On Sunday, August 15, 2021, the Taliban retook Afghanistan’s Capital city, Kabul. They also declared the rebirth of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. This article highlights five possible consequences of the 2021 Taliban takeover.
The Taliban is a Deobandi Islamist religious-political movement and military organization in Afghanistan, regarded by several governments as terrorists. Founded in September 1994, with Kandahar, Afghanistan, being its headquarters, the Taliban has inspired terror ever since. The Taliban militants were initially among the numerous factions that arose when the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan.
Mohammed Omar, its founder, was a mujahid commander who led the Taliban militants. Abdul Ghani Baradar was his deputy. In 1996, the Taliban set up an Islamic state in Afghanistan. The Taliban was overthrown in 2001 by US-led forces and Afghan groups following the terrorist attacks of 11 September.
The return of the Taliban to power, two decades after they were ousted has undoubtedly surprised many. Acting faster than many anticipated, the Taliban sacked several cities in a matter of days. Kabul was the last major redoubt of government control.
Many blame U.S. defense officials who expected Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, to fall in 90 days. Unfortunately, it took less than 10 days. Sadly, there might be some grievous consequences as a result of this takeover.
Below are 5 possible consequences of the 2021 Taliban takeover
1. The Taliban takeover could possibility make Afghanistan a safe haven for terrorists
Since its ouster in 2001, the Taliban has maintained its insurgency against the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan and the Afghan government. This plainly reveals that terrorism is part and parcel of this group. It has been reported that the Taliban has strong ties with Al-Qaeda, a notorious terrorist organization. Also, the Taliban housed Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attack. They refused to hand him over when the U.S. wished to extradite him. This proves again the sympathies of the Taliban for terrorists and terrorism.
2. The takeover has a possibility of destabilizing neighboring countries
Citizens of a war-torn country usually leave for neighboring countries. These neighboring countries now have to bear the burden of having refugees and the problems that come with it. These countries take a lot of strain both politically and economically. The same can be said for Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, especially Pakistan.
Seeing the Taliban as a necessary bulwark against India, Pakistan is believed to have helped foster the Taliban. This was even as far back as 1996. Unfortunately, Pakistan had had to accommodate several refugees in their numbers due to the activities of the Taliban. Even now, history repeats itself as Afghans flee to neighboring countries. This might put a financial and political strain on Pakistan, not to mention other neighboring countries thereby destabilizing their economy.
3. The Taliban takeover could encourage other terrorist organizations to speed up terrorist activities
The instant many Nigerians heard of the Taliban takeover, they thought of the Boko Haram sect. Many are concerned that Boko Haram might see this as an incentive to push harder till they achieve their aim. Other terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda could take a cue from the Taliban. If these terrorist organizations were to continue in the steps of the Taliban, then the world is in trouble.
4. The takeover could consequently lead to an abuse of human rights
During the first rule of the Taliban, human rights were abused. Women and girls were reportedly stopped from attending school thereby dispossessing them of the right to education. Public executions, beatings, and amputations were as good as the norm. The past has not been forgotten and this is why many Afghans have decided to leave their home country. The Taliban has made a lot of promises this time around. They’ve even tried to be on their best behavior.
Many Afghans though don’t wish to be around if suddenly such promises hold no water. Since the recent Taliban takeover, people have been whipped and turned back on the road to the airport. This has undermined the Taliban’s promise of “safe passage” for those who wish to leave the country. This might only be the tip of the iceberg for all we know.
5. The 2021 Taliban takeover could lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan and neighboring countries
Temporarily, the world might have forgotten about the dreaded epidemic in the wake of Afghanistan’s crisis. However, COVID-19 is very much real and still around. As of 28 July 2021, MoPH data shows that 145,996 people are confirmed to have had COVID-19. This is across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan since the start of the pandemic. An additional 8,143 people have tested positive since the last update two weeks ago. The massive exodus of citizens, coupled with desperate attempts to escape the Taliban, might see Afghanistan become a COVID-19 red zone. Sadly, neighboring countries where many Afghans run to might not be exempted from this.
The Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. What next? That’s the big question. Though speculations abound here and there, nobody really knows. As events further unfold, it is hoped that the current Taliban will be different from the Taliban of 1996.