Charles Ramsey, Senior Fellow for RFI’s South and Southeast Asia and Middle East Action Teams, authored an article for Religion Unplugged titled, “Seen From Within: A Journey Into The Taliban’s New Order For Afghanistan.” In the piece, Ramsey reflects on his recent trip to Afghanistan, in which he sought to understand and document the impact of Taliban rule on the Afghan people, and ascertain what the future might hold for them. He writes:
Nine months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan— when the world watched in shock as thousands pressed through the Kabul airport gates and onto the tarmac, stuck for days without food, water, or sanitation, trying desperately to flee— I arrived to the same airport, rolling my suitcase along the same uneven path and through same gate that so many had given everything to enter.
I exited the terminal past the large “I [heart] Afghanistan” sign and set out onto the dusty streets of Taliban-occupied Kabul. I had come to understand and document the impact of Taliban rule on the Afghan people, and the implications of their leadership for the country’s future.
August 15 marked one year since the Taliban rolled into Kabul and brought America’s “forever war” to a close. Analysts predicted that it would be months before the fight came to Kabul, but once Zarang fell, it was only 10 days before Taliban forces entered the capital unopposed.
A year after the takeover Afghanistan remains in the headlines. Reports of famine, extra-judicial killings, and the resurgence of ISIS seem to perpetuate the stereotype of a land beyond hope. There is no shortage of unfortunate headlines, but still little sense of what life is like on the ground. There are accounts of the clamping down on women’s rights, of sweeping house-to-house searches, and the imposition of Pashtun tribal mores couched as Sharia law. I was here to experience this new and unfolding reality. To listen and see, and to tell the stories of those living day-to-day in a country now ruled by the “supreme commander” Hibatullah Akhundzada, a septuagenarian dictator ensconced in a compound deep in Kandahar province some 300 miles away as the crow flies, but centuries away in other regards.
Read the full article: “Seen From Within: A Journey Into The Taliban’s New Order For Afghanistan.”