Crying Afghan girl shares fears as Taliban take control of country
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The Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapsed in 2001. In the years to follow, the hardline Islamist group has been engaged in conflict with the Afghan government in Kabul, which has been supported by western nations like the UK and the US. But as the US and UK withdraw troops from Afghanistan this year after 20 years of war, the Taliban’s renewed offensive has seen the insurgents claim swathes of Afghan territories. The Taliban has now taken control of the presidential palace in Kabul and has assumed control of the country.
What do the Taliban stand for?
Taliban means “students” in the Pashto language, and the group first originated in the 1990s around the Afghan city of Kandahar.
Following the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of the government, the Taliban was one of the factions fighting in a civil war for control of Afghanistan.
In 1996, the Taliban proclaimed Afghanistan as an Islamic emirate, but Taliban rule collapsed in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US, after US troops entered the country.
The Taliban’s previous rules were based on a strict interpretation of Sharia.
Women’s access to education and work was curtailed previously, and public punishment and executions were commonplace.
The group denies that it seeks a return of this kind of governance in Taliban-controlled areas, stating it seeks a “genuine Islamic system” in Afghanistan.
But now the Taliban has returned to rule Afghanistan, there are concerns strict rules are already being introduced in some areas under its control.
Which rules could be introduced in Afghanistan under the Taliban?
Some key rules could be introduced under the Taliban’s new regime based on past precedent and recent reports from Afghanistan.
The Taliban has not ruled out a return for strict punishments and executions in Afghanistan under the group’s control.
A spokesman for the Taliban did not dismiss the possibility of the return of stonings, amputation of hands and feet, as well as public executions.
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Spokesman Suhail Shaheen told BBC News: “I can’t say right now, that’s up to the judges in the courts and the laws.”
He added: “The judges will be appointed according to the law of the future government.”
The Taliban could also reintroduce restrictions on freedoms for women and girls.
Under the Taliban’s previous regime in Afghanistan, women were not allowed to work and were required to cover their faces.
Girls were not allowed to attend school, and women were not allowed to leave their homes without a male relative.
The Taliban signalled earlier this year it would make provisions for women and minority rights in line with Islam, including enabling access to work and education.
But in recent months, there have been concerning reports which suggest otherwise.
There were reports earlier this month of nine female bank workers who were ordered to leave their jobs by Taliban fighters in Kandahar.
In Taliban-controlled areas, there have been reports of women being forced to wear burkas and cover their faces.
And since peace talks began last year between the Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government, there have been reports of Afghan women working in fields including journalism, healthcare and law enforcement being killed in a wave of attacks.
The return of the Taliban could also see cultural rules shift for the people of Afghanistan.
Under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 regime, the group banned television, music and cinema.
Books and non-Islamic relics were also destroyed, including the Bamiyan Buddha statues in central Afghanistan in 2001.
As the Taliban consolidates its power, it remains to be seen whether curtails could be reintroduced on key areas of Afghan culture once again.
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