Violence, Hunger and Fear mark One Year Anniversary of Taliban Occupation of Afghanistan

Taliban fighters and supporters ride in a convoy to celebrate their victory day in Kandahar Monday

A year ago Monday, a ragtag army of extremists swept into Kabulwithout firing a shot after having seized most of Afghanistan. After spending trillions on military and humanitarian aid, the two-decade U.S.-led international campaign to remake the desperately poor and violence-ridden country was over.

Western nations raced to depart in a largely chaotic and embarrassing exit, and the victorious Taliban, whose previous government was toppled in the aftermath of 9/11 after refusing to hand over the author of the attack, Osama bin Laden, promised to form an “open, inclusive Islamic government.” 

Instead, after the collapse of the U.S.-backed administration of Ashraf Ghani, the Taliban introduced policies that “form a system of repression that discriminates against women and girls in almost every aspect of their lives,” according to a recent report from Amnesty International that said the “suffocating crackdown against Afghanistan’s female population is increasing day by day.”

The group had decimated protections for those suffering domestic violence, detained women and girls for minor violations, and contributed to a surge in child marriages, the report said, adding that it had reneged on promises to allow women to continue to work and girls to continue their education. Some of those protesting against the restrictions had been tortured and abused, it said.   

With the collapse of Ghani’s corruption-riddled Western-backed government, nearly all of the country’s population was thrown into poverty. As the world halted financing in response to the takeover, millions were left unable to feed their families. The economy collapsed.