(TheConservativeNews.org) – The Taliban celebrated the one-year anniversary of their takeover because of Joe Biden’s inept and incompetent withdrawal from the country. Now the nation remains in the grips of what the United Nations considers the world’s “worst” humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan is a more isolated than ever, and not a single other country has recognized the extremist group’s new government.
The Taliban’s day-to-day focus seems largely to have been reasserting full control over the lives of women and girls. They’ve told women not to go to work, have said girls over the age of 12 cannot go to most formal schools, and have placed restrictions on their freedom of movement.
Most of the measures are enforced by the revived Ministry of Vice and Virtue, one of the Taliban’s most feared institutions from its last reign of power from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban continues to strip away basic rights and the economy continues its freefall, the future for most Afghans continues to look bleak.
This is not what Taliban senior spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid promised reporters during his first official press conference on August 17, two days after taking over the country.
“Our countrymen and women who have been waiting, I would like to assure that after consultations that are going to be completed very soon, we will be witnessing the formation of a strong Islamic and inclusive government, Inshallah,” Mujahid vowed. “We will do our most to make sure that everybody is included in the country, even those people against us in the past, so we are going to wait until those announcements are made.”
“Nobody should be left out, or anybody with interests to serve the nation … So the future government will be inclusive,” he insisted.
The “inclusive” line was not a new tactic – current Taliban United Nations representative Suhail Shaheen had claimed the group “want[ed] an inclusive government because that will guarantee a stable government in the country” in December 2019. This time, with little sign that the U.S.-backed “Islamic Republic” of Afghanistan would survive, the Taliban found welcoming ears for their assurances.
“We have ongoing discussions, we are quite optimistic based on those discussions,” Mustapha Ben Messaoud, UNICEF chief of Afghanistan operations, said shortly after the conquest, referring to the possibility that the Taliban would allow girls and women to continue going to school.
Blinken lamented that same month that the Taliban appeared to have only given government leadership positions to Taliban terrorists or members of its affiliates, like the Haqqani Network. He nonetheless appeared to maintain hope at the time: “We understand that the Taliban has presented this as a caretaker cabinet. We will judge it and them by its actions.”
Taliban leaders waited for some signs of support from the international community, most prominently from China and Iran, that it would receive recognition as the functional government of Afghanistan before formally beginning to crack down on the expansion of human rights that had occurred during the 20 years of U.S.-backed rule. No nation formally recognizes the Taliban as a government, but Iran and China accepted it as an “interim” government in October 2021. After that, the Taliban abolished Afghanistan’s Human Rights Commission and its Women’s Ministry, creating the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and giving it broad powers to enforce sharia, or the Islamic law.
The Taliban has used its enforcement arm to establish checkpoints around Kabul and other major cities to berate residents into using burqas, keeping long beards, and ensuring that men are not traveling with unauthorized women. Taliban enforcers also established bizarre rules such as segregating public parks such that single men and single women cannot visit them on the same days, giving men the weekends.
The Taliban’s “Education Ministry” banned all girls and women from pursuing education above the sixth grade and announced that women should leave their homes as little as possible in May. An edict passed that month by Supreme Leader Mullah Haibutullah Akhundzada mandated the hijab, a headscarf that typically covers the hair, but insisted that the burqa, which covers the entirety of the wearer’s body, was ideal. Taliban spokesmen tried to spin this development as “inclusive” because Akhundzada did not mandate the burqa by use of force.
“The first thing they did was to isolate women from society,” Khatera Hesar, an Afghan women’s rights activist, lamented to the country’s Tolo News agency on Sunday. Tolo News was among the first victims of the new-old regime, facing regular Taliban terrorist visits to ensure its coverage did not offend the terrorists by, among other things, featuring women.
Women, arguably the most persecuted demographic under the Taliban, took the streets of Kabul to protest yet again this weekend, resulting in Taliban jihadists opening fire on the protesters, according to Tolo News. The agency’s reporter on the scene was arrested and held in Taliban detention for six hours.
The Taliban has also done little to distance itself from other terrorist groups. The Haqqani Network’s top members have taken over pivotal Afghan government ministries, most prominently “interior minister” Sirajuddin Haqqani. Haqqani, multiple reports claimed this month, was reportedly housing Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of al-Qaeda, in one of his homes when a U.S. drone strike eliminated him in Kabul in early August. Mujahid, the spokesman, insisted in a statement following the drone strike that Taliban leaders were not aware that Zawahiri was living in the most lavish neighborhood of Kabul and condemned America for violating the Taliban’s alleged “sovereignty.”
The Taliban announced that August 15 would be a public holiday in Afghanistan “to mark the first anniversary of the victory of the Afghan jihad against the American and its allies’ occupation.”