Afghanistan Conflict: The 20 Year Relict

Disclaimer: Warning, you may find objectionable or possibly offensive content to exist in this article. The aim of this article is to cover the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan only. As writers of Echo Media, our investigation of the current occurrences through multiple credible websites has been the source of this article. Hence, speculation of conceivable doubt is of your own risk. For further information, such as the origin of the Taliban, please refer to the attached list of additional references. Thank you for your time.

With the Taliban’s longstanding war, now comes a reprise. Many Afghans have since fled the country through possible means they have access to; generally through airports despite the raging Covid-19 precautions, in panic. On the basis of the US that declared retreat (by the end of August) since the signing of an agreement reducing US military control over Taliban troops. Originating insurgency spreading city to city by day.

Why do they chain fear amongst the Afghans and emanate darkness and break chords in peoples’ patience?

A militant group known for their 1990 reign over Afghanistan, the Taliban, are known to be brutal, strict in adhering to “Islamic Sharia laws”, predominantly ruthless in killing and terrorism. Women under their influence are either not allowed to be seen without their burqas, banned from schools or work outside of the home in a predicament. 

The leadership structure (though still considered a big mystery) of the Taliban are as below: 

Headed by the Taliban chief, Haibatullah Akhundzada, followed by the leadership council of the top 20 members of the Taliban. Deputy leaders are Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mohamad Yaqub and Sirajuddin Haqqani. Followed by, key commanders name, Khalil Ur-Rehman Haqqani and Qari Zia Ur-Rehman. 

Attached is the notorious list of key Commanders, Spokesmen and Commissioners.

Afghanistan is located in Central Asia between Iran on the west and Pakistan to the east. Filled with tall jagged mountains and forbidding snow.. This provides many dangers if a war were to start, convenient for bloodshed which is why many do not wish for the Taliban to rise against such a terrain. 

Afghanistan War

On Tuesday morning, the 11th of September 2001, the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan, New York City was subjected to a series of coordinated terrorist attacks by the Wahhabi Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda. As a result of this attack in late 2001, the United States of America (USA), supported by its close allies, launched an invasion towards Afghanistan in order to topple the Taliban. This was the beginning of a 20-year war between the USA and the Taliban. It is also the longest war in the history of the United States having surpassed the Vietnam War that took place from 1 November 1955 to 30 April 1975 by roughly 5 months. After 19 years and 8 months later, the Taliban won the war against the USA and its allies. 

After countless battles and peace agreements, on the 29th February 2020, a conditional peace deal was signed between the United States and the Taliban at Doha, Qatar. This conditional peace deal called for a prisoner exchange within ten days and was also supposed to lead to the US redrawing their troops from Afghanistan within 14 months. However, the next day during a press conference the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani criticized the deal for being signed behind closed doors and mentioned that the Afghan government was not involved in the deal. Consequently, the Taliban retaliated and this resulted in multiple attacks throughout the rest of turbulent 2020. 

In November 2020, the White House told the Pentagon to begin planning to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 by 15 January 2021. In January 2021, the US reached its targeted troop level of 2,500 which is also the lowest force level since 2001. In March, President Ashraf Ghani confirmed that his government was ready for peace talks with the Taliban. Germany sent more troops into the country boosting their total amount to 1,300 but New Zealand decided to withdraw all of its forces and ended its involvement in the war. 

On 13 April 2021, Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States announced that all remaining troops would be redrawn from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021. The date was later brought forward to the 31st of August 2021. As this date drew closer, all other countries began to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and ended their involvement in the war. 

Starting from the 1st May 2021, the Taliban forces along with its allied militant groups launched a military offense against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Advancing through Afghanistan at a rapid pace, they took over the districts in Afghanistan one after another. Eventually, the Taliban reached the capital city, Kabul on the 15th of August 2021. Upon reaching the capital, it was only met by a limited amount of resistive forces. 

When President Ashraf Ghani decided to flee the country, it certainly did not help with the situation. After the president fled the country the remaining loyalist forces also left their post and country. That evening the Taliban forces took over the Arg

When we gained independence from the British, the Union Jack was lowered and the Jalur Gemilang was raised. Similarly, the Taliban lowered the Afghan republic flag and replaced it with their own. It was formally declared on 19 August 2021 that after 19 years and 8 months the Taliban had won the war. 

Conspiracy theories on the uncertain outcome of a possible war include: 

The Cargo Plane (US Airforce C-17) that showed the code 1109 which was said to have nothing to do with the 911 attacks on the twin towers. Is it really such a coincidence or is it instead a warning of possible future actions? Whatever the meaning may be, facts are that many Afghans in an attempt to escape the Talibans have clung on to the plane in Kabul Airport and fell to their death. 

Possible provocation of world war III is also suggested by conspiracy theorists. The takeover of Afghanistan is possibly a call to get political gain of followers who may switch sides supporting the Taliban out of fear or hope for a revolution in chaos.

It may also be a reference to the revenge of Osama Bin Laden’s death, to which no one knows whether he died of natural causes or was murdered by US forces, to which the Taliban held the latter to be true.

Could it also be that the US has deliberately allowed the Taliban to take over due to some form of corruption and mutual benefit between military knowledge and world domination?

The truth will never be told. Yet blood continues to shed on uncontrollably in Afghanistan.

Malala and the Taliban

As the youngest winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize, Malala is known to the world as an activist for female education especially in her native Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan. In early 2009, Malala wrote for the BBC Urdu under a pseudonym that detailed her life as the Taliban took over the Swat Valley. On 9 October 2012, alongside her, 2 other girls were shot by a Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan gunman in an assassination attempt. After being hit in the head, she remained unconscious and in critical condition. Once her condition stabilised, she was then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. The assassination attempt that almost claimed her life sparked support for her work. Ever since recovering from that incident, Malala has become a world-renowned activist for the female rights of education. 

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Malala expressed her concern through The New York Times. Having survived the attempt and managing to complete her study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economy (PPE) from the University of Oxford, she also talked about how grateful she is and cannot begin to imagine how different life would have been if it was not defined by men with guns. 

When speaking to Newsnight, she also called upon countries such as the US and UK to open their doors to refugees and civilians from Afghanistan who are fleeing the country as the Taliban claims victory. She also said that she has been trying to reach out to many other global leaders because every country has a role and responsibility to play in order to ensure that humans, women’s rights activists and Afghan refugees have a place to turn to. 

Possible Future of Afghanistan

A possible future of Afghanistan might be a descent into past fears, loss of women’s rights, and death everywhere.

Would other countries step in to control the situation and try to restore some peace in that part of the world? 

Or would the destruction be left on its own, slowly but surely spreading to other continents?

One by one, tied down by terrorism, will bombs start to be planted because of the lack of repercussions by the US?

Perhaps this is all a hoax to implant fear, a small malicious agreement to exert influence within the Taliban’s jurisdiction so that they can continue their feeling of being powerful only within their areas.

If the Taliban get their way, will humans cower in fear of their own kind while Talibans conquer regions by brute force, consequences ignored by authorities who have the power to help?

Time will tell. But when the time comes, it might already be too late. 


Resources for Further Reading: 

The article above does not cover any information regarding the events prior to 9/11. If you would like to know more, feel free to visit the links below: 

  1. Soviet-Afghan War
  2. CIA’s involvement with Osama Bin Laden
  3. Inter-Services Intelligence Activities in Afghanistan
  4. Afghanistan Conflict Starting from 1978
  5. History of the Taliban
  6. Details regarding the 9/11 attack 
  7. The New York Times Article
  8. How the  US Military Response led to 2 decades of War

Written by: Sumitra Cheong and Twis Siew 

Edited by: Jamie

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