During 1994 a group began to form in Afghanistan during the tension that followed the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989. The Soviets were driven out of the country by factions of Islamic fighters, who were supported by the U.S. government. Once the Soviets left, the factions fell apart and everyone wanted control for themselves, leading to a brutal civil war. In 1995 a reporter with the New York Times reported there were major changes happening in the country. The group of Islamic purists used military control to take over large portions of the country. Many of the fighters were originally religious students but together formed a group called the Taliban. Now, the group has seized their first provincial capital, Kabul and for a second time the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan.
What Happened While The Taliban Was In Charge?
The Taliban allowed Osama bin Laden to stay in Afghanistan while he built al-Qaida. On September 11, 2001, al-Qaida viciously attacked the World Trade Center twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. The group used airplanes to carry out their attack, one of the planes went down in a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands of Americans were killed. After 9/11 the U.S. invaded Afghanistan with groups in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance coalition, removing the Taliban from power. The Taliban is known for enforcing a harsh interpretation of the Quran with public punishments, like floggings, amputations and mass executions. The Taliban destroyed towering statues known as the Great Buddhas of Bamiyan, in order to tell the country they would not tolerate any other religious practices. They forced women into submissive roles and barred them from working outside of the home or going to school. Women were supposed to be in full burka and escorted by a man in their family when leaving the home. Many women in Afghanistan fear the rights they gained will be taken away since the Taliban has taken over once again.
What are the Taliban doing now?
Taliban leaders have claimed the people of Afghanistan will be safe. The first few days of Taliban control was restrained in some places. Now, reports of brutality and intimidation are flowing in. In Kunduz, residents fear the Taliban. “I am afraid, because I do not know what will happen and what they will do,” one resident said. “We have to smile at them, because we are scared, but deeply we are unhappy.” The city’s Taliban rulers ordered women who had worked for the government to leave their jobs and never return. In Kabul airport is a chaotic scene as thousands of Afghans are trying to leave the country they now fear. Afghans have been lining up outside ATM machines for days, with many attempting to pull out their life savings to secure a way out of the country. The U.S. embassy has been operating out of the airport to secure evacuations. 15,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan, according to the Biden administration. The Taliban promised “safe passage” to the Kabul airport but that isn’t what people on the ground are reporting. There are reports of women and children being beaten outside the airport. Hundreds of people were outside the airport as the Taliban demanded to see documents before allowing the people inside, which was reportedly rare. The Taliban fired occasional warning shots to disperse them. U.S. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said they have received reports of people being turned away, pushed back or even beaten when trying to access the airport. “We are taking that up in a channel with the Taliban to try to resolve those issues,” Sullivan said. “And we are concerned about whether that will continue to unfold in the coming days.” CBS News reporter Roxana Saberi got out of Afghanistan overnight on a U.S. cargo plane which landed in Qatar. She and her crew were on the plane with about 300 Afghans who fled the Taliban and their home. They left behind thousands of fellow Afghans so desperate to escape that some clung to the U.S. military plane as it took off.
What Does Trump Think?
Trump believes that the U.S. is “being set up by” the Taliban, “I never saw anything so stupid in my life until the last few days with Afghanistan, that blows the stupidity of the southern border away. What’s happening in Afghanistan is unbelievable and we are being set up by very tough people that are very great negotiators. I’ll tell you what, they are automatically great negotiators who have been fighting for a thousand years and everything about them they negotiate. We are being set up and in a certain way I guarantee you they consider them to be hostages and let’s see what happens over the coming weeks.” Trump claimed that he had a “conditions-based agreement” with the Taliban after they agreed a ceasefire with him where if any Americans or allies were harmed then the U.S. would retaliate by bombing parts of the country. Trump says President Biden’s actions have caused “the greatest embarrassment in the history of our country.” Later on Trump said “It’s a great thing that we’re getting out, but nobody has ever handled a withdrawal worse than Joe Biden.”
What Has Biden Said About Taliban In Charge?
Biden has shook off criticism of his decision to withdraw troops from the region. Biden said, “If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision. American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.” “I have no doubt this will be a huge liability for Biden, even if Trump boxed him in,” said Cameron Munter, former United States ambassador to Pakistan. “The thing that is appalling is that the administration had no plan,” said Stephen Heintz, the head of a foundation that has been working on Afghanistan since 2011. “There was scarcely any consultation with NATO and little with the Afghan government. It’s a failure of intelligence, of planning, of logistics, and in the end a political failure, because whatever it is, it’s Biden’s.”
The Biden administration is still deciding whether it will officially recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan. Russia has established ties to the Taliban but does not officially recognize it. However, the ambassador did give the country praise for being “peaceful” in Kabul. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government had “no plans” to recognize the Taliban. What will this change of power mean for the people of Afghanistan? What will it mean for the people of America? Will the Taliban allow terrorists to reside in their country once again? If so, what does that mean for, not only America, but the world?
Written by: Erinn Malloy