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Forced Marriages, Oppression & Violence As Taliban Gains Power in Afghanistan

After a 2-decade-long presence, US & NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving the country in a state of war.

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4 min read

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

Imagine, living in a country, parts of which is being captured by an insurgent fundamentalist group. You can't move out of your house without a male escorting you, at least one man from your house has to join this group and take up arms. Even mobile phones and mediums of entertainment may get banned. War, gross human rights violations, oppression – this is the reality that Afghanistan is staring at today.

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After a nearly two-decade-long military presence, US and NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving the country in a state of war.

It took the Taliban less than a week to take over more than a half of the country’s provincial capitals, including the second-largest city Kandahar. They are now just few kilometres away from the gates of Kabul.

The exit of the US troops has been speedy and without a proper strategy. The rapid gains made by the Taliban has surprised everyone.

Civilian casualties, mostly women and children, reached a record level in May-June 2021. It was up 47 percent from the same period in 2020.

As many as 115 Afghan security forces and 58 civilians were killed in the first five days of August 2021.

Afghan civil and refugee rights activists based in Delhi shared few videos with The Quint of the excesses in Afghanistan's Mazar-e-Sharif.

In the video, a man with bruises on his face describes how his daughter was forcefully taken by a Talib. His daughter was to be married in few weeks’ time.

''Brother of a Talib commander, Aamir Ajmal, came and forcefully took my daughter away. He even assaulted me. Nobody listens to us when we seek help. I don't know where to go; there's no one here to listen to our voices.''
An Afghan civilian

He says when he complained and asked for help from other Talibs, he was beaten up.

He questions the ideology of the Taliban– "Is this Islam? What is this Sharia?"

Before closing, the Indian Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif evacuated 50 nationals by a special flight. The Indian Embassy in Kabul has also issued a security advisory.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is uniting warlords, politicians and other anti-Taliban militia to stop the Taliban from entering Mazar. It's the fourth largest city and losing it will mean complete loss of the government's control over the north.

Taliban has captured Mazar's famous warlord and the former Vice-President of Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum's palace in Sheberghan city of Jowzjan Province in northern Afghanistan. Videos of this are being shared on social media.

As much as 75% of the Afghan population is under 35 years of age. The youth of Afghanistan is now preparing itself for a civil war.

Salman (25) from Kabul says that things look normal but the reality is grim.

He saw a glimmer of hope a few weeks back when thousands of people in Kabul, Kundus, Jalalabad, etc marched on the streets to protest against the Taliban and chanted 'Allahu Akbar' (God is the greatest), in their attempt to reclaim the turf.

But these token symbols of resistance stand no chance against the might of the armed Taliban militia.

"Every corner of Afghanistan is at war with the Taliban. The Taliban attacked the home of the defence minister in Kabul a few days ago. How can it be safe for other civilians? This generation was about to fly. But now all our dreams have become victims of war."
Salman | Resident, Kabul

This generation grew up in the post-Taliban era. They have experienced the freedom of expression, women with jobs and education. They even took part in elections. But the developments of the past several weeks, the threat of lawlessness, and seeing the country slip back from the gains of the past years has left the youth angry, disappointed, and betrayed.

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Meanwhile in India’s capital, New Delhi, many Afghan refugees are worried about their relatives stuck in Afghanistan. Since the borders are closed, the Indian government is only issuing emergency medical visas.

My parents are stuck in Afghanistan. They don't have any other country to go to. This is a big problem. Not just for my family but for every other Afghan family that lives in Afghanistan.
Afghan refugee in Delhi

Nisar Ahmed Shirzai, an Afghan civil and refugee rights activist, has accessed some videos from Afghanistan from the past few weeks that he shared with The Quint.

He showed us the videos of families being displaced internally, Taliban capturing houses, bombing homes, brutalising women.

Sherzai showed an official diktat from the Taliban to the mosques. They were asked to list out details of single women, above 15 years of age and widows under 45 years, so that the Talibs could marry them.

After the US announced its withdrawal, women took to the streets with guns and arms to show their support for the army, to send a message that they will not be oppressed and will fight the Taliban, if required.

Sherzai shared some videos, which he alleges, prove the presence of Pakistani Army in the country, asserting that Pakistan has a major role in enabling the Taliban.

"It was irresponsible of USA to leave the Afghans in a situation like this. We had gained so much in 20 years. We had freedom, our girls could study. But now we are back to where we started from."
Nisar Ahmed Shirzai, Afghan Civil and Refugee Rights Activist

(Update: The crisis in Afghanistan escalated further on Sunday, 15 August, with Taliban fighters entering Kabul, as negotiations began with the Afghanistan government for an 'unconditional surrender' and a 'peaceful transfer of power'.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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