JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a law student in Kabul offers his latest observations and perspective. For privacy and security reasons we are withholding his name and institutional affiliation. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
Close to a month has passed since the Taliban took over the country. The events the people of Afghanistan have experienced in these last couple of weeks many may never encounter again in their lifetimes—and thank god for that. After the US withdrawal, the situation worsened and a hot conflict was fought with the Taliban from the last pocket of resistance in Panjshir valley. This was led by Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the most important US ally in the fights against the Soviets in the 1980s. It is noteworthy that on 9 September 2001 Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated. Two days later, 9/11 happened, which he had warned the west about in a speech at the EU parliament. Now 20 years later, his son lost a week-long battle and the Panjshir valley has fallen into the hands of Taliban, and with it all hopes of the Afghan people for freedom.
Taliban military conquest of the country was never really contested; instead, Kabul was given to them on a silver platter by Afghan politicians and courtesy of America’s unreasonable withdrawal. Afghans lost a battle we neither involved in or party to, i.e. the US-Taliban talks and the agreement that was afterwards enacted between them. An agreement which former US president Donald J, Trump publicly said was broken by the Taliban (or at least his version of it). Nevertheless, the text of the agreement changed the reality of the world for me and millions like me for the worse.
I remember reading a text of a future American president’s speech about freedom in my English class when I was very young. I searched for it again today and I read it, but this time with agony. It was Ronald Reagan’s “A time for choosing” speech on 27 October 1964, delivered during Barry Goldwater’s run for the presidency. I am not very educated in politics but as a citizen of this earth who is affected by what the leaders of the free world decides, I can only hope my time would have had aligned with someone who believed in this:
“We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, ‘Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we’re willing to make a deal with your slave masters.”
Unfortunately, we are here affected by immoral, selfish and weakling decision-makers, and are hopelessly left alone with terrorists who know no morality. The free world’s last stand for freedom is now run by people who saw nothing wrong with shaking hand with the devil.
After the Doha talks when the Afghan government was finally included in the talks I assume it was already too late. Following that deal the Taliban took over the country and killed hundreds, forced thousands to flee and recently committed mass murder in Panjshir. They are enforcing gender segregation and the the worst sort of discrimination imaginable on women. In less than a month they have pushed 97% of the citizens under poverty line. All of that and more happened, while the leaders of the free world have stood and watched.
Contrary to what is expected of the world’s dominant defender of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness—which is not to arm the terrorists—the current US administration armed the Taliban with billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment and told millions of people in Afghanistan to give up your dreams of freedom since we have already made a deal with your slave masters.