Afghanistan Update

On Sept. 12, the Taliban’s higher education minister Abdul Beqi Haqqani announced  that women can continue their education as long as they wear Islamic dress and classrooms are gender-segregated. 

This is only the newest update since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Aug. 15, about two weeks before the U.S. planned to withdraw from its 20-year occupation.

“I was confused and angry at how much time the U.S. spent there, only to have such an unfortunate turn of events,” said senior Daniele Doctor. “In addition, the news of how the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, fled while his people were in peril, only made me more scared for the future of the country and its people.”

Videos shared on social media showed mass amounts of people at the Kabul International Airport trying to flee the country.

According to an interview conducted by the Associated Press with a U.S. consular officer, “Even more upsetting were the children who got inside the airport separated from family. As many as 30 children a day, many confused and all of them frightened, were showing up alone for evacuation flights.”

Some online users drew comparisons between the Vietnam War, but others disagreed.

“The Vietnam War is very different,” said senior Nawaf Alyousif. “The U.S. started the war to prevent Vietnam from becoming a communist country. However, in Afghanistan, the forces had the task of eliminating threats of terrorist organizations.”

One week later, 13 U.S. troops and at least 169 Afghans were killed at the same airport due to a suicide bombing conducted by ISIS-K.

According to the Associated Press, “In all, 2,455 U.S. service members were killed in the Afghanistan War. In terms of federal budget, Congress has allocated a bit over $1 trillion to the Department of Defense for the Afghanistan War.”

After the U.S. sent out its last flight from Afghanistan, President Biden addressed the nation and defended his decision to withdraw all troops and end the war after heavy criticism.

“I was not going to extend this forever war,” he said. “And I was not going to extend a forever exit. To those asking for a third decade of war in Afghanistan, I ask, ‘What is the vital national interest?’” 

Since the late 1990s, when the Taliban was last in power, Afghanistan has become more industrialized and educated than before.

According to the Associated Press, “For now, the Taliban appear less interested in imposing restrictions on daily life than in getting the country running again.”

Despite the Taliban’s recent stance on educating women, women have been banned from sports. Additionally, an all-male interim government was recently announced on Sept. 7, with key members from their previous rule.

According to the Associated Press, “Appointed to the key post of interior minister was Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $6 million bounty on his head and is believed to be holding at least one American hostage.”

Not only is Afghanistan amid a major power transfer, but they are also struggling financially.

In a news conference on Thursday, Kanni Wignaraja, the U.N. Development Program’s Asia-Pacific Director, said, “Afghanistan pretty much faces universal poverty by the middle of next year. That’s where we’re heading – it’s a 97-98% (poverty rate) no matter how you work these projections.”

While some people may have conflicting thoughts about these events, many hope that the people of Afghanistan are safe above all else.

“I feel absolutely helpless to all tragedies of human rights abuses occurring anywhere,” said Doctor. “I pray for those impacted by the Taliban’s new control of government. I hope that the future has brighter days for the Afghan people.”



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