The Taliban is a Deobandi Islamic fundamentalist, militant Islamist, and jihadist political movement that presently controls all of Afghanistan. It emerged in September 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War and largely consisted of students (talib) who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools. The movement spread nationwide, and ruled around three-quarters of the country from 1996–2001, before being overthrown by a United States-led invasion in the aftermath of the September, 2001 terrorist attacks. In 2021, with the departure of the US military from the country, the Taliban claimed control of the entire country, to which it has applied a hardline interpretation of Islam.
Afghanistan’s humanitarian and security crisis will only deepen, with ever-greater obligations for the outside world, unless the country’s leaders are given the means to govern effectively.
‘Herat’s people are panicked and scared … it’s Allah’s blessing that it happened during the day, people were awake’.
Most foreign nations – including India – do not officially recognise Afghanistan’s Taliban government, which seized power following the collapse of the Western-backed government more than two years ago.
Beijing is in the unusual position of maintaining an ambassador and embassy in a country ruled by a regime it does not officially recognise.
A report from the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crimes said the country is also a major opium producer and heroin source, even though the Taliban declared a war on narcotics in August 2021.
The Vice and Virtue Ministry says women have not been properly wearing the hijab at the Band-e-Amir park, while Human Rights Watch says ‘step by step the walls are closing in … as every home becomes a prison’.
Supporters celebrated Tuesday, marking the day two years ago when the US-backed government collapsed, but others denounced the increasing restrictions on women’s lives.
Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada barred women from universities last December. A Higher Education Ministry adviser said universities were ready to readmit female students as soon as Akhundzada gives the order for the ban to be lifted.
More professional women are enrolling in nursing and midwifery courses, fed up with being cooped up and unemployed since the Taliban seized power.
In Afghanistan, the floods have killed at least 31 people and left scores more missing. The Taliban government called on aid agencies to provide emergency support. In Pakistan at least 9 people have died.
State media heralded the departure of a cargo from Lanzhou, a key transport hub, but analysts said its main importance is the symbolism.
Hibatullah Akhundzada also said in Eid message that ‘necessary steps have been taken for the betterment of women’, despite various bans affecting their lives and the lives of girls.
Qin makes the appeal, which also asks the fundamentalist group to work with neighbouring countries, during a visit to Uzbekistan.
Media reports named the men as paramedic Kevin Cornwell, YouTube star Miles Routledge and an unnamed manager of a hotel for aid workers. The UK’s foreign ministry said it was ‘working hard to secure consular contact’ with the men.
Since the Taliban came to power in 2021, life for most Afghans has become immeasurably worse. Now, with a ban on female aid workers, delivering foreign assistance has become harder than ever.