Afghan youth fear Taliban return will roll back Kandahar’s progress
31 December 2020 | 12:54 pm
Once the epicentre of the Taliban’s iron-fisted Islamist government, Kandahar city in Afghanistan's restive south is slowly transforming into a vibrant urban centre. But the city's youth fear hard-earned freedoms are on the verge of being lost again as the Taliban ramp up attacks in their former heartland despite peace talks with the government.
After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, thousands of people were evacuated to Europe. Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Nilofar Bayat and her husband are now living in the Spanish city of Bilbao - making a fresh start on the court.
Since the Taliban returned to power in August, life in Afghanistan has become more and more difficult. The country, which was already beset by an economic crisis, is now confronted with a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. Billions of dollars in aid money have dried up, funding for hospitals is non-existent and nearly half the population faces acute hunger. Our team on the ground reports.
In January 2017, an all-female orchestra from Afghanistan performed for world leaders at the World Economic Forum, a symbol of just how far the country had come since the dark days of the Taliban. Viola player Zarifa Adiba was just 18 years old when she led that orchestra in Switzerland. Her memoir, which has just been published in French, is an extraordinary account of how music offered her a chance to show herself, her family and the world what Afghan women are capable of. She joined us for Perspective and told us about her fears for Afghan women and girls, now that the Taliban are in charge once again.
Amid a mounting economic crisis, the Taliban has pledged to pay three months' worth of lost wages to public employees. The group boasted of new revenue, but did not specify where it came from.
A Taliban ministry has asked TV networks to stop broadcasting programs that the ultra-conservative group deems immoral. They have said that the directives are not obligatory, but rather "a religious guideline."
Kabul residents on Tuesday said the first 100 days after the Taliban takeover had been difficult, expressing ongoing concerns about security and girls' education.
In Afghanistan, women have now been waiting for three months for their fate to be decided by the Taliban government. One key question is whether older schoolgirls will be able to return to high school. With winter school holidays coming up, women in Kabul fear that the Taliban will simply play for time and postpone any decision on the issue. In the meantime, some Afghan provinces have been able to reopen their schools, but not others. Our team on the ground reports from Kabul.
With the Taliban now in power for more than 100 days, women and girls in Afghanistan are still waiting to hear officially if they can return to work and school. Also, how do we flip the script when it comes to gender violence and teach men and boys to act appropriately? Annette Young talks to Michael Conroy, the founder of Men at Work, an UK organisation which offers training programs to foster violence-free relationships for men and boys.
The Taliban government leader asked for international aid and access to about $10 billion in funds frozen after the insurgents took over the country in August. The UN is warning half the country could starve this winter.
By imposing new restrictions on the media and female actors, the Taliban have once again reaffirmed their misogynistic ideology, rights advocates have said.
Panjshir Valley became known as the last bastion of the anti-Taliban resistance as the militants swept to power in Afghanistan in August. But it was only a matter of weeks before Panjshir too would fall into Taliban control. Once a bustling hub of activity, Panjshir is now largely deserted. The few residents who have stayed are now under constant surveillance, and are struggling to survive amid a crippling economic crisis. Sonia Ghezali, Shahzaib Wahlah and Solène Chalvon Fioriti report.
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