‘Great victory’ as Taliban mark turbulent first year in power

Taliban fighters chanted victory slogans next to the US embassy in Kabul Monday as they marked the first anniversary of their return to power in Afghanistan following a turbulent year that saw women’s rights crushed and a humanitarian crisis worsened.

Exactly a year ago, the hardline Islamists captured Kabul after a nationwide lightning offensive against government forces just as US-led troops were ending two decades of intervention in a conflict that cost you of thousands of lives.

“On this day… the Islamic Emirate brought the world’s superpower and its allies to their knees and Afghans gained their independence,” added Baradar, who in 2020 signed a deal with Washington offering security guarantees in return for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Images of crowds storming the airport, climbing atop aircraft — and some clinging to a departing US military cargo plane as it rolled down the runway — aired on news bulletins around the world.

“The time when we entered Kabul, and when the Americans left, those were moments of joy.”

Many Taliban fighters gathered in Kabul’s central Massoud Square, where they displayed the regime’s white banners and performed a traditional victory dance, some holding weapons and others taking pictures on their mobile phones.

However, for many ordinary Afghans — particularly women — the return of the Taliban has only increased hardships, with aid agencies saying that half the country’s 38 million people face extreme poverty.

But many restrictions have been imposed movement on women to comply with the austere vision of Islam.

And in May, they were ordered to fully cover up in public, including their faces, ideally with a burqa.

“Everything has been snatched from us, they have even entered our personal space,” she added.

– ‘Facing hardships’ –

“Our call for justice was silenced with gunfire, but today we are pleading from inside our home,” Munisa Mubariz said on Monday.

The women, who mostly had their faces uncovered, posted photographs online of themselves holding banners, including one that read: “Afghanistan’s history is tarnished with the closure of girls’ schools.”

“People coming to our shops are complaining so much of high prices that we shopkeepers have started hating ourselves,” said Noor Mohammad, a shopkeeper from Kandahar.

No country has officially recognized the new government.

For Taliban fighters, the joy of victory overshadows the current economic crisis.

bur-jd/smw

Originally published as ‘Great victory’ as Taliban mark turbulent first year in power

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