Tuesday marks the two-year anniversary of Kabul falling to the Taliban, whichseized control of Afghanistan amid the United States’ chaotic, controversialwithdrawal from the country after nearly 20 years of fighting.
The Taliban, which is not recognized by most countries around the world, has declared Tuesday a national holiday. The day is “full of honor and pride for Afghans,” Taliban deputy spokesperson Bilal Karimi told CNN.
“Afghanistan was freed from occupation, Afghans were able to regain their country, freedom, government and will. The only way to solve the problem is understanding and dialogue, pressure and force are not logical,” he added.
When the Taliban, a radical Islamist group that had previously ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, took power in 2021, it initially presented itself as a more moderate version of its former self, even promising that women would be allowed to continue their education up to university.
But it has since cracked down instead, closing secondary schools for girls;banning women from attending university and working at NGOs, including the United Nations; restricting their travel without a male chaperone; and banning them from public spaces such as parks and gyms.
Women can no longer work in most sectors – and were dealt yet another blow last month when the Taliban closed all beauty salons across the country. The industry had employed roughly 60,000 women, many of them the sole breadwinners for their household, spelling more trouble for families already struggling to get by.