Why do Afghans want to escape the Taliban occupation?
For the Afghans, it is like the 1990s all over again. When the Taliban was in power from 1996-2001, it ruled the nation based on the Sunnah and Quranic teachings. The progress in the nation’s roadmap achieved over the last 20 years in the areas of education, economic progress, health and human rights is sure to be lost taking into account the previous rule.
Taliban Rule (1996-2001)
Afghans current thoughts are based on the regime’s earlier rule. During this period there were various restrictions on the basic civil rights of women like, being unable to appear in public places without a blood relative or wearing a burqa, modifying the names of places which the word “women” in them (as in the case of women’s garden renamed into spring garden), ban on women appearing on balconies of their own apartments or houses and the gender apartheid of women at educational institutions and workplaces.
The Taliban also outlawed gay marriages and relationships thereby making the country unsafe for sexual minorities.
Children were one of the most affected groups during the earlier rule with the infant mortality rate at 25%, highest the world has ever witnessed. Taking the case of children who survived at least 55% of children under 5 years suffered from chronic malnutrition.
When the entire world was progressing towards the reality of running water and electricity to all houses, Taliban denied the same to its country men.
Apart from violations of basic human rights, cultural heritage like e valuable art and history of ancient Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Sikh were destroyed as well.
When the Taliban was thrown out of power by the US and its NATO allies, the percentage of girls enrolled went up to 50% in primary education, 20% in secondary school and the life expectancy of women increased from 57 to 66 years.
In spite of the figures being poor compared to the rest of the world, the progress achieved is sure to regress considering the past experiences. With reports coming in of Taliban asking local leaders to provide a list of girls over the age of 15 and widows under the age of 45 for forceful marriage with Taliban fighters, girls as young as 12 years taken away as sex slaves, provides no hope of a better future.
In the latest press conference, Taliban leaders have explicitly stated how there would be no execution and amnesty would be provided for all. It remains to be seen how far these promises will be kept.