There is panic and disbelief as thousands are fleeing the Taliban’s onslaught in Afghanistan. The country’s second largest city, Kandahar, was captured by the Taliban on Thursday. The advance comes as US and other foreign troops are withdrawing after 20 years of military operations. More than 1,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in the past month alone, according to the UN. The Afghans have started arriving in capital Kabul, fleeing the Taliban onslaught. There is panic and anger. It is utterly shocking that the world seems to have abandoned the Afghani people. They are left to fend for themselves even as countries like the US and the UK are sending troops to Kabul to rescue their citizens. Many fear that regressive rule under the Taliban will return to haunt Afghanistan.
Life under the Taliban in the 1990s saw women forced to wear the all-covering burqa, education restricted for girls over 10 and brutal punishments brought in, including public executions. The major powers, especially the USA, miserably failed the Afghan people who supported their war against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, putting their own lives at risk. The US’ belief that it could transform Afghanistan was evidence of hubris, but its precipitate withdrawal is another failure with immense human cost. Its inability to determine the country’s future does not absolve it of all responsibility. The US must step up and take some initiative to help the people of Afghanistan. If Taliban militants get complete control over the country, it will pose a security threat to the entire world. The western world cannot escape from it.