The story goes back to the great game, when the former empires of Britain and Russia began their march towards the buffer zone of Kabul. And so began the love affair of foreign powers with Afghanistan. The winds of Kabul have never been slave to any outsider, with the history as its concrete evidence per se, many superpowers came to conquer the land but returned with half achieved or no results. The longest and perhaps the most gruelling campaign on the Afghani soil is acquainted with United States.
Retreat of United States
9/11 attacks marked the commencement of U.S military campaign in Afghanistan in order to eliminate the masterminds for the attacks and to exterminate even the slightest probability of future attacks on its soil. What started as the campaign to avenge the national loss soon turned into the global collaboration to put an end to terrorism. The following twenty-one years after 1999, came out to be what’s known as United States longest waged war against any country. But after whatever it could salvage, President Joe Biden announced the retreat of U.S forces before the anniversary of September 11 attacks at any cost. With the evacuation of Bagram airbase, it was official! As of now, almost majority of US forces have left the country which has been followed by the aggressive advancement of Taliban’s troops deep into its territories. As of August 16th, Taliban has captured all the major cities in the country including Kabul. With its forces patrolling across the region, people are in fear and the decision of retreat by US forces has left Afghanistan on its own.
Exodus of Afghans
The president of Afghanistan, Mr. Ashraf Ghani has resigned and left the country with his family as the troops of Taliban overpowered Afghan’s military forces. Little could he do against the might of Taliban that survived 20 years of US forces. Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, there’s no one who could argue against it. And with the commencement of Taliban’s regime 2.0, the strict laws of sharia have once again caught the world’s eye where women are living in fear of child marriage, sex trafficking and ruthless containment of human rights and liberty. People, in absolute fear, are fleeing Kabul, have flooded the airport like ant’s colony. Diplomats of foreign country’s have already been evacuated in the past few weeks as US announced its hasty and unplanned departure, to leave the country with its helpless administration. There is now an absolute regime of Taliban, with no one to question its authority, the fate of the is now measured in the number of bullets fired and body counts of living people.
A Woman’s Dilemma
This regime opens up unhealed wounds for woman. With the furore of women worldwide and within Afghanistan, they are but helpless and at the ‘mercy’ of Taliban. The worst nightmares have become the reality for Afghan’s gender rights activists and by the words of Mahbooba Seraj, “What is happening in Afghanistan today is going to put this country 200 years back”, we can only dare to imagine what future beholds. The incidents of increasing sex trafficking and child marriages are to be a new normal as many incidents are being reported already. Strict Sharia law has been imposed according to which, women of all households are not allowed to go out without a male heir by their side. Education has been termed as haram for women that is not only against the international declaration of human rights but would also drag the females of society deep into abyss of illiteracy, dependency, violence and abuse. Every activist watch in sheer horror what’s happening in Afghanistan and the women of the society succumbs into the palette of extreme orthodox suppression which would leave them out in open to survive for the bare minimum. The long wars and exhausting promises to restructure Afghan society are a thing of past. The guns now guard the parliament and bullets determine the day-to-day allowances.
In a recent address to the world, president Joe Biden stressed on his decision to leave Afghanistan. He reiterated on the fact that this burden had to be stopped and he didn’t want it to be a part of United States legacy anymore. Clearly, under the new administration, United States would be prioritising self-interests and it is the people of Afghan state that are living in horrors and uncertainty. This decision, of United States, isn’t being seen eye to eye by many human rights activists and Afghani voxpopuli who have termed it as a cold-blooded betrayal. Taliban has marched into the parliament and this might be the most important geopolitical event in recent times. China and Pakistan seem to harmonise their relations with the new ‘government’ and little seems for the options for any other foreign power which wishes to establish and protect its interests within the country. The region of middle east is set to rumble with uncertainty once again. It brings India out in a tough spot for it has always supported the agenda of Afghan owned and Afghan led government. But with people fleeing to other countries and remaining being mum in fear, this hardly qualifies for the Indian foreign policy agenda pertaining to Afghanistan. There is not much that can be done and it seems, in order to protect its investments and for the sake of the agendas of foreign policy and security, India is left but with meagre compromise to deal with the current situation. The situation may exacerbate as Pakistan who is seen historically close to Taliban is also at average terms with India. With China trying to press for its Belt and road Initiative, Afghanistan would be a perfect stop along the road. The times are unpredictable more than ever and only our decisions will alter the consequences but as of now Afghanistan is a Taliban regime and people there are but a bunch of disbanded culture. Until the time of United States, there was a hope for free and democratic Afghanistan and, now, with the US gone, so went the hope for a free and democratic Afghanistan. The era of Taliban has begun, so it seems, and the virtue of soft power is now anyone’s most valuable asset! The winds of Kabul have been slave to no outsider, considering the fact one can merely comprehend, if its time for new shackles for its people and women who for past twenty years were in absolute hope to see their country at peace and a worthy home to next generations.
Abhinav is the editor of the Politics section at the policy observer. (The views expressed in this publication are personal.)
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