An Overview of the Taliban’s Track Record in One Year
By conquering Kabul on August 15, 2021, the Taliban nullified the 20-year achievements of the Afghan people. This group overthrew a government that was built with the blood of thousands of soldiers and billions of dollars from the international community. Ashraf Ghani, the former president, on a hot summer afternoon, while more than 50,000 security forces were guarding Kabul, despite the promises and slogans of standing up and defending the system, left the people under the blade of the Taliban and fled the country.
A situation was experienced in the country that the history of Afghanistan had rarely seen. With the control of Kabul, the Taliban announced national security. Subsequently, they announced a general amnesty and promised of improving people’s livelihood. In the one-year rule of this group over Afghanistan, the group could nattier establish rule of law nor could improve the security. The country was caught in various crises. People sold their body parts and children. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, one of the most feared international terrorist groups’ leader, was killed by an American drone in the heart of Kabul. Hundreds of former security forces were arrested, tortured and killed. The Taliban shot and beheaded hundreds of civilians under various pretexts. Field executions increased. Poverty and hunger reached its most critical stage – to the extent that people sold their children and body part to feed them and survive so. The economy collapsed. Civil liberties and citizenship rights were abolished. Women were completely removed from the public sphere and their protests were suppressed in the most severe way possible. The human capital fled the country and now Afghanistan has turned into a big prison for its citizens.
Security and Social Welfare
The Taliban refer to providing national security as a trump card. However, the figures of civilian casualties, the increase in riots and thefts, suicide and explosive attacks by the ISKP in the country have become a new problem for the Taliban. Kidnapping, serial assassinations and arbitrary arrests have made people very worried. In the past year, people have become more hopeless about the future than ever before. The Taliban could not provide services and closed the education doors to girls. They eliminated government institutions and made thousands of employees unemployed. They did not provide any development plan for social and economic welfare, which adds another problem to people’s problems every day. In one year of this group’s rule, the Taliban have inflicted massive casualties on civilians. Terrorist and criminal events have increased and most people live below the poverty line.
The Taliban did not allow international human rights organizations to prepare reports from the war zones. Despite the vast limitations of the Taliban, the “ACLED” has reported that since the presence of the Taliban, 2,713 incidents have occurred in the country. These events include 269 cases of extortion and usurpation, 983 armed conflicts, 277 protests, 393 explosions, and 791 cases of direct Taliban violence against civilians. In these events, 4 103 people have been killed and in 288 cases, soldiers and employees of the former government were targeted.
According to the findings of this report, 493 members of the former security forces have been assassinated. The Taliban have killed 485 people in the Panjshir and Baghlan wars, most of whom were civilians. This is despite the fact that according to the investigative report of the New York Times, which was conducted in the first six months of Taliban rule, more than 500 former security forces have been killed or arrested.
The Formation of Armed Resistances
After the Taliban captured Afghanistan without a conflict, a number of government figures, including Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president, led by Ahmad Massoud, escaped to Panjshir and announced the National Resistance Front (NRF) against the Taliban. After a few weeks, Panjshir was captured by the Taliban and members of the resistance front fled the country and sought shelter in Tajikistan. This front has continued its resistance with guerrilla warfare. In the past one year, Panjshir, Andrab and Khost district of Baghlan province have witnessed heavy battles between the forces of the resistance front and the Taliban fighters. In this one year, the Taliban have forced hundreds of civilians to leave their homes and lands in these areas and in most cases they have been shot dead. The National Resistance Front held an official meeting in Iran with the Taliban’s foreign minister, but they did not reach an agreement. Besides this front, other fronts have been activated that target the Taliban and Taliban bases across the country. The Azadegan Front is one of the other fronts whose armed resistance has been felt so far and has caused casualties to the Taliban. The National Resistance Front and Azadegan Front and other armed forces confronting the Taliban have announced that they will not stop armed resistance unless Taliban do not surrender to their demands and practically work on forming an inclusive government that is derived from the people’s vote and will. But the Taliban have continuously said that their government is inclusive and shown no interest and importance to the demands of the fronts.
The Taliban’s Lack of Commitment to the World and the Presence of the Al-Qaeda Leader in Kabul
During the Doha peace talks, the Taliban had promised the international community, especially the United States of America, that they would not give shelter to other terrorist groups in Afghanistan. The United Nations has published a 25-page report about the safe and secure presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan. This report states that al-Qaeda is planning in Afghanistan. The killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Kabul, showed that the Taliban have not cut ties with other terrorist groups. Although the Taliban initially denied his presence, later the spokesman of this group called his presence an intelligence vacuum which was met with widespread domestic and foreign reactions.
On the very first days of Taliban’s entrance to Kabul, thousands of people were rushing to the Kabul airport. Among these people, there were also hundreds of university professors and specialists in various fields who were truing desperately to leave the country. With the dominance of this group, many young, specialized and educated troops left Afghanistan in the past year. Disappointment, removal and suppression of civil and political freedoms and creation of an atmosphere of suffocation and espionage have taken the ground of staying and attachment of many social forces who were thinking of serving the country, and every day the elites of different spectrums of the country leave.
Mujhda Noor, a university professor, says that the efficient and effective development, stability, and use of natural and financial resources are directly related to effective human capital. A geography with all its natural reserves cannot develop without specialized personnel.
However, this university professor adds that the depletion of society from enlightened, creative people with leadership and entrepreneurial qualities will cause economic stagnation and administrative and social anarchism in the short term. According to him, in the medium term, this will lead to backwardness, increasing social tensions and destructive discrimination, and in the long term, it will lead to a static society, an ignorant and dark generation lacking any worldview, broad thinking and thinking for progress, and as a result it will result in “creating and growing extremism, terrorism and violence”.
Similarly, Sayed Ferdous Zaki, a student of international relations in Russia, believes that the Taliban have destroyed the atmosphere of trust between the Afghan people and the government. According to this student, a door-to-door search operation and religious and ethnic discriminatory behavior of this group have caused most of the knowledgeable and caring forces to leave the country. According to Mr. Zaki: “Taliban’s lack of trust in the people has created a favorable environment for the departure of a group of people, and with the departure of young and trained forces from Afghanistan, the hope for any changes and reforms in this country has turned into despair.”
Increasing People’s Dissatisfaction
In addition to defection, displacement and the fall of values of the past two decades, the average urban society, which plays a central role in the emergence and growth of people’s demands and the development of a country, was destroyed. Thousands of jobs were removed off from the markets in the country and people became unemployed. The level of people’s dissatisfaction has increased in spite of repression and fear.
Seyar, an educated citizen has worked for many years in various government positions and has managed many employees. Speaking to Hasht-e Subh, Mr. Seyar said: “One year has passed since the surrender of the country and the people of Afghanistan to the Taliban by the republic traitors, and this year was full of nightmares and full of despair and hopelessness for me.” According to Mr. Seyar, the sudden collapse of the republican system was an immediate and unbelievable change for him and other citizens. He adds: “For me and thousands of citizens like me, this instant transformation was unbelievable; Destruction of hopes and dreams for decades that we were trying to achieve. Our wish was peace and well-being of the people, a healthy and educated society, democracy and freedom.
Mr. Sear says: “During the last one year, I have witnessed regret and despair, unemployment and desperate poverty in the alleys of Kabul and some provinces, that even people have sold their children for a bag of flour and rice, which could not be sadder than this human tragedy. “What has been more painful for this citizen of the country than other calamities is the exclusion of women and their deprivation of the right to education and work. Mr. Seyar says with a painful feeling: “what real tortures my feelings is that Taliban’s moves are contrary to all religious and Islamic teachings and values. Taliban is a project that is missed to take back the country to age of stone.”
Omid, a resident of Badghis province, calls the situation of living under the shadow of insecurity, economic collapse and increasing poverty and hunger a “catastrophic”. This resident of Badghis Province adds that during the last one year the people have last freedom for personal and collective life. According to him, the Taliban has established a “tyrannical” system and everyone is forced to “say yes” in order to avoid facing Taliban.
Junidullah (pseudonym), a civil servant in Kabul, says that in the past one year, the Taliban have treated him as an outsider and have always said: “You deserved to be killed, thank God that we accepted you as an agent and more than that.” You have no right to speak.” He calls the current situation regrettable and disappointing.
With the domination of the Taliban, the investors and institutions that had enabled the employment and work environment favorable for the citizens have left the country. With the withdrawal of the main and moving force of development from Afghanistan, the scale of poverty has significantly increased. Due to extreme poverty, some citizens in different provinces sold their children. With the collapse of the republican order, the poor families who had lost their bread, were willing to sell one of them in order to keep their children alive. Fariba, a woman who has sold her two daughters in Farah province, told Hasht-e-Subh: “I sold my two daughters because I had nothing… I am poor, I have no one and nothing.” Some families in Herat have also sold their children. One of these men told Hasht-e-Subh that he would sell all his children to escape poverty. However, Sher Mohammad, one of the residents of Mazar-e-Sharif city, narrates the changes in his life like this: “Come on! For ten years, you have been saying that we are regressing, not progressing. Let me give you an example. all our men members of the relative would work, but now they are all unemployed and wait for a miracle from God.”
Sarina, one of the women who previously held a government job, says that her only brother was killed by the Taliban during last year’s wars. According to Sarina, she is now the guardian of his “brother and family orphans”. This woman, who has lost her job, lives in poverty and has to sell her household goods and appliances every day to save her brother’s orphans from starvation. She is now in a bad economic situation and says that her life has become turned to a burden and Taliban are an addition to this burden,” she says.
Persecution of Ethnic Groups
Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic, religious and linguistic country. With the dominance of the Taliban group in Afghanistan, explosive and suicide attacks on ethnic minorities, especially religious minorities, have increased. As a large ethnic group, the Hazaras, who held the position of second vice-president in the past two decades and played a valuable and active role at various levels of the government, have been completely removed from the body of the Taliban’s governance structure. Currently, only one Hazara is working as the Deputy Minister of Economy of the Taliban, who, according to most people, has no role in decision making. He is more of a symbolic figure to show off. The group forced their only Hazara affiliated commander to flee the country and raid on is district and village that resulted in his dismissal from the scene and blood shade in the district.
Other small religious and ethnic minorities were forced to leave the country under the rule of the Taliban. Sikhs and Hindus who have left the country in mass numbers is the clear example of zero level tolerance of Taliban.
Dawood Naji, one of the political activists and senior advisor to the office of the National Security Council of the former government, believes that Hazaras have always been unimaginable in Afghanistan. Mr. Naji says: “Since Abdul Rahman, who created Afghanistan with the current geography and massacred the Hazaras, usurped their fertile lands in Kandahar and Zabul and forced them to migrate to the central difficult areas and gifted their pastures to the nomadic tribes, until now. According to him: “What has happened in the past year is that in the ideology of the Taliban and other extremist ethnic groups, the element of religion has been added to it and has sharpened the blade against the Hazaras. You should pay attention to the speeches of Shaikh Hakim Haqqani, who officially calls the Shiites as Rafizi and excommunicates them. This political activist adds that the killings of Hazaras have a historical factor. According to him: “The cause of the killing is historical and it has been carried out whenever possible during the course of history.”
Record of the Terrorist Attacks Against Ethnics and Religious Minorities
In one year of Taliban’s rule, suicide attacks and explosions, which are the invention of this terror group has continued. In the first months of this group’s rule, an explosion targeted Abdul Rahim Shahid school in the west of Kabul city, as a result of which more than 11 people were killed and 25 others were injured. In another attack on a mosque in Kunduz, more than 50 people were killed and wounded. In another explosion that occurred a week later in Kandahar province, killed 40 people and injured 70 others. Similar attacks targeted norther provinces of Balkh and Kunduz that resulted in to kill more than 11 and injured 18 others.
In a report published by the United Nations, 120 people have been killed and wounded in the west of Kabul as a result of the bloody attacks during the month of Muharram this year. After the attack on the positions of the Shiites, the small religious and ethnic community of Afghanistan was not spared from the attack. On Saturday morning, the last place of worship of the Sikh community in Afghanistan was attacked by a terrorist, as a result of which three people were killed and more than seven people were injured. The Sikh and Hindu population of the country, which once had a significant population in Afghanistan, are now leaving the country.
Removal of Women from Society
When the Taliban formed their cabinet, they eliminated the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. They ordered all female government employees to stay at home. This group also ordered girls’ schools to be closed until further notice. A year has passed since this second notification and the gates of educational institutions have not yet been opened for girls. In reaction to the discriminating decision on women and girls related matters, thousands of women staged on the street and protested against the Taliban which unfortunately dispatched by weapon and violence and many of them were taken away to unknown locations. But the brave mothers and sisters of Afghan women have continued their protests in different ways. On the occasion of one year of the government collapse, several women came to the streets on Saturday, August 13 this week, but Taliban suppressed the their protest once again. Many protesting girls and women are missing and have disappeared so far and Taliban do not respond to any inquiry regarding their cases and whereabouts.
Women’s protests have always been praised by the country’s citizens as one of the peaceful resistances. These protests based on the slogan “bread, work and freedom” have been widely welcomed domestically and internationally. According to analysts, the spread of this movement and slogan can be a source of hope for the formulation of human demands of the people in the larger human sphere. After the Taliban closed the education doors to girls and pushed them back behind the walls women in the country continued to hold civil protests in a sustainable and widespread way throughout the world and demanded the provision of women’s rights and civil liberties.
Farhanaz Mostofawi, a women’s rights activist and one of the protestors of the women’s movements, believes that the struggle of women in the past year has brought hope to everyone that they can fight and protest to fulfill their demands in any situation. Speaking to Hasht-e Subh, she said: “Today, the Afghan women have tested the forehead of the 200-year history of endless oppression, which can be fought with iron rods, shameful violence, and the historical cowardice of those who have the power in the control, market hawkers who rely on others with demagoguery and a fake palace made of lies will shake and fall on the black soil.
Mostafawi adds that the suppression of women’s protests in Afghanistan has shown: “This group is not familiar with any human values, except gun.” She emphasizes: “Today’s Afghan women showed that the rulers of ARG are so shaken by the voice of truth that there is no reason to talk to their people except showing gun.” Fearing their Pakistani and Chinese masters, they hide behind the imaginary fire, honor of bloodshed and murder. She considers women’s struggle to be a war of two identities and states: “The women’s protest yesterday was a war of two identities: one wrote a history of honor and honesty for himself, and the other wrote a history of humility, meanness, and unemployment in his garbage dump.”
This women’s rights activist emphasizes that women will not stop fighting “until we write the blackness of history on the foreheads of false powers.”
However, Maryam Haddad is one of the business women. During the republic, she had a restaurant and a sports club. This business woman, who had enabled work environment favorable for women and created job opportunities, says that when the news of the Taliban rule spread in the city, all her employees cried and they still cry for the sack of their freedom.
This business woman says of her bad feeling and despair: “I felt very bad when I heard that Afghanistan was conquered by the Taliban. It was really painful to hear and understand this. At that moment, all my dreams were destroyed. Dreams that I thought I would achieve one day.” According to her, it was not only the day of the fall of a system, but also the fall of women’s values and aspirations. She emphasizes: “The hopes of women have become the same as the soil. A year has passed since the torch of women’s knowledge and awareness went out, and our protests are still being responded with violence and weapon. Though the Taliban’s lobbyist tried to portray a different picture of them, but they have not changed. We only want the legitimate rights of women. Our dreams of living a dignified life have been Women are paying the price of regime change with deprivation from their basic rights.”
Tahera is a teacher in Herat city. She has similar story of sorrow and disappointment. Tahera, who was interested in teaching is now deprived of this opportunity of serving her society. This teacher, who has now migrated to Iran, says: “No one likes to immigrate, but the fate of the times forced me to leave my home and my house.”
Media censorship has been another debatable topic during the last one year rule of Taliban This group restricted the freedom of the media and imposed extensive pressure on the media from the very first days of their entrance to Kabul.. They searched the phones of citizens and violated people’s privacy and continued to suppress and impose restrictions on the media. Media activists consider the lack of right to access information, censorship, fear, arrest, torture, and assigning responsibility in media affairs as the most important factors in the decline of freedom of expression and media in Afghanistan. However, the Reporters Without Borders organization said in February this year that Afghanistan has fallen back 34 places in the global ranking of media freedom. According to this report, Afghanistan ranks 156 out of 180 countries with 38 points. This organization also said that the fall of Afghanistan has changed the perspective of Afghan media. This is despite the fact that in the last 20 years, about 350 newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines, more than 80 televisions, at least 200 radios, most of which were FM, had been established in the country. There are several cases that social media network activists and YouTubers have been arrested, suppressed and threatened to death. Ajmal Haghighi, one of the models and YouTubers, has been in Taliban custody for more than a few months. The fighters of this group forced a confession from him and now he is on a sick bed in the prison of the Taliban. Khalid Qadri, one of the journalists in Herat, had written a critical view of the Taliban under the post of a social network user, he was sentenced to one year in prison by the military court of this group and is now in prison.
At the same time, Sediqullah Tawhidi, the executive director of the Journalists’ Immunity Committee, says that during the last one year, the process of media development has been completely stopped, and self-censorship and official censorship are practically applied by the Taliban against the media and people. According to him, the media that operate inside Afghanistan always rely on an official source and this group actually interferes in the affairs of the media.
The head of the Journalists’ Immunity Committee adds that the media operating inside Afghanistan cannot report on any security incident and journalists are not allowed to visit the place of incidents even in Kabul. He emphasizes that a lot of pressure has been imposed on female reporters and anchors.
According to him, the Intelligence Directorate of the Taliban controls and supervises all aspects of the domestic media in Afghanistan. He adds, those who raise a critical point of view about the Taliban regime, their dependents, their family members and their former colleagues are being put under pressure. This is not tyranny, but end of the tyranny.
Mr. adds: “Primitive people and those who do not have the necessary knowledge have relied on the positions of the Taliban administration. They do whatever they want. Most journalists inside are in a very bad situation. The situation is catastrophic. The Taliban does not follow or obey laws, individual commander in his area is the judge and the law. There is no one to question him on his decisions and actions.”
During the last one year, the Taliban rebels have executed several civilians in the field. At the beginning of their rule, this group hanged four people in Herat city and displayed their bodies in public so as to make it a lesson for the rests. Subsequently, this group beat several young couples in public in Ghor province. In Badakhshan Court of Appeal, they set up a field court and beat a boy and a girl for the crime of talking on the phone. Also, this group have executed and whipped several people at the gates of Badakhshan. The Department of Prosperity and Prohibition of Prosperity Prohibition of Evil in the month of Ramadan humiliated a traveler in the public who was accused of not fasting, the Taliban soldiers has placed loaf of bread in his mouth and had tied his hands and had made him roam around the city. In addition, this group in Ghor Province mounted a donkey on its left side and displayed it in the city. Also, a drug addict was accused of stealing a goat.
Taliban have been continuously shooting and torturing people and civilians under various pretexts in the field courts. There are several cases in Panjshir, Andarab, Varsaj Takhar, Balkhab Sarpol and across the country that the group members have shot shepherds, farmers, school teachers and disabled people in handcuffs on the charge of being associated with the resistance front.
Increase in Suicides
Hight rate of poverty, deprivation of education and permanent unemployment and deprivation of individual freedoms have caused a large number of young people to commit suicide. According to the statistics obtained gather by the Hasht-e-Subh, 30 suicide cases, most whom are young boys and girls are recorded since last August. Traditions and cultural factors make most of the suicides not to be revealed and reported. There can be more cases, but due to custom values of family dignitary, the cases might not have been reported.
Zohra Karimi, a women’s rights activist, says that the high rate of female suicides in the country is worrying. According to her, most of those who committed suicide were girls and young women. Mrs. Karimi adds that suppression of civil liberties, unemployment and increasing poverty and Talibanism culture in the number of families cause women to commit suicide. He says that currently women are deprived of all human freedoms, and there is no institution to hear their voices, which results in final decision of committing suicide and putting an end to their life.
She further adds that the continuation of the existing situation and the spread of poverty and family violence will provide the basis for more suicides. Lack of support and care taking institution has made it difficult to reach the victims and their families for support and advice. She adds.
Economic Situation and Service Supply
Level of service supply to citizens has decreased drastically. During this period, not only no the development plan has been planned and implemented, but the development plans and big half-finished projects have been stopped. Construction companies, large government contractors and all the institutions that used worked for the development of the country’s infrastructure have left the country one after the other and transferred their capital outside of Afghanistan.
The Taliban have not yet been able to return the process of distributing passports and ID cards to normal process. A single passport book in the black market is being dealt up to a 1000.00 USD. Taliban instead of controlling this process has turned this into a source of income. According to passport applicants, for the prosperity of this black business, they do not want to speed up and facilitate the distribution and its process for the citizens.
Simultaneously, last week, Johanniter International Assistance announced that Afghanistan’s health system has declined to the situation of 20 years ago due to the cessation of international development aid and economic isolation. According to the officials of this institution, the number of people in need of urgent health humanitarian aid has increased by 33%. In the country’s hospitals, lack of medical staff, lack of medicine and increase in patients are the problems, the health sector face in Afghanistan, The report further add that it was the international community support that managed to control a human tragedy in the last year, but this is not clear that what may happen in the coming year.
Azarakhsh Hafezi, an expert on economic affairs, does not consider last year to be a good year for the economy and people’s livelihood, he believes that poverty has intensified and the economic status of the people as a whole has decreased. According to him: “Poverty has increased to an extent that people have sold their children and body parts, and this is the peak of poverty that a nation can face.”
Mr. Hafizi adds that 35-35% of the gross domestic product has decreased based on the study findings of international institutions, the national income per capita has also decreased and the purchase power of the people has negatively decreased.
This expert on economic affairs says that Afghanistan’s economy was dependent on foreign aid, and when aid was cut off, the “artificial” economy collapsed, and as a result of this collapse, millions of people lost their job and hundreds of thousands of new people from the middle class fell below the poverty line. According to him, the economic situation in general is chaotic and painful.
Mr. Hafizi adds that Afghanistan is excluded from the global financial economy system and cannot use the international SWIFT. He says that according to the investors, about 40% of the factories have stopped operations due to the lack of energy and semi-processed materials imported from abroad.
The Hope to Form an Inclusive Government
International community and the countries who have been the supporter of Taliban have asked the Taliban to form an all-inclusive system in order to establish relations with the world and to gain recognition.
The UN Security Council has said in its resolution that until the Taliban do not form an inclusive government that is people oriented, the world’s interactions with this group will not resume.
One day after the fall of Kabul, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement, demanding the establishment of negotiations and the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan. The statement of this institution stated that the Taliban should form an inclusive government and recognize “full, equal and meaningful rights”.
Now that a year has passed, despite many efforts, this group has not been able to gain the confidence of the international community and the people of Afghanistan and to provide the ground for the presence of all the political and plural forces of the society, and even the countries that support this group have not recognized them. To face Taliban, several collations and front groups have been formed inside and outside the country which put a matter of question mark on the fate of the country and make the game more complicated.
[highlight color=”gray”]Amin Kawa, Hasht-e Subh Persian[/highlight]