The Taliban watched the last U.S. planes leave the country at midnight on Monday, August 30th and fired their guns into the air in celebration. They celebrated the end to the 20 year conflict that led to the American troops’ presence. The last planes that left were cargo planes and this ended an airlift in which thousands of people left Afghanistan because of their fear of the Taliban’s rule. General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in his announcement of the departure that everyone they wanted to get out could not be rescued at that time.
Despite promises of a peaceful rule, there have already been reports of killings and abuse in Taliban controlled areas. The 20 year war first began when American troops invaded Afghanistan not long after the 9/11 attacks. The attacks were planned and completed by the terrorist organization al-Qaida under the Taliban. The American troops’ arrival pushed the Taliban out of power and caused al-Qaida’s leaders, especially Osama bin Laden, to go into hiding.
The United States and allies tried to rebuild Afghanistan after it was ravaged by war. They invested billions of dollars in the same kind of government the United States has and new security forces. Women were able to leave their homes and pursue education for the first time in years and were permitted to serve in more public positions. Although the Taliban was mostly pushed out of power in Afghanistan, they waited for another opportunity. The United States began to focus on a war in Iraq and the Afghan government became corrupt. The Taliban took this time to regroup in the countryside of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before the recent takeover, they had seized rural sections of the country and attacked the country’s security forces.
When Donald Trump was president, he signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February of 2020 that started discussions on the withdrawal. President Biden changed the original deadline from May to August even though the Taliban staged a blitz across the country in August. The Taliban is currently in control of the entirety of Afghanistan except for the Panjshir province in the mountains. There are local fighters and security forces there that are refusing to give in and the Taliban has said they hope for a peaceful end. The Taliban are facing challenges with governing one of the poorest and war-ravaged countries on Earth right now. Afghans are lining up outside banks as their economic situation worsens.
There were economic issues even before the Taliban took over and on top of this, they have to handle attacks from the Islamic State extremist group’s local affiliate. This group is responsible for the rockets launched on Kabul’s International Airport. The Islamic State or ISIS/ISIL are an even more radical group than the Taliban and they staged a suicide attack at the Kabul airport that killed 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members. These two groups have fought before and the Taliban have pledged to keep the country from being the base on which terror attacks are planned. They will have trouble securing the important city of Kabul and the group has even freed Islamic State fighters from prisons so now the IS is at around 2,000 people.
The Taliban’s first takeover happened in 1996 and ended in 2001, but enforced harsh laws upon women like forbidding them from going to school, leaving their houses without men relatives, and began a policy of public executions in old football (soccer) stadiums. Now, they have promised not to exact revenge on anyone and will allow women to attend school and go to work. Many citizens were afraid of the Taliban’s rule and fled the country if they could. People were so desperate to leave they clung to a departing plane and fell to their deaths in Kabul. The Taliban has commented that they will allow regular travel, but the world is unsure about the specifics. Security at the airport is a main concern of neighboring countries. The U.S.’s prioritizes civilian safety in this transition.
This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.