Kabul Diaries Part 1: 'Anger, fear, helplessness'

September 1, 2021
Women and children in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2019 by Laura Quagliuolo
Anger and frustration are high among Afghans. 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 16, 2021:

Afghans are shocked by the sudden fall of provinces to the Taliban. Until a few days ago, when the Taliban offensive against the Afghan army escalated, many Afghans took to social media. Many were demanding sanctions against Pakistan. The sentiments were high as many Afghans felt that Afghanistan had been sold in an already pre-planned [act] by the United States to the Taliban.

Nothing was more shocking than the breaking news that “Kabul would fall within hours”. As I write this, Kabul has already fallen to the Taliban.

My mother, who has seen forty years of the Afghan conflict, was very angry at the rumours about Kabul’s fall. “Every Afghan knows that the Taliban would not have been able to fight the Afghan army but a deal was already struck with the Taliban and they are now roaming in Kabul,” she was saying.

Many people from the provinces fled to Kabul, thinking they would be saved from the wrath of the Taliban. There are chaotic scenes at Kabul’s parks as internally displaced people have taken refuge there.

They have no food or place to sleep. Many families fled for the fear of being targeted or their daughters being abducted by the militants. There are reports that in Takhar, girls were kidnapped and in some cases, were forced-married to the Taliban soldiers.

There are also reports that women university students and professors were sent back in Herat province. Reportedly, in Kandahar nine women workers of a private bank were sent back home and were asked that their male family members could work instead of them.

Kabul has been gripped by fear since yesterday. Till the very last moment, the activists were hopeful that Kabul would not fall. But as the scenes changed on the ground people have stormed banks to withdraw money and move elsewhere. A day before the fall of Kabul, there were rumours that President Ghani would resign. However, after his TV speech, things apparently got normal. Before his address, dollar had jumped to 100 Afghanis. After his address, it declined to 85 Afghanis.

Kawoon Khamoosh, an Afghan journalist, tweeted: “Kabul is nothing short of an atomic heart at the moment. I crossed Wazir Akbar Khan and saw people overflowing from the streets as if it’s an apocalypse. Miserable faces, desperate youth and families stuck in heavy traffic.”

Children as young as 7 years old fear the Taliban. The youngest generation in Kabul has always lived under a relatively democratic government and explaining to these young children about the Taliban is a task many families have undertaken to prepare their young kids for a tomorrow where they will have to follow a strict dress code, or to see their mothers covering their faces.

Anger and frustration are high among the Afghans as many fear that their hard earn rights would be taken away. Many are calling out the international community for turning a blind eye to the critical situation in Afghanistan and allowing the Taliban to enter Kabul.

Rawan Karwan, a social media user, stated, “lost everything. My hope for a bright future of my country, my dream to have a strong and stable Afghanistan. My heart is bleeding. Our allies turned their back on our people, they handed us over to brutalities.”

The head of Afghan Film Corporation, Sahraa Karimi, tweeted: “There is no peace deal, it was a deal to give Afghanistan to the Taliban.”

Pashtana Zalmai Khan Durrani, an educationist, mourned: “first the leaders sold us out and then the west sold us out and now the Taliban are just taking their bounty, women are treated as goods in this war.”

Rada Akbar, an artist, stated: “The world should feel embarrassed. I am disgusted.”

In another tweet she said, “My Afghanistan, we are left alone, with many enemies but this shall pass too and we will rise again but will never forget what the world did to us.”

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