What’s going on in Afghanistan

Samantha Ramirez, Writer

We’ve all seen the videos– bawling hysteric parents surrendering their young children to U.S. and British soldiers over mountainous fences, wanting their children to be taken away from the destruction and chaos ensuing in Afghanistan. Another viral video shows a young girl in tears, pleading with soldiers to take her away, frantically repeating “The Taliban are coming”. These heartbreaking videos prose many of us with a question, “What is going on in Afghanistan and how did it get this way?”.


President Biden has recently pulled out of and evacuated all American troops from the war in Afghanistan after 20 years, creating a point of controversy. The United States originally  entered the war in Afghanistan following the attacks of September 11, 2001 where four American Airlines jetliners were hijacked, with two crashing into the twin towers, one crashing into the Pentagon and the last crash landing in an empty Pennsylvania field. The terrorist attack hatched by al-Qaeda resulted in 2,977 deaths, left thousands injured and with various illnesses, and left the country in shambles. President at the time, George Bush, demanded that the Taliban, a fundamentalist group who has had control over Afghanistan since 1996, turn over the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden  and shut down terrorist camps.


The Taliban’s refused even after airstrikes from American forces. This resulted in the United States’ direct involvement– they sent military troops to intervene. U.S. soldiers hastily shut down the Taliban with the help of the Northern Alliance (a militant group fighting for the salvation of Afghanistan) and by November of 2001, Afghanistan was free of the Taliban. However, British and American forces continued the search for the estranged group, resulting in many civilian and militant casualties during surges. The American government continued to pour in soldiers and eventually al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was caught and killed in 2011. Given that the leader of the attacks on America was now gone, the U.S. began to withdraw a majority of troops, with some remaining to aid the Afghans with security measures. Unfortunately, the Taliban returned through a sudden series of suicide attacks, car bombings, etc. The United States withdrew a while after. 


This violence and oppressive behavior on part of the Taliban has not yet come to an end, and has only worsened now that the United States has withdrawn from the war. With total Taliban rule comes a terrifying situation for Afghan women, who are facing the loss of their right to an education, to hold a job/career, bodily autonomy, or even leave home without a man at their side. These largely restrictive rules are adhering to Afghan norms and Islamic values. However, it is not only those who remain in Afghanistan that are suffering, as much as 5 million of people who fled have been displaced from their loved ones; they are unable to return home and forced to take refuge in neighbouring countries. However, their suffrage is not going unnoticed. Various organizations in the United States such as Humans Rights First and the International Refugee Assistance Project are taking donations to provide legal services to displaced Afghan refugees, and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service along with Keeping Our Promise are providing Afghan refugees with accommodation support, whether it be a job or a hot meal. Additionally, the International Rescue Committee is attempting to raise aid for those in Afghanistan. If possible, donate to these organizations and keep the Afghan people in mind.