, and several entered Kabul’s abandoned presidential palace. The militants held talks with high hopes of forming an open, inclusive Islamic government.
Today, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand women’s rights and denounce Taliban rule. Protesters also chanted anti-Pakistan slogans, as many believe neighboring Pakistan supports the Taliban, which the country denies.
Some journalists including international media were prevented from filming at the rally, and Afghanistan’s Tolo News agency reported that its cameraman was arrested along with some other local and foreign media workers.
Last week, only women were protesting by this week men also joined their calls for equality and safety. Many observers had commented that there were no men at the previous women-led rallies.
The demonstrations come one day after the leader of the anti-Taliban fighters, Ahmad Massoud, called for a “national uprising” by civilians against the militants.
In august, dozens of nations called on all parties involved to respect and facilitate the departure of foreigners and Afghans who wish to leave.
More than 60 nations released the joint statement distributed by the U.S. State Department late Sunday night Washington time.
The statement says that those in power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility and accountability for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.
The nations’ statement also says that roads, airports and border crossings must remain open, and that calm must be maintained.
In the twisting events this week, large numbers of young women were among the crowd. One, chanting “death to Pakistan” alleged the country’s air force had bombed Panjshir, the province where resistance forces have been holding out against the Taliban.
Pakistan has however dismissed those claims, but it’s widely seen that they have for long supported the Taliban’s insurgency. Many in Afghanistan have long deeply resented what they see as Pakistani interference a feeling exacerbated recently by the visit to Kabul of the head of Pakistan’s intelligence services.
The Taliban members in police vehicles initially drove alongside the protesters, not preventing them from demonstrating. However, they later fired volleys of bullets into the air to disperse the crowd, and stopped us and other journalists from filming further.
After the departure of U.S Army, these protests are the biggest challenge to the Taliban’s authority we have seen so far in Kabul, and include bold and direct criticism of the group.
As the insurgents closed in, The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flew out of the country just hours before the Taliban takeover. The former president of Afghanistan left Afghanistan, leaving the country in this difficult situation.
Ghani later posted on Facebook that he left to avert bloodshed in the capital, without mentioning where he had gone.
In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly 20 years to build up Afghan security forces. Just days earlier, an American military assessment estimated that the capital would not come under insurgent pressure for a month.
The fall of Kabul marks the final chapter of America’s longest war, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. A U.S.-led invasion dislodged the Taliban and beat them back, but America lost focus on the conflict in the chaos of the Iraq war.
For years, the U.S. sought an exit from Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban in February 2020 that limited direct military action against the insurgents which allowed the fighters to gather strength and move quickly to seize key areas when President Joe Biden announced his plans to withdraw all American forces by the end of August which was ultimately fulfilled.
Now the country lies in the hands of the most feared deadly Taliban militants, a regime yet to be monitored by international agencies.
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