Tensions rise in Afghanistan

Elly Green, Print Production Manager

Afghanistan is once again under control by the Taliban, who once occupied the nation before forces brought by America led them out in 2001. Fearful of Islamic influences, families are attempting to flee the country, regretfully leaving the country they call home. 

Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, was overthrown by the Taliban on Aug. 15 shortly after President Ashraf Ghahni left the country. For approximately 20 years, efforts by America and other Western countries were able to maintain Afghanistan as a democracy. This included employing U.S. troops to assist the Afghanistan military in case the Taliban attempted to take over. However, President Biden set Aug. 31 as the exit date for all U.S. services, causing a lack of protection from America and other countries, giving the Taliban a chance to strike. 

In February of 2020, the Trump administration set for U.S. forces to leave the country. President Biden stood behind the 45th President’s decision and went as far as to set an exit date. Afghanistan’s military consists of about 350,000 troops who were trained to match U.S. forces’ style of battle in order to equip them as readily as possible. However, with the removal of U.S. forces, air transports, intelligence and contractors were pulled from the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. This caused the Afghanistan military to be at a disadvantage from the advancing Taliban. 

The Taliban were able to quickly move through the country, claiming its last couple of cities mid-August. Many Afghans who worked closely with Western countries’ armed forces or agencies, attempted to rush out of the country, for fear of consequences by the Taliban. Hamid Karzai International Airport is under U.S. control, giving Western personnel an escape route, pictures were seen posted on social platforms of Afghans clinging to the sides of aircrafts wishing to evacuate the country.

The take-over from the Taliban was not unpredictable, just last week U.S. intelligence analysts predicted it would take several more weeks before Kabul’s government would fall to the Taliban, realistically, it only took a few days. The Taliban was created in 1994, consisting mostly of Afghan resistance fighters. They fought invading Soviet forces in the 1980’s and wanted to resist any outside influences, integrating Islamic laws in the country. In 1996, the Taliban captured Kabul and enforced strict rules such as; women had to wear head-to-toe coverings, were not allowed to study or work and were forbidden from traveling alone. Television, music and non-Islamic holidays were also banned, according to CNN. On Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist group al Qaeda led a frenzy of terrorist attacks to America in what we remember as 9-11. 

U.S. troops and allied forces invaded Afghanistan less than a month after the attacks to force al Qaeda out of the country. Almost two decades after they were forced out, the Taliban has successfully returned to Afghanistan to enforce Islamic rulings.