Afghanistan prolonged crisis: Critical analyses

Reading time : 8 minutes

INTRODUCTION-

 “The War Being Fought in Afghanistan Is Bringing About a Fundamental Change To The Environment That Has Given Rise and Power to The Extremists Export Terrorism.”                                                  

INSTITUTION-

In the generation of diplomates, military personal, aid provider and policy maker, the scenarios of war always being a centre of the attraction from the last few decades and the world wars are the most historical tale in its context. The context is about the whereabouts and strategies of so-called terrorist group named Taliban who consider themselves as protector of Islam, but are nothing just a terror group trying to spread Islam forcefully in outer world & the increased terror in Afghanistan and war between US and Taliban of almost 20 years clearly predicts that. This article will be clearly based on Taliban, their strategies, their ideologies, and covering near about all the events happened in 20 years since they were removed and conquered again in august 2021. From the reason behind the formation of Taliban group, Al-Qaeda sanctuary and rise of terrorism to the current situation in Afghanistan. The loss of the human rights of the Afghan people especially women and girls who are strictly bound by the rules of sharia law. Totally banned on music, television, cinema and cultural activities. Why did the war happened and all the consequences for the same and what is going to be next step by Taliban after conquering Afghanistan?

 Will women be safe, work, be independent and survive the old Taliban cruelty? Has Taliban really changed? What all can international organisations can do to protect them? Evacuation of how many people from Afghanistan so far?

All these major concerns our elaborated for more detailed information.

We start with the most important question that is who are Taliban?

The Taliban or basically students in the Pashto language, made an appearance in the early 1990s in northern Pakistan following the withdrawal of soviet troops from Afghanistan. the Taliban is a Deobandi Islamic religious and political and military organisation in Afghanistan. it was founded by Mohammed Omar and Abdul Ghani Baradari on September 1994 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It was believed that they were dominant as Pashtun Movement[1], they first appeared in religious seminars and were mostly paid by the Saudi Arabia. They also addressed themselves as followers of Sunni Islam.

During the formation of the Taliban, in the Pashtun areas expanding in Pakistan and Afghanistan it was formed for restoring peace, security and majority enforcing their own version of Sharia or Islamic law once they were in power. Starting from the south-western Afghanistan, the Taliban immediately extended their influence collectively. In September 1995 they captured Herat, borders of Iran, and within one year they captured the Kabul, by vanquishing the regime of President Burhanuddin Rabbani. He was one of the founding fathers of the Afghan mujahideen[2] that clearly resisted the soviet occupation. With successive nature they control almost 90% of Afghanistan.

Afghans, exhausted of the mujahideen’s excesses and infighting after the soviets were driven out, they welcomed the Taliban when they had first screen appearance. Their popularity got increased for stamping out corruption and curbing lawlessness and safety purpose but with the condition of several punishment and strict rules of Sharia law which were to be followed like public executions convicted by murderers and adulterers, elimination foe those found guilty for theft. Women were dominantly barred from working or studying and were totally confined to their home unless they were accompanied by the male guardian of the house. They were strictly told to wear all covering Burqa. Girls were disapproved for studying in schools. Men were required to grow beards. They even banned music, cinema, television and various cultural activities. They were accused of violating many human rights and cultural abuses.   

BACKGROUND-

The war between Afghanistan and US forces is the conflict of 20 years. There were many events that happened during this time. Starting from 9/11 event till Taliban capturing power again in Afghanistan again in 2021. In the first place, on 11 September 2001 9/11 event occurred, Al-Qaeda[3], led by Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan carried out the largest terror attack on us soil.[4] Around four commercial were hijacked followed by the two planes flown into World Trade Centre in New York. From which one crashes in pentagon building and the other one in Pennsylvania. Near about 3000 people were killed. Second event, on 7 October 2001 US led an alliance in which they bombarded Taliban and Al-Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan and also targeted major places like Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad. Since Taliban took power after a long decade, they refused to hand over Bin Laden and followed the civil war.

On 13 November 2001, was the fall of Kabul when the northern alliance and anti-Taliban rebels came together with lot of force and Taliban ran away from Afghanistan. On 26 January 2004, a new constitution was made and signed into law, presidential elections also held during October same year. Hamid Karzai becomes the first President in December 2004. In May 2006, US tropes came in Helmand Province to support some construction projects but attacked by the Taliban from south side more than 450 British troops lost their lives.

As the British troops lost many lives during the conflict US President Barak Obama approves to increase the no. of troops in Afghanistan for safety and protecting civilians. Reportedly after some years in May 2011 Osama Bin Laden (Al-Qaeda Leader) was killed by the assault US navy in Pakistan[5]. His body was buried into the sea. There were numerous Taliban attacks on Kabul, in September 2012 and the group carried a high-profile raid on NATO’s camp bastion base. Nearly in 2013 a kind of peace was negotiated, when the Taliban decides to open their Qatar office, but violence remained the same all over. In April 2013, occurred the death of the Leader of Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Though his death was kept as secret and even covered up by saying he died by health problems, but no one could figure out the actual reason of his death. The U.S. and NATO formally ended their combat mission in Afghanistan on December 28, 2014, but retained a reduced force of approximately 13,000 troops to support and train Afghan troops until a drawdown was implemented in 2020. In august 2015, the Taliban admitted they had covered up the death of Mullah Omar for around more than two years. The following month, the group rallied around a new leader in the form of Mullah Mansour, who had been the deputy of Mullah Omar.

Taliban launched a series of suicide attacks car bombings and other assaults. The parliament building in Kabul was attacked and Islamic militants begin their operations in Afghanistan. Then, around 2019 the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says more than 45,000 members of his country’s. security forces have been killed since he had been appointed as leader in 2014.

On 29 February 2020, US finally sign an “agreement for bringing peace” with the Taliban to Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar. In the year following the US-Taliban deal, the Taliban were appeared to shift their tactics from complex attacks to a wave of targeted assassinations in Afghan civils. Journalists, judges, reporters, activists, women in positions of power clearly mentioned that Taliban has not changed at all, it’s just their strategies. The US and NATO Allies agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal. But later on, came the date of final withdrawal on 13 April 2021 US President Joe Biden announces that all the US troops will leave Afghanistan by 11 September 2021.

 By 16 august 2021 Taliban’s return to rule brought the end to almost 20 years of US-led coalition’s presence in the country by seizing power again and captured Afghanistan and capital Kabul within a few spans of times. After 20 years of war, the Taliban has swept to victory in Afghanistan and an immediate evacuation took place because Afghan people were terrified by the Taliban control over.

Q-Why did this war last so long and how much did it cost?

  Back in 2001, the US was responding to the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, in which near about 3000 people were killed which devasted the US officials and they identified it was the Islamic militant Al-Qaeda, and its leader Osama Bin Laden behind this attack. Osama Bin Laden was in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban, they refused to hand him over. So, the US intervened their military to remove Taliban, support democracy and eliminate the terrorist’s threat. NATO allies had joined the US forces and a new Afghan government took over in 2004 but deadly still attacked were continued. President Barack Obama’s troop surge in 2009 push back the Taliban but it was not really a long term. In 2014, at the end of the bloodiest year since 2001, NATO’s international forces ended their combat mission, leaving responsibility to Afghan army for security.

In terms of lives lost, it can’t be exactly confirmed how many; but accordingly, by estimates losses in the Afghan security at 69,000. It shows the number of civilians and militants killed at about 51,000 each. Around More than 3,500  coalition soldiers have died since 2001 and about 20,000 US soldiers have been injured. US spent $978bn up to 2020 in military and reconstruction funds.[6] According to UN, Afghanistan has the third largest displaced population in the world.

ANALYSIS-

The ongoing insurgency compounds and other challenges that make Afghanistan one of the most fragile states in the world.[7] Covid-19 has caused both humanitarian and economic hardships on top of already severe poverty, food security and climate vulnerability. A successful political settlement of the conflict leading to an inclusive and sustainable peace is the surest path to addressing these deep-rooted challenges. The militants have declared a release across Afghanistan and said it wanted women to join its government but there is a lot of fear over women’s future, whether they could walk alone the streets without any guidance, to work, to dress evenly according to their will.

Another major fear is that the country will once again be terrorized by the Taliban and their laws. The Taliban officials insisted that they will fully adhere to the US deal and prevent any group from using Afghan soil as a base for attacks against the us and its allies. They say that they aim to implement an Islamic government and will not pose to threat to any other country but many analysts have said that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are inseparable, with the fighters that are embedded heavily in the training activity. Its also important to remember that the Taliban are not a centralised and unified forces. Some leaders may want to be muted and stir up no troubles but the hardlines may be opposed to break lines with Al-Qaeda.

May Afghan women, particularly in urban sector has a lot to lose from the re-entry of Taliban and brutal social restrictions- that is mandatory burqa coverings, but, more fundamentally and deleteriously, restricted their access to healthcare, education, and jobs. Its prohibited women from appearing in public a male chaperon, de facto sentencing widows and their children to starvation. The Taliban regime destroyed Afghan institutions and the economy, which was already by decades of fighting and the soviet strategies. The post-Taliban constitution in 2004 gave Afghan women all kinds of rights, brought social and economic growth which improved their socio-economic condition.

          “Instead of economic, social and political empowerment, Afghan women in rural areas – where an estimated 76 percent of the country’s women live – experience the devastation of bloody, physical destruction and psychological traumas of losing their loved ones by the fight between the Taliban and government forces and local militias.”[8]

 1} Has Taliban changed?

No, the Taliban insurgents continued their war to seize control in Afghanistan after the departure of US and NATO’s allies. Afghan women fear the most from these Islamic militants. “Reform of the Taliban is not really possible,” one 40-year-old women’s rights activist from Kabul told. Later this year in 2020, Taliban leaders emphasized that they would grant women’s rights “according to Islam”.

“The Taliban may have learned to appreciate twitter and social media for propaganda, but their actions on the ground tells us that they have not changed,” Meetra, a lawyer shared it. [9] A school teacher mentioned that “in the beginning on tv and interviews of Taliban it was believed that they are changed, but the close reality is devastating, they haven’t changed at all just their strategies”. Using mosque loudspeakers, Taliban taking control and often announce that women now wear burqa and have male guardian with them. They burned public schools, libraries and computers labs.     

2} Why did Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flee away?

On his Facebook page, he told the reason to flee away without any notice overnight. According, to him, in 1992, when the Taliban closed in on Kabul, the president Afghan President Najibullah was unable to flee and later on got killed at their hands. As they entered Kabul, the Taliban told Ashraf Ghani government that a peaceful transfer can avoid bloodshed. Hours after the announcement, he fled the country to an undisclosed location.

3} How many people evacuated from Afghanistan so far?

A week after the Taliban took over, at least 28,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan, but ten of thousands are still waiting. Thousands of people have tried to flee Afghanistan, but many have died during this process, as Afghans fear re-entry and a strict rule under the Taliban. Crowds were seen at the airport in the heat and dust over that week, people just want to flee away from that country. US and other nations attempted to evacuate their civilians and that Afghan people who have been working for them.

The US, has stationed thousands of troops to secure the airport, had set a deadline by august 31. But there were up to 15,000 Americans and 50,000 to 60,000 Afghan allies who need to evacuated, according to Biden administration. In an interview, Abdul Qahar Balkhi from the Taliban cultural commission blamed the US foe the chaos at the airport, he also added “it is very unfortunate for people to be rushing to the airport the way they are at the moment”[10]

About the August 30, around 114,000 people have been airlifted and 122,300 people evacuated from many countries including their civilians and Afghan people as much as they could possibly do- countries like US, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Turkey, France, India, Australia, Spain and many more. Their ministers and officials’ authority have made the announcement of the people they evacuated respectively including Afghan people.

  1. US – around 5,500 U.S. citizens and their families evacuated and later on their military troops after ending its evacuation mission.
  2. BRITIAN- last military flight left Kabul late on Saturday after evacuating more than 15,000 people in the weeks since Taliban took over.
  3. CANADA- they ended their evacuations of Canadian and Afghan citizens around 3,700 in number.
  4. GERMANY- the Germany military evacuated 5,347 people, including more than 4,100 Afghans.
  5. FRANCE- during the operation, nearly, 3000 people were evacuated, more than 2,600 Afghans were brought to France.
  6. ITALY- Italy evacuated 5.011 people, including 4,890 Afghan nationals, among them 1,301 women and 1,453 children.
  7. SWEDEN- in total of 1,100 people had been evacuated, including the local staff, embassy staff and their families.
  8. BELGIUM- just over 1,400 people were evacuated, with the last flight arriving in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad.
  9. IRELAND- 60 Irish citizens and 15 Afghan citizens were evacuated.
  10.  POLAND- Poland evacuated 900 people from Afghanistan, including women and children.
  11.  DENMARK- about 1,000 people evacuated including their staff and their families.
  12.  UKRAINE- they flew out more than 600 people including foreign journalists, rights activist etc.
  13.  AUSTRIA- 109 people evacuated with Austrian permits and citizenship.
  14.  SWITZERLAND- 387 people were evacuated since over two weeks then.
  15. NETHERLANDS- 2,500 people from Afghanistan since august 15.
  16. SPAIN- Spain evacuated 1,898 Afghans who had worked with western countries.
  17. TURKEY- it has evacuated at least 1,400 people from Afghanistan, including about 1,000 Turkish citizens.
  18. QATAR- they have evacuated more than 40,000 people to Doha.
  19. UAE- it has helped in evacuating 36,500 people including 8,500 coming to the UAE via its national carriers and airport.
  20. INDIA- India has airlifted 565 people from Afghanistan, including their embassy members and their families but also dozens of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.
  21. AUSTRALIA- 4,1000 people evacuated, including over 3,200 citizens and Afghan with Australia visa.
  22.  NEW ZEALAND- they have evacuated at least 276 New Zealand nationals and residents.

CONCLUSION-

The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on 30 August 2021, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a distressed final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war. Hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s deadline for shutting down a final airlift, and thus ending the U.S. war, Air Force transport planes carried a remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport. Thousands of troops had spent a harrowing two weeks protecting a hurried and risky airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans, Americans and others seeking to escape a country once again ruled by Taliban militants. In announcing the completion of the evacuation and war effort. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 p.m. Washington time, or one minute before midnight in Kabul. The airport had become a U.S.-controlled Island, a last stand in a 20-year war that claimed more than 2,400 American lives.

The closing hours of the evacuation were marked by extraordinary drama. American troops faced the daunting task of getting final evacuees onto planes while also getting themselves and some of their equipment out, even as they monitored repeated threats — and at least two actual attacks — by the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate. A suicide bombing on Aug. 26 killed 13 American service members and some 169 Afghans.

By the evacuation’s conclusion, well over 100,000 people, mostly Afghans, had been flown to safety. The dangers of carrying out such a mission while surrounded by the newly victorious Taliban and faced with attacks by the Islamic State came into tragic focus on Aug. 26 when an IS suicide bomber detonated himself at an airport gate, killing at least 169 Afghans and 13 Americans and around 122,330 peoples evacuated by the deadline.

Speaking shortly after that attack, Biden stuck to his view that ending the war was the right move. He said it was past time for the United States to focus on threats emanating from elsewhere in the world.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “It was time to end a 20-year war.”


[1] Pashtun movement- social movement for Pashtun human rights. / bbc.com

[2] Mujahideen-Islamic guerillas engage in jihad and fight on behalf of God / Britannica.com

[3] Al-Qaeda sanctuary- “Terror and the Taliban” by Fawaz A. Gerges  

[4] Bbc.com/ news/ world/Asia article as reference

[5] From book pdf ‘MANHUNT’ by Peter Bergen

[6] Research by brown university

[7] USIP’s work in Afghanistan as reference

[8] The world bank, Afghanistan’s development gains: progress and challenges, Jan 2020

[9] Giving compass article on has Taliban changed as reference.

[10] Al Jazeera – broadcasting news channel interview

Author: PRIYANSHI YADAV, LLOYD LAW COLLEGE, GREATER NOIDA

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.

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