Afghanistan marks 1 12 months since Taliban seizure as woes mount

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban on Monday marked a 12 months since they seized the Afghan capital in a fast takeover that triggered a hasty escape of the nation’s Western-backed leaders, despatched the economic system right into a tailspin and essentially reworked the nation.

Bearded Taliban fighters, some hoisting rifles or the white banners of their motion, staged victory parades on foot, bicycles and bikes within the streets of Kabul. One group marched previous the previous U.S. Embassy, chanting “Long live Islam” and “Death to America.”

A 12 months after the dramatic day, a lot has modified in Afghanistan. The previous insurgents wrestle to manipulate and stay internationally remoted. The financial downturn has pushed thousands and thousands extra Afghans into poverty and even starvation, because the circulation of overseas assist slowed to a trickle.

The U.N. humanitarian chief for Afghanistan warned that until donors present $2.6 billion very quickly the nation faces “pure catastrophe” over the approaching winter with thousands and thousands of lives at stake.

Ramiz Alakbarov advised a digital information convention from Kabul that the U.N.’s $4.4 billion humanitarian attraction for Afghanistan this 12 months has acquired solely about $1.8 billion, leaving a $2.6 billion hole in funding for desperately wanted meals and different assist.

He stated over 90 million individuals in Afghanistan are “food insecure,” round 35 million reside in poverty, and 6.6 million are categorized within the emergency degree only one step from famine.

Alakbarov stated he simply visited a number of hospitals and noticed “heartbreaking scenes” of malnourished kids who won’t survive the winter with out extra help.

Whereas the Afghan persons are identified for his or her resilience and talent to outlive, he stated, sadly “negative coping strategies” together with the promoting of organs and the promoting of kids shall be seen once more “if support is not provided.”

In the meantime, hard-liners seem to carry sway within the Taliban-led authorities, which imposed extreme restrictions on entry to training and jobs for women and girls, regardless of preliminary guarantees on the contrary. A 12 months on, teenage women are nonetheless barred from college and girls are required to cowl themselves head-to-toe in public, with solely the eyes displaying.

Some are looking for methods to maintain training from stalling for a era of younger girls and underground faculties in houses have sprung up.

Natalia Kanem, government director of the U.N.’s sexual and reproductive well being company, stated in an announcement that Afghan females should not be forgotten.

“As the world faces multiple, overlapping crises, we must not forget the women and girls of Afghanistan. When women’s and girls’ basic rights are denied, we are all diminished,” she stated.

A 12 months in the past, hundreds of Afghans had rushed to Kabul Worldwide Airport to flee the Taliban amid the U.S. army’s chaotic withdrawal from Kabul after 20 years of struggle — America’s longest battle.

Some flights resumed comparatively shortly after these chaotic days. On Monday, a handful of business flights had been scheduled to land and take off from a runway that final summer time noticed Afghan males clinging to the wheels of planes taking off, some falling to their demise.

Schoolyards stood empty Monday because the Taliban introduced a public vacation to mark the day, which they check with 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 pinnacle of the Taliban-run Bakhtar Information Company. “Today, Aug. 15, marks the victory of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan against America and its allies occupation of Afghanistan.”

Throughout a gathering to mark the anniversary, the Taliban deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, supplied congratulations to “the entire nation on the day of the conquest of Kabul, which was the beginning of the complete end of the occupation.”

In remarks broadcast dwell by state radio and TV, he boasted of what he described as “great achievements” beneath the Taliban, equivalent to an alleged finish of corruption, improved safety and banned poppy cultivation.

On the eve of the anniversary, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani defended what he stated was a split-second choice to flee, saying he wished to keep away from the humiliation of give up to the insurgents. He advised CNN that on the morning of Aug. 15, 2021, with the Taliban on the gates of Kabul, he was the final one on the presidential palace after his guards had disappeared.

Tomas Niklasson, the European Union’s particular envoy to Afghanistan, stated the bloc of countries stays dedicated to the Afghan individuals 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.

Faiez reported from Islamabad. Related Press writers Munir Ahmed in Islamabad and Edith M. Lederer on the United Nations contributed to this report.

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