Afghanistan: Taliban celebrate one year in power since "the day of the conquest"


The Taliban chanted victory songs on Monday in Kabul, near the former US embassy, ​​to celebrate the first anniversary of their return to power in Afghanistan, a year marked by a sharp regression in women's rights and a deep humanitarian crisis.

On August 15, 2021, Islamist fundamentalists seized the capital Kabul without a fight, after a lightning offensive carried out throughout the territory against routed government forces, thanks to the withdrawal of American and NATO troops. after twenty years of conflict in the country which left tens of thousands dead.

“We have fulfilled the obligation of jihad and liberated our country”, summarizes Niamatullah Hekmat, a Taliban fighter who entered Kabul that day.

“Today is the day of victory and happiness for the Muslims and the people of Afghanistan. It is the day of the conquest and victory of the white flag” of the Islamic Emirate, government spokesman Bilal Karimi said on Twitter.

The chaotic withdrawal of foreign forces continued until August 31, with tens of thousands of civilians in panic rushing to the capital's only airport to be evacuated out of the country, on any available flight.

Staggering images of crowds storming planes parked on the tarmac, climbing onto aircraft or trying to cling onto a US military cargo plane taking off have marked the world.

Many Taliban, with or without weapons, spontaneously gathered on Square Massoud, a large intersection decorated with white flags of the Islamic Emirate, opposite the former American embassy, ​​and which leads to the airport, noted a AFPTV journalist.

islamic emirate

“Long live the Islamic Emirate! Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest)! “they notably sang while dancing and taking selfies.

In the streets of Kabul, under a gray sky, traffic was rather light and the population was discreet, but as always with armed Taliban patrols in pickups and checkpoints.

Except for this Monday declared a public holiday, no official celebration has so far been announced to mark the anniversary.

A year later, the Taliban fighters express their joy to see their movement exercising power today, at a time when, for their part, the humanitarian aid agencies are alarmed to see half of the country's 38 million inhabitants faced with extreme poverty.

“When we entered Kabul, and when the Americans left, there were moments of joy,” continues Niamatullah Hekmat, a member of the special forces.

But for ordinary Afghans, especially women, the return of the Taliban has only amplified the difficulties.

Very quickly and despite their initial promise, the new masters of the country largely returned to the ultra-rigorous interpretation of Islam that had characterized their first passage to power between 1996 and 2001, severely restricting women's rights.

These are excluded from many public jobs and prohibited from traveling alone outside their city.

In March, the Islamists made high schools and colleges close to girls, a few hours after their reopening, however long announced.

"Everything was taken away from us"

And in early May, the Taliban supreme leader ordered women to wear full-face veils in public, preferably burqas.

"Since the day they arrived, life has lost its meaning," said Ogai Amail, a resident of Kabul. “Everything was taken from us, they even entered our personal space”.

On Saturday in Kabul, Taliban fighters dispersed with rifle butts and shots in the air about forty women who were demonstrating for the right to work and education.

This Monday, about XNUMX of them gathered at the home of one of them and posted photos on social networks with slogans like: "The history of Afghanistan is ashamed of the closure of schools”.

"Our plea for justice was silenced by gunshots, but today we are pleading inside our house," protester Munisa Mubariz said by messaging reporters.

If the Afghans welcome a reduction in violence with the end of the war, many of them are hit hard by an acute economic and humanitarian crisis. The country's assets abroad have been frozen by Washington and international aid, which financed about 80% of the Afghan budget, is slowly resuming after being stopped dead.

“People who come to our stores complain so much about the high prices that we traders are even starting to hate what we do,” laments Noor Mohammad, a trader from Kandahar (south), historic cradle and center of Taliban power.

No country has so far recognized the Taliban regime.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: / Torsten Pursche

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