Kabul Diaries Part 3: ‘Instead of granting amnesty, Taliban should instead ask us for amnesty’

September 1, 2021
Streetscape in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2019 by Laura Quagliuolo
A street in Kabul in 2019. Photo: Laura Quagliuolo

The daily Jeddojehad (Struggle), a left-wing online Urdu-language paper is posting reports from Kabul. Filed by Yasmeen Afghan (not the author’s real name), these reports depict picture from inside Kabul and cover what is often ignored in the mainstream media.

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Posted on August 18, 2021:

During the period Taliban were ruling Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the group committed heinous crimes against the Afghan people. Afghan women were confined to their houses and were invisible from the public.

A Taliban clip has gone viral, showing them addressing female doctors, and reassuring them that they should not be scared and continue to work as the society needs them. The Taliban have also asked government employees to return to their offices and continue working without any restrictions. However, the people are skeptical at the moment and don’t want to trust them. Many fear that the Taliban will identify and trace them down once the international evacuation is completed.

Najia (not her real name), a government employee, stated: “I will wait for the next couple of days and see how things are going. After consultation with my family, I will decide whether I want to rejoin my office or not. Though the Taliban have said that women can work, how can one be sure after their brutal past.”

Two days ago, a female anchor appeared on one of the private television channels and just today, Tolo News, the most watched television channel in Afghanistan had a female anchor interview a Taliban member. This is surprising for many.

35-year-old Khatira (not real name) from the Khairkhana district of Kabul stated: “Two decades ago, this was unthinkable, but now we are seeing a female presenter on screen under Taliban rule”. However, she also added that “we should not get ahead of ourselves as who knows how long will this stay.”

Despite repeated Taliban broadcasts that there is an amnesty for government employees and that they (government employees) shouldn’t feel threatened, people are fearful and worried.

Shagufa Noorzai member of Afghan Parliament tweeted: “I feel as if I have aged drastically in the past few days.”

Some people are angry that the Taliban keep repeating that they have announced amnesty for all Afghans, and many, such as 47-year-old Nadia from the west of Kabul, argue, “the criminals should instead ask us for amnesty”.

Afghanistan has come a long way since 2001. The new generation is educated and have stood for their rights from time to time during the 20 years of the Afghan republic. Thus, it might prove hard for the Taliban to force their strict sharia law on the people. This is especially true for Afghan women, who seem to be in no mood to compromise this time.

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