Conflicts & War

Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan month after Taliban’s capture of Kabul

Kabul, Sep 15 (EFE).- A humanitarian crisis and alleged widespread human rights violations are among the top challenges Afghanistan faces a month after the Taliban’s lightning-fast capture of Kabul.

Much has changed in the country, especially in the capital, since Islamist militia seized power, marking the end of two decades of a military campaign by the United States-led international troops.

Black and white graffiti eulogizing the Taliban victory and the return of fundamentalists has replaced the colorful street doodles on the concrete barriers installed over the years to limit damages from militant attacks in Kabul.

The Taliban have also removed larger-than-life photographs of self-exiled President Ashraf Ghani, who has taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates.

The ruling militia has also replaced the internationally recognized black, red, and green tricolor with its white flag emblazoned with an Arabic verse that translates to: “There is no deity but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Traffic in the city, prone to hours of congestion, is flowing more smoothly, possibly because thousands of Afghans have fled to other countries and foreigners have also left.

But one of the most visible changes is how Kabul residents dress up now after the arrival of the Islamist force.

People have abandoned jeans and t-shirts for traditional wear. And in the case of women, it is the veil that covers them from head to toe.

“To be honest, I fear the Taliban. So, I no longer wear pants and shirts. I grew my beard. We have to adjust,” Sher Khan, a guard with a telecom firm, told EFE.

Afghan wedding ceremonies that used to host hundreds of guests have gone colorless due to the fear of the extremists at the helm.

The Taliban banned music when they ruled the country between 1996 and 2001 and decreed women to stay home based on their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

“Live music is no longer live played at wedding halls. Small music players play songs for women in separate halls. No dance, no happiness,” Qari Malik, a manager at a Kabul marriage hall, told EFE.

TV and radio channels have also stopped airing musical programs.

Muhammad Anwar, who runs a small currency exchange shop in the capital, told EFE that security in the capital city had improved.

He no longer worries about armed robberies that were so common during the Ghani government.

Militant attacks by the Taliban have also stopped. But instability has affected Anwar’s business.

He said he used to earn 2,000 Afghans (about $23) a day, compared to about Afghans 500 now.

“Fewer people exchange money. Most of the banks are closed for the past one month. Banks also allow only a limited cash withdrawals,” he said.

The cash crunch has led to long queues outside the bank branches that are still open.

Bank authorities have allowed their customers to withdraw a maximum of $200 a week.

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