In April President Joe Biden announced he would withdraw all US personnel from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. It would mark the end of a 20 year-long war in the South Asian country after George W. Bush deployed American forces in 2001. Today, the Taliban gained control of the country’s capital city, Kabul. According to The Guardian, spokesman Mohammad Naeem said the political group would respect women’s and minorities’ rights and freedom of expression within sharia law. Malala Yousafzai is instead “deeply worried”.
“We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan,” Yousafzai tweeted. “I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians.”
We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians.
— Malala (@Malala) August 15, 2021
Yousafzai is a human rights activist who garnered the attention of the Western world in 2012 after she was shot in the face by a Taliban militant. It was in retaliation after she refused to forgo her right to education – girls were banned from attending school. The now 24-year-old was honoured as the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2014.
The Guardian also reports that as American officials fled Afghanistan on Sunday morning, thousands of people mobbed Kabul Airport in a desperate bid to flee. The publication also notes that many Afghan locals fear the new Taliban regime. During their rule in 1996 to 2001 and under imposition of sharia, or Islamic religious law, women could not work and punishments such as stoning, whipping and hanging were used.
The US invasion of Afghanistan was sparked after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“It is time for American troops to come home,” Biden said when announcing the withdrawal of his people in April. “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result.”
For more information a snapshot of the conflict can be found below.