Afghanistan is no stranger to violence and instability. From the communist revolution in the 1970s to the rise and fall of the Taliban between 1996 and 2001, the country and its people have endured thousands of bombings and assaults. Today, violence within the country is at an all-time high due to the spread of ISIL and the re-emergence of the Taliban. With both groups aiming to undermine the weak political structures within Afghanistan, it has resulted in the collapse of numerous cities and the deaths of hundreds of citizens.
The most recent attack took place on Tuesday May 15 , when the Taliban stormed the western city of Farah. The Taliban overran various security points on the outskirts of the city. Two days later, the Taliban launched a second assault and managed to take control of the city’s main square before U.S. forces were able to drive the terrorist group out of the city.
While Farah was able to escape the clutches of the Taliban, it seems like the city of Ajristan will suffer a less fortunate fate. Being under attack for weeks, a report released this Sunday by the district governor, Mawlawi Hamdullah, said Arjistan is on the verge of collapsing. In the process of their takeover, the Taliban has killed numerous government officials, police officers, and various other authority figures to prevent anyone from challenging them. Furthermore, the Taliban has successfully taken control of the main roads leading to and from the city and is preventing citizens from leaving.
With there being no one to protect the citizens and no way for them to escape from this Taliban rule, the people of Arjistan feel extremely vulnerable. Although the Taliban has not officially overthrown the district government, they are already implementing their own political structures, setting up a Taliban court on the outskirts of Arjistan. Cases of the court carrying out floggings have been reported, and if the Taliban does successfully overtake the entire city, it is expected even more men, women, and children will suffer the same punishment.
As well as raiding cities and overthrowing district governments, the Taliban has also commenced a Spring offensive; an annual event where they bomb numerous cities sporadically. This has resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of citizens. On April 26, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked an army base in the southern Helmand province, killing four civilians and two soldiers. The Taliban has also attacked the capital city of Kabul numerous times, bombing a police station on May 9 and a residential neighborhood five days later.
However, the Taliban is not the only terrorist group present in Afghanistan, as ISIL is also wreaking havoc across the nation with their own bombings. On May 13, ISIL planted and blasted a car bomb near a government building in Kabul. The blast severely injured 42 civilians and killed eight victims.
Two weeks prior to the government building bombing, ISIL also organized a terrorist attack specifically targeted at journalists. Setting off a bomb in Kabul, multiple news agencies gathered to the sight of the explosion. However, the first bomb was only a decoy. Once journalists arrived, an ISIL suicide bomber, disguised as a camera man, detonated a second bomb and killed 10 journalists and 19 innocent bystanders.
As the Taliban and ISIL continue their crusades of violence, more and more innocent citizens continue to suffer. Hundreds have already died because of the bombings orchestrated by both groups and hundreds more have been severely injured. Furthermore, with the Taliban looking likely to overtake Arjistan, it is expected that Afghani’s living in the city will return to Taliban rule. Given what happened the last time the Taliban was in power, it is expected that the inhabitants of Arjistan will have many freedoms stripped away and lead a life of suffering and misery. If action is not taken soon to protect Afghani’s from the spread of ISIL and the Taliban, then more death and destruction is to come in Afghanistan’s way.