Is the Taliban Not the Dangerous Extremist Group It Was In 2001?

Published July 15th, 2021 - 06:18 GMT
Afghan women
Afghan women internally displaced with their families following battles between the Taliban and Afghan security forces. (Hoshang Hashimi / AFP)

Development in Afghanistan is rapidly escalating as US and NATO troops continue their withdrawal from the country. Yet, questions over the global inaction towards the Taliban military success in taking over the country are rising, especially as local Afghans report the extremist practices that were heavily referred to as reasons for the US invasion of the country in 2001.

Enforcing head-to-toe covering on women across territories under its control, preventing young girls and women from receiving education, and requesting lists with names of women above 15 years old for marriage purposes, the Taliban's practices in Afghanistan today do not seem that different from what the group did throughout the 1990s, before the US invasion.

However, while the US and its allies cited human rights violations especially those of women, besides the group's involvement in the 9/11 attacks in 2001 as a reason for the longest American war in history, these same grievances are no longer relevant in 2021. 

Despite disturbing reports from Afghanistan suggesting no change over the Taliban's extremist policies compared to the ones, the group enforced prior to the US invasion, in addition to news of the Taliban's progress in taking over international crossings with Pakistan and Iran, the US and its western allies seem determined to continue withdrawing troops from the country regardless of the dangers the Taliban pose to local Afghans.

Moreover, US officials have not made any attempts to address the Taliban's policy in Afghanistan, despite the ongoing peace deal signed between the two sides since February 2020. 

Yesterday, the former US President George W. Bush criticized the US policy in Afghanistan during an interview with a German broadcaster, saying he "fears for Afghan women the most" and that they "are going to suffer unspeakable harm."


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