Credit: Taliban security guards in Kabul https://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11451718
The Situation with the Taliban
The Taliban emerging to power just around a year ago brought about significant tension and upheaval. Following its rise to power, the Taliban vowed that its second rule will be different than the first. With the reputation gained following the first stint where they made a mockery of rights and freedoms, they raised many eyebrows with doubts in view of their promises. After a year that they took Afghanistan by force, questions are being raised regarding how much reform they will continue to implement.
From what can be seen thus far, it seems that some level of change has indeed been adopted. Technology is now being accepted and embraced, with cricket matches watched in full stadiums. People in Afghanistan today have access to the internet and social media. This is considered as a move forward, especially when considering that during the first Taliban regime, televisions were barred.
Women’s rights have also seen a move towards a better direction. Today women in Afghanistan work as journalists and question government representatives. Girls are also allowed to attend primary school. These were unacceptable during the Taliban’s first rule.
It is being said however that different factions within the Taliban camp are not in agreement with respect to all the reforms taking place. The situation in Afghanistan is a dire one in view of the fact that the country is locked out of the global banking systems. Afghanistan also has billions of assets outside of the country that are frozen. In this context, the country finds itself in an economic crisis of epic proportions where families are selling their own organs and daughters.
Those analysing the Afghanistan situation more closely fear that the reforms and policy changes taking place are not genuine. A number of secondary schools aimed at teaching girls have been kept closed and several women were forced out of government jobs. There are several restrictions imposed on society with controls on music, shisha and card games. Protests are silenced with threats and journalists being detained. So far, the appeals of the West for a more inclusive government have been ignored. The unrest within the country is further emphasised by the assassination of Al-Qaeda’s leader.
The economic pressures are being felt as even Taliban officials are impacted with low and delayed salaries. Some of whom have travelled to Pakistan to seek new ventures. The winter season is expected to be difficult with access to food being impacted. These problems are therefore creating further divisions and instability.