1 Year Since Taliban Seized Afghanistan08/15 06:03
The Taliban on Monday marked a year since they seized the Afghan capital of
Kabul, a rapid takeover that triggered a hasty escape of the nation's
Western-backed leaders, sent the economy into a tailspin and fundamentally
transformed the country.
KABUL (AP) -- The Taliban on Monday marked a year since they seized the
Afghan capital of Kabul, a rapid takeover that triggered a hasty escape of the
nation's Western-backed leaders, sent the economy into a tailspin and
fundamentally transformed the country.
Bearded Taliban fighters, some hoisting rifles or the white banners of their
movement, staged small victory parades on foot, bicycles and motor cycles in
the streets of the capital. One small group marched past the former U.S.
Embassy, chanting "Long live Islam" and "Death to America."
A year after the dramatic day, much has changed in Afghanistan. The former
insurgents struggle to govern and remain internationally isolated. The economic
downturn has driven millions more Afghans into poverty and even hunger, as the
flow of foreign aid slowed to a trickle.
Meanwhile, hard-liners appear to hold sway in the Taliban-led government,
which imposed severe restrictions on access to education and jobs for girls and
women, despite initial promises to the contrary. A year on, teenage girls are
still barred from school and women are required to cover themselves head-to-toe
in public, with only the eyes showing.
Some are trying to find ways to keep education from stalling for a
generation of young women and underground schools in homes have spring up.
A year ago, thousands of Afghans had rushed to Kabul International Airport
to flee the Taliban amid the U.S. military's chaotic withdrawal from Kabul
after 20 years of war -- America's longest conflict.
Some flights resumed relatively quickly after those chaotic days. On Monday,
a handful of commercial flights were scheduled to land and take off from a
runway that last summer saw Afghan men clinging to the wheels of planes taking
off, some falling to their death.
Schoolyards stood empty Monday as the Taliban announced a public holiday to
mark the day, which they refer to as "The Proud Day of Aug. 15" and the "First
Anniversary of the Return to Power."
"Reliance on God and the support of the people brought this great victory
and freedom to the country," wrote Abdul Wahid Rayan, the head of the
Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency. "Today, Aug. 15, marks the victory of Islamic
Emirate of Afghanistan against America and its allies occupation of
On the eve of the anniversary, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani defended
what he said was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the
humiliation of surrender to the insurgents. He told CNN that on the morning of
Aug. 15, 2021, with the Taliban at the gates of Kabul, he was the last one at
the presidential palace after his guards had disappeared.
Tomas Niklasson, the European Union's special envoy to Afghanistan, said the
bloc of nations remains committed to the Afghan people and to "stability,
prosperity and sustainable peace in Afghanistan and the region."
"This will require an inclusive political process with full, equal and
meaningful participation of all Afghan men and women and respect for human
rights," Niklasson wrote.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said an international
responsibility toward Afghanistan remains after the NATO withdrawal.
"A regime that tramples on human rights cannot under any circumstances be
recognized," she said in a statement. "But we must not forget the people in
Afghanistan, even a year after the Taliban takeover."