Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan January 2022-

Written by  //  August 4, 2022  //  Afghanistan  //  No comments

After the Fall: What Afghanistan Looks Like Since the Taliban Takeover
A photographer traveled to Afghanistan three times since the Taliban returned to power. Here’s what he saw.
By Lorenzo Tugnoli
(WaPo) People had returned to their jobs, and the rush-hour traffic was back to its usual madness — but much was different. Around the city, the symbols of the previous government had been erased. The blast walls of the former American Embassy, once covered with pro-government imagery, were now painted over with the Taliban flag and a new slogan: “Oh my country, congratulations for your freedom!” Around the former so-called Green Zone, which used to be heavily patrolled by security forces and where photography invariably raised scrutiny, nobody minded my camera anymore.

2 August
Taliban facing backlash after U.S. drone strike against al-Qaeda leader
Popular anger could push regime to retaliate and further turn away from the West in favor of hard-line religion
(WaPo) The U.S. drone strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri here early Sunday morning also struck a humiliating blow to the Taliban regime, which had secretly hosted the aging extremist in the heart of the Afghan capital for months but failed to keep him safe.
Just as the Taliban was preparing to celebrate its first year in power later this month, the attack has sparked a nationalistic backlash against the beleaguered regime at home and taunting comments on social media calling for revenge against the United States.
Several leaders of the hard-line Haqqani network, long denounced by U.S. officials for directing high-profile terrorist attacks, hold powerful positions in the regime.
Now, some Afghan and American analysts said, the drone strike may harden Taliban attitudes and push the regime toward an open embrace of the extremist forces it pledged to renounce in its 2020 peace deal with the United States.
What Ayman al-Zawahri’s death says about terrorism in Taliban-run Afghanistan
(Brookings) This impressive show of the effectiveness and persistence of U.S. counterterrorism efforts is also an important demonstration to the world — and to terrorist groups in Afghanistan and beyond — that despite not having U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan, the United States retains a potent capacity to deliver effective counterterrorism punches.

1 August
Afghanistan a year after the Taliban occupation: An ongoing war on human rights
Ferdouse Asefi, PhD candidate, Sociology, University of Toronto
(The Conversation) The word “anniversary” usually brings about happy and memorable moments. But Aug. 15 marks one year since the Taliban takeover and occupation of Afghanistan, and it’s not a happy occasion for my homeland.
Recently, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report entitled “Human Rights in Afghanistan,” delving into the situation in the country since the takeover.
The report is troubling but not shocking as it highlights civilian casualties, restrictions on women’s rights and freedom of speech, extrajudicial killings and ethnic minority persecutions. Yet a lot is under-reported due to the difficulties in gathering evidence against the Taliban, which has censored the media and mistreated journalists.
28 June
C Uday Bhaskar: Taliban complicity impacts India’s Af policy
(The Tribune, India) Despite the scale of the earthquake tragedy, the global isolation of the Taliban regime [has] prevented a more robust international aid effort from reaching the victims and this remains the geopolitical cross that weighs down heavily on the people of Afghanistan.
The return of the Taliban to power in Kabul in August 2021 after the hasty US withdrawal has compelled many nations to review and rewire their Afghanistan policies and India is no exception.
Given the enormous humanitarian crisis that has engulfed Afghanistan and the scant resources that the Taliban can muster — including skilled human resources (thousands of qualified Afghans have fled their nation, fearing retribution) — it is evident that the regime in Kabul is keen to have Delhi back as a dependable aid and development donor.
[However] The terror attack by the IS-KP on the Karte Parwan gurdwara has resulted in Delhi putting on hold whatever initiatives had been envisaged by way of engaging with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, while reviewing the larger security implications of this revival of the terror footprint.
… Periodic reviews by the UN Security Council’s Monitoring Team on Afghanistan have noted the presence of al-Qaeda, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba in the country and the role of the Haqqani network and, cumulatively, all these strands pose a security challenge to India that has been dealing with the state-supported terrorist scourge for decades. The fact that Sirajuddin Haqqani, a UN-designated global terrorist, is the interior minister in the Taliban regime points to the multilayered complexity that the Indian establishment has to contend with.
In this maze of terror networks and state complicity in relation to Afghanistan, the close strategic relationship between China and Pakistan further shrinks the space for India. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a meeting on March 31 of Afghanistan and its neighbours — that predictably excluded India — in the Anhui province of China and the participants collectively affirmed their support to the Taliban regime.

26 June
Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors
(Reuters) – Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.
At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in Wednesday’s earthquake, after which the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern
22 June
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has killed around 1,000 people and injured another 1,500 in Afghanistan, with the death toll expected to rise. One of the deadliest in decades, the quake struck in the eastern Paktika province, a rural mountainous region. The Taliban government said it would provide emergency funding for the families of those affected, and called for greater foreign assistance and humanitarian aid. The country is currently facing a severe economic and food crisis. The US and its allies froze around $7 billion of the country’s foreign reserves after the Taliban recaptured control of the country in August, cutting them off from international funding.

22 May
Taliban enforcing face-cover order for female TV anchors
Afghanistan’s rulers have made a hard-line pivot in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, the Taliban ordered all women in public to wear head-to-toe clothing that leaves only their eyes visible. The decree said women should leave the home only when necessary and that male relatives would face punishment for women’s dress code violations, starting with a summons and escalating to court hearings and jail time.
The Taliban leadership has also barred girls from attending school after the sixth grade, reversing previous promises by Taliban officials that girls of all ages would be allowed an education.

8 May
Afghan women deplore Taliban’s new order to cover faces in public
In their latest decree, the Taliban say it is ‘required for all respectable Afghan women to wear a hijab’.
(Al Jazeera) The Taliban’s recently reinstated Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice announced on Saturday that it is “required for all respectable Afghan women to wear a hijab”, or headscarf.
The ministry, in a statement, identified the chadori (the blue-coloured Afghan burqa or full-body veil) as the “best hijab” of choice.
While the Taliban have always imposed restrictions to govern the bodies of Afghan women, the decree is the first for this regime where criminal punishment is assigned for violation of the dress code for women.

29 April
Taliban supreme leader urges world to recognise ‘Islamic Emirate’
Haibatullah Akhunzada calls on the international community to recognise the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.
The Taliban-led government is yet to be recognised by any country since it returned to power last August, 20 years after it was toppled in a US-led invasion

19 April
World Bank to push ahead with some Afghan projects, maintain pause on education support -sources
(Reuters) – The World Bank has resumed work on three projects in Afghanistan focused on health, agriculture and livelihoods, but will maintain a hold on some $150 million for education projects, two sources familiar with the decision said Tuesday.
Group of Seven partners and other major donors to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) will meet to discuss the country’s mounting economic and food security problems on Friday during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury announced on Monday.
Some multilateral organizations, including the IMF, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Islamic Development Bank, will also take part, one of the sources said.

12 April
The Taliban Promised Them Amnesty. Then They Executed Them.
An Opinion Video investigation reveals the Taliban have been on a campaign of revenge killings against former U.S. allies
(NYT) When the Taliban swept into Kabul last year and reasserted control over Afghanistan, they suggested that their rule would be kinder, less extreme and more forgiving than it had been the last time they were in power.
But the video … reveals that nearly 500 former government officials and members of the Afghan security forces were killed or forcibly disappeared during the Taliban’s first six months in power.

3 April
Taliban Outlaw Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan
The move will have far-reaching consequences for the many farmers who turned to the illicit crop as a brutal drought and economic crisis have gripped the country.
“All compatriots are informed from the date of the issuance of this decree, poppy cultivation is absolutely prohibited in the whole country and no one can try to cultivate the plant,” said the decree, issued by the Taliban’s leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada. “If someone violates this, his cultivation will be destroyed and the violator will be dealt with according to Islamic Law.”
The Taliban’s decision to ban opium poppy in Afghanistan, which accounts for about 80 percent of the world’s supply of opium, comes as the group is under increasing international pressure after a series of decrees targeting women, including their ability to attend secondary school.

25 March
Taliban blocks dozens of women from taking flights out of Afghanistan
Women, including some bound for Canada, denied boarding because they were travelling without male guardians
Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers refused to allow dozens of women to board several flights, including some bound for Canada, because they were travelling without male guardians, two Afghan airline officials said Saturday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from the Taliban, said dozens of women who arrived at Kabul’s international airport Friday to board domestic and international flights were told they couldn’t do so without a male guardian.
Some of the women were dual nationals returning to their homes overseas, including some from Canada, according to one of the officials. Women were denied boarding on flights to Islamabad, Dubai and Turkey on Kam Air and the state-owned Ariana Airline, said the officials.
Taliban U-turn over Afghan girls’ education reveals deep leadership divisions
A lack of teachers and school uniform issues blamed for school closures but confusion is a sign of differences in vision for Afghanistan’s future
(The Guardian) Earlier this week, girls across Afghanistan arrived for lessons on the day secondary schools were due to open for them for the first time since the Taliban seized power. They were told to go home, and informed schools would remain shut indefinitely.
As international outrage grew at the U-turn, the official Taliban response was confused and contradictory. The group blamed a lack of teachers on the closures and said they first needed to create an appropriate environment for girls to study, and decide on appropriate uniforms.
A statement issued by the Taliban’s education ministry then said school openings would be postponed “until further notice when a comprehensive plan, in accordance with Sharia and Afghan culture, is developed”.
Experts say that the decision to close education to girls over 11 is nothing to do with uniforms. Instead, it is a sign of deep divisions within the group about the future direction of rule in Afghanistan.

7 February
Taliban sends daughters to school despite closing classrooms for other female students
As education stops for Afghan girls, high ranking officials are sending their children to overseas state schools and universities

1 February
Nonstate threats in the Taliban’s Afghanistan
(Brookings) While Afghanistan’s new Taliban leadership has been preoccupied with the near-term challenges of forming a government, managing internal tensions, and pursuing foreign recognition and funding to stave off an economic collapse, nonstate armed actors in Afghanistan have begun to assess the opportunities and limitations that come with a return to Taliban rule. For them, the new environment is likely to be favorable. These groups, including designated terrorist organizations, will find themselves less vulnerable to monitoring and targeting by the United States and its coalition partners; will be able to take advantage of a huge pool of experienced armed labor drawn from former Taliban, Afghan security forces, and other militant ranks; and will have increased space to forge new collaborations and plan operations in the region and further afield.
The first risk is that the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK), which has had an openly adversarial relationship with the Taliban, takes advantage of the new government’s weakness and preoccupations to bolster its own recruiting, fundraising, and territorial control within Afghanistan; and that its pressure on the government makes the Taliban leadership less likely to offer concessions to domestic or foreign critics.
The second risk is that a Haqqani-dominated Taliban government in Kabul, with few reputational incentives to constrain the activities of al-Qaida or Pakistan-aligned militant organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), will allow these groups increased freedom to use Afghanistan for logistics, recruiting, and planning, and to reduce their dependencies on Pakistan.
The third risk is that the increasingly permissive and opaque environment in Afghanistan, combined with the large pool of unemployed armed labor, will lead to novel operational partnerships among nonstate armed actors that could make it hard to identify new threats to the U.S. and its partners.
The risks, in other words, are not simply anchored in what the counterterrorism community can discern about today’s Taliban-led Afghanistan, but about what it cannot see or predict. Afghanistan is a fecund environment for new militant partnerships.

27 January
UN chief pleads for nations to pave way for humanitarian aid to reach Afghanistan
Afghanistan is “hanging by a thread,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council on Wednesday, calling for countries to authorize all transactions needed to carry out humanitarian activities in the Taliban-ruled state.
He also pushed for a suspension of any rules or conditions constricting “lifesaving” aid operations as millions in the country suffer extreme hunger, education and social services are on the brink of collapse, and a lack of liquidity limits the capacity of the United Nations and aid groups to reach people in need.
“We need to give financial institutions and commercial partners legal assurance that they can work with humanitarian operators without fear of breaching sanctions,” said Guterres, noting that the 15-member council last month adopted a humanitarian exemption to UN sanctions tied to Afghanistan.
Some $9.5 billion US in Afghan central bank reserves remain blocked abroad and international development support has dried up since the Taliban seized power in August. Donors seek to use the money as leverage over the Taliban on issues including human rights.
In December, donors to a frozen World Bank-administered Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund agreed to transfer $280 million US to the World Food Program and UN children’s agency UNICEF to support nutrition and health in Afghanistan. Guterres said the remaining $1.2 billion US in the fund needed “to be freed up urgently to help Afghanistan’s people survive the winter.”

26 January
In Afghanistan, Taliban diktat sparks debate about women’s attire
Some Afghan women have protested the imposition of a dress code while others say the Taliban should focus on more pressing issues.
(Al Jazeera) The Afghan Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice plastered posters across Kabul’s cafés and shops earlier this month to encourage the wearing of the burqa, a full-body veil that also covers the face. It did not issue an official directive.

12 January
Afghan women face hardship as Taliban struggles to revive economy
Several Afghan women Al Jazeera spoke to say they have struggled to put food on the table as Taliban fails to revive the economy.

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