Understanding the conflict in Afghanistan and the Taliban offensive to seize power – 08/13/2021 – World

After more than four decades of almost incessant war, the Afghans are living a new critical moment in the history of the country, the offensive of the fundamentalist group Taliban to take, by force, the Afghan government.

Two decades after relinquishing command, the extremist militia is approaching the capital, Kabul, leaving a trail of violence that has also turned into a humanitarian crisis.

So understand the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

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What is going on in Afghanistan? The Islamic fundamentalist group Taliban is on a military campaign to take command of Afghanistan. Since the United States began withdrawing its military troops after 20 years of war in the country, the rebels have launched an offensive inside and have already conquered most of the territory. The group has conquered the largest cities and encircles the capital Kabul. US already predicts Kabul collapse in 30 days, sources consulted by the New York Times

What is the Taliban and how did the group come about? The word Taliban means “students” in Pashtun, one of the official languages ​​of Afghanistan, the language of the majority Pashtun ethnic group. The group came from student militias supported by Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan, and the United States, in a context of the Cold War, to expel the Soviet Union, which had occupied the country since the end of the 1970s.

With the collapse of the communist bloc and the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the group organized and fought against other factions in a civil war, which it emerged victorious in 1996, giving it command of Afghanistan.

What was the period during which the group ruled the country? In 1996, the Taliban created the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with clergyman and war veteran Mohammed Omar as supreme commander. The group has been greeted by sections of Afghan society for the promise of restoring some stability to the country devastated by nearly two decades of war. Extremists, however, never succeeded in fully controlling the territory, meeting resistance especially in the northeast of the country. Despite state control, the Taliban had no international support.

With anti-corruption rhetoric and in an effort to moralize an allegedly corrupt society, the Taliban have imposed a harsh interpretation of “sharia”, Islamic law. A report by the NGO Human Rights Watch points out that the group has committed systematic human rights violations, including corporal punishment, executions and the suppression of freedom of expression and religion.

The Taliban government, for example, did not allow girls to study, women could not leave the house alone and without a burqa, and men had to keep their beards long.

The group has also completely banned Western cultural manifestations, including music and movies, which has led to penalties even for those who own televisions. Under orders to destroy all statues in the country, the Taliban in 2001 blew up two giant monuments representing the Buddha, dating from the 6th century and measuring 38 meters and 55 meters in height, an action widely condemned by the international community.

How did the group come out of power and why did the United States have troops in the country? The September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were blamed on the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, under the command of Osama bin Laden, who, according to international observers, enjoyed Taliban protection in Afghanistan.

Faced with the Afghan government’s refusal to hand over the terrorist group, the United States led a military coalition that invaded the country in October 2001. The main Taliban leaders, including the group’s supreme leader, Mohammed Omar, fled and the government fell soon after, in December.

How did the military occupation go and what has happened in the country over the past 20 years? With the expulsion of the Taliban, the United States established a provisional government, and since 2004 the country has started holding democratic elections.

But the fundamentalist group has never ceased to claim power and has continued to carry out attacks both in the country and in neighboring states. One of the most publicized attacks occurred in 2012 in Pakistan, where the group is also influential, against Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old student who denounced Taliban violence in the region to the international press. The girl survived and won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the attack sparked a new wave of international backlash against the extremist group.

How did the Taliban survive away from power? According to the American research center Council on Foreign Relations, the group is financed by the supply of opium to producers of heroin, drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping, and has an annual income that varies between $ 300 million and $ 1.6 million. billion.

Why did the United States decide to withdraw its troops from the country? With constant attacks, the American mission did not end and became the longest war ever faced by the United States, even surpassing the Vietnam War.

According to estimates by Brown University’s War Costs Observatory, from the invasion in 2001 until April of this year, clashes in Afghanistan and Pakistan have left an estimated 240,000 dead, mostly local soldiers. and enemy forces, but also over 71,000 civilians and just over 6,000 Americans. . In addition, the US mission has already cost around $ 2.3 trillion during the same period.

With these results and no prospect of victory, various US governments pledged to pull the troops out of the country, which was ultimately carried out by the new US President, Joe Biden, who announced that the mission would be completed on August 31.

The withdrawal, however, gave new strength to Islamist extremists, who are now closer than ever to taking back command of the country.

What is the reaction to the American announcement? The Afghan government has blamed the U.S. government for escalating violence in the country, but the international response has been more measured, as along with the Americans, NATO (North Atlantic Military Alliance) troops are also in action. leaving. This week, President Joe Biden responded to the criticism, saying “Afghans must fight for themselves, fight for their nation” and that he does not regret the decision.

According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, around 400,000 Afghans have been forced to leave their homes since the start of the year.

With the recent escalation in violence and the imminent fall of the government, countries around the world called on their citizens to leave the country and decided to temporarily close their embassies and consulates – Brazil no longer had diplomatic representation in Afghanistan.

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