On August 15th, 20 years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to fight the “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan’s government collapsed. In place of it, the Taliban, a Deobandi Islamist religious-political movement and military organization, are back in power.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban said at a press conference that Afghans will no longer be able to get to the airport in Kabul as the route to the airport has been shut down. This has posed a great problem for the citizens of Afghanistan.
“We are not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore and we are not happy with it either.” Mujahid said at a press conference.
He also assured foreign embassies and aid agencies that they would remain open. However, the international community has been skeptical of such pledges since reports of human rights abuses and concerns that the situation will deteriorate further after international forces leave the country.
With the Taliban now in complete control, people are determined to leave the country, women especially. This is because women were prohibited from finding employment and were also forbidden to attend schools and universities during the time in the past when the Taliban ruled.
There are many thousands of people trapped in fear in Afghanistan. Thousands have tried to escape, taking advantage of the opportunities that other countries have channeled through providing aircrafts to transport citizens abroad. In doing so however, families have been separated due to the chaos that has unraveled because of the great need to escape.
The evacuation of citizens who do not wish to live in a place where the Taliban now controls, should be the responsibility of the international community. A situation exists where innocent people and children are in danger because their government failed them, and a wicked entity has taken power. That is not a matter of politics, it is an issue of human survival.
Most of these Afghan citizens who are trying to escape their homeland are educated and employed. Taliban are creating an environment in which people’s skills are no longer required or wanted, making their desire to escape more heightened than ever. Women are particularly impacted by this. It seems unjust for countries around the world not to send enough aircrafts so that these people can be relocated to countries where their careers can flourish and where children and families can be supported.
By 1998, the Taliban controlled over 90% of the country following an uprising caused by the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the early 1990s. In 1996, they overthrew the Afghan government and had taken Kabul.
The United States removed the Taliban from power in 2001, but they have been on the offense again in recent months and are poised to reclaim power. Having advanced throughout Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents returned to power in Kabul on August 16th. Western nations are deploying forces to evacuate their citizens from the capital. In such times, it is the responsibility of the global community to show solidarity and support for one another, and put the wellbeing of others ahead of political perspectives.
People who are trying to flee the Taliban have little hope for a future, as their lives are at stake, so they rely on us greatly. This must be communicated to our leaders. A world of peace can only be achieved through kindness and mutual aid. They are the small steps that the world needs to take, and this humanitarian crisis is a great opportunity for the international community to drive this ideology forward.