Today is a national holiday in Afghanistan as the Taliban terrorist organization celebrates the second anniversary of a disastrous U.S. retreat from the country. The commemoration marks their return to Kabul and the establishment of an “Islamic system.”
“On the second anniversary of the conquest of Kabul, we would like to congratulate the mujahid [holy warrior] nation of Afghanistan and ask them to thank Almighty Allah for this great victory,” the spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Now that overall security is ensured in the country, the entire territory of the country is managed under a single leadership, an Islamic system is in place and everything is explained from the angle of Sharia [Islamic law],” Mujahid said.
That “security” has included the hunting down and murder of Christians and others who disagree with the new regime
Convoys of Taliban members gathered at Massoud Square near the abandoned US embassy building. Some of the men carried their weapons, while others snapped selfies as anthems blared and boys sold the movement’s white flag inscribed with the Islamic declaration of faith.
In Herat in the west, a crowd of Taliban supporters chanted: “Death to the Europeans, death to the Westerners, long live the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, death to the Americans.”
The Taliban government is still not formally recognised by any country. The international community continues to grapple with how, and if, to engage with the Taliban authorities.
The Taliban entered the capital on August 15, 2021, as President Joe Biden and U.S. military leaders ordered a hasty evacuation. Just hours later, thirteen U.S. service members and 170 Afghan civilians were killed after an ISIS member detonated a suicide bomb just outside the Kabul airport, while the U.S. military tried to evacuate American and Afghan allies from the country.
The Taliban, which rules with Islamic law, has stopped most Afghan female staff from working with aid agencies, closed beauty salons, barred women from parks and curtailed their travel in the absence of any male guardian.
Girls aged above 12 years have been excluded from classes since the Taliban returned to power. For many Western governments, the ban is a major obstacle to any hope of formal recognition of the Taliban administration.
Most Muslim-majority countries and Islamic scholars have rejected Taliban’s stand on women’s rights. Some Taliban leaders back education for women, with a senior leader saying that Islam grants women right to education and work.
The takeover also fueled a pandemic of starvation across the country as its society stopped functioning. The Biden administration responded with humanitarian aid in the for of food but also giving the Taliban $1.1 billion in funding.
The Taliban hopes that progress will help bring foreign recognition and the lifting of sanctions, and the release of about $7bn in central bank assets frozen in the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2021 after the Taliban took control, half of which was later transferred to a Swiss trust.
A of UN experts hit out on Monday at pledges by Taliban authorities of a softer rule than during its first stint in power from 1996 to 2001.
“Despite reassurances by the Taliban de facto authorities that any restrictions, particularly in terms of access to education would be temporary, the facts on the ground have demonstrated an accelerated, systematic, and all-engulfing system of segregation, marginalisation and persecution,” the experts said in a statement.
“The gap between promises and practices by Afghanistan’s de facto authorities has widened, and the idea of a “reformed” Taliban has been exposed as mistaken,” they added.