My country has fallen into the hands of the Taliban again and Afghans all over the world feel helpless

After decades of war, displacement, pain and poverty, the people of Afghanistan have not had a moment of peace

Faiza Saqib
Monday 16 August 2021 14:11
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Crowds rush to Kabul Airport as desperate Afghan citizens attempt to flee city

I last visited Afghanistan when I was seven years old. I have vivid memories of my uncle taking me to try out the best burgers in town. The smell of fresh bread mixed with an odd stench of petrol immediately felt like home. I was just a little girl when I had the chance to see my homeland and I’ve never been back since.

After decades of war, displacement, pain and poverty, the people of Afghanistan have not had a moment of peace. The world sees Afghanistan as a country in constant war, desensitising the masses to the torment the Afghan people are facing.

The Taliban have grown more rapidly in recent years, filling a power vacuum, storming the country and more recently taking over provinces one by one. Tensions escalated after US President Joe Biden suddenly announced that US troops would be leaving the country, causing an uproar among many people within Afghanistan. However, Biden recently released a statement making it clear that he does not regret pulling out US troops: “They’ve got to fight for themselves.” It was a distasteful sentiment, leaving many Afghans furious.

Taliban ideologies and extremist views have historically led to the closure of many educational institutions, the banning of music and the sudden silencing of women’s voices and basic rights. The dismay and anger over their resurgence now is felt by many around the world. Mahbooba Seraj, a member of the Afghan Women’s Network’s leadership board, in an interview with TRT world, chastised world leaders: “Shame on you for what you did to Afghanistan […] What is happening in Afghanistan today is going to put the country 200 years back.” Her words are echoed across social media and the Afghan diaspora.

I reached out to a family member to get further details on the situation in Kabul. Sensing the exhaustion in their voice, I couldn’t help but feel privileged to find myself sitting in comfort, while family and friends are left powerless in the midst of the chaos in Afghanistan. “There are over a thousand displaced families outside my house, people have come from all over the country,” they told me. “At night they start firing and start shooting rockets. It’s pretty stressful here, but it’s OK.”

“It’s OK” – words that are lingering in my mind, a reminder of how patient the people of Afghanistan have been for decades and how patient they remain even under such pressures.

The instability of the Afghan government provided the Taliban with the power that they so eagerly crave. But the question is, will we be able to come back from this? The Taliban have captured major provinces, leaving many, including myself, in shock as we watch the horrors unfold.

The diaspora feel a deep sense of pain, privilege and confusion. We can’t help but ask the question: “So what now? What does this mean for us and the people of Afghanistan?”

I think of my mother in these moments too, how she left her home during the Soviet invasion in 1980 to escape the war and how decades later, she’s having to watch history repeat itself. “When will it end?” my mother’s voice trembled. These are questions I no longer have the answers to, questions that the people of Afghanistan have lost hope of ever answering.

The world has undoubtedly failed the people of Afghanistan.

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