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Afghanistan: The endless nightmare of the Taliban

Sunday 14 July 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://www.freewomenwriters.org/2019/04/07/the-nightmare-taliban-afghanistan/#mc_signup

The endless nightmare of the Taliban

April 7, 2019

Written by Neda Karger

As the world welcomes the initiative of the United States for peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, I am stuck with the dark memories of living under the Taliban regime as a child.

We were among hundreds of families who had escaped the civil war in the capital in the 1990s and settled in Mazar-e-Sharif in the north of Afghanistan. In the relatively calm city of Mazar-e-Sharif, I was going to school enjoying my time with friends and family.

My whole life was changed when the Taliban took power in the north of Afghanistan after some heavy fights with Jihadi commanders. Schools were closed down suddenly and I was imprisoned inside our house just for being a girl. This was so insulting and humiliating. I will never forget those days when I was watching the outside world from a small window of my room and crying all day as I was not allowed to go out.

This was the beginning of another displacement. My family immigrated to Pakistan where I could continue with my studies. Many other girls in my country were not as lucky. They were not allowed to live their dreams. After so many years, Taliban are still like a nightmare for many Afghans, especially for women.

Taliban have killed thousands of Afghans, among them several close friends of mine, after their regime was toppled in 2001. As a journalist working in a high-risk country, I witnessed many of the crimes that Taliban were committing in Afghanistan.

Now the United States of America is seeking a rushed peace deal with a group of terrorists who fought against humanity for many decades. Every single Afghan wants peace, but that peace must be sustainable. That’s not possible when no one is talking about the tens of thousands of people including children, who were killed in the brutal, organized and intentional attacks of Taliban.

I had to leave Afghanistan three years ago due to potential risks for my family but miles away from Afghanistan, I can still feel the fear of living in Kabul, my homeland, which is under the systematic attacks of Taliban. I could barely dare to take my three-year old daughter to a restaurant for lunch or dinner. On the special occasions when we were out, I was looking for a place inside the restaurant to hide my little girl if Taliban suddenly attacked.

At the moment I am writing this article, the Taliban continue to kill innocent people in Afghanistan despite the claims by their representatives in peace negotiations that “the Taliban have changed.”

According to an official figure, some forty-five thousand Afghan soldiers were killed in fighting with Taliban in 2018. A new report published by the United Nations in Afghanistan in February 2019, showed that civilian deaths hit a record high in 2018. Despite all these brutalities that the Taliban have shown, the United States of America still insists on a peace deal with the group and has largely excluded the voices of the Afghan government and women in the process. Many Afghans like me see this a very unfair deal. The United States is eager to put an end to its longest overseas military engagement in history which costs the country $45bn annually. That’s understandable, but peace should not come at he cost of progress and human rights.

As peace talks have been accelerated in the past several months, many people in Afghanistan fear that they may lose their freedoms and all our achievements in promoting democracy and human rights. We have paid a high price for the political games of the world and regional powers and don’t want to be the victims of another political settlement. I hope no one forgets that there is no peace without justice. If we want to have long-lasting peace in our country, we should work for establishing effective mechanisms for bringing justice and try to push the peace process towards being inclusive. A hasty decision on bringing peace will only bring more chaos to the country, not real tranquility.

Photo by Rada Akbar.