Las caras de los amigos muertos en Afganistán no se borran de la mente. Tampoco los gritos de los civiles tras las matanzas salvajes, o la visión del color pálido y amarillento de la muerte atrapando los cuerpecitos destrozados de los niños.

Nadie puede curar la llaga emocional que produce escuchar el gorgoteo de un herido expirando. O los ojos rezumando locura en la cara de los soldados de la extinta Republica afgana, traicionados por el Gobierno y sus valedores occidentales.

Hay heridas que, de tan profundas, sólo se cerrarán con la muerte. Heridas que te empujan al pozo oscuro y sin fin del todo fue en vano.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Taliban delegation attending international talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, October 2021. Alexander Zemlianichenko / Reuters

One year after the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, it is clear that the extremist group has changed little since it first seized control of the country in 1996. In March 2022, the Taliban decided not to reopen girls’ secondary schools throughout the country—as it had vowed to do just two days earlier—putting an end to any hopes that the group would rule the country differently this time around. And, in the weeks since a CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a leafy Kabul enclave, it has become even more clear that the Taliban continues to harbor terrorist groups.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taliban supporters celebrating the first anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 2022. Ali Khara / Reuters

One year ago, the democratic government of Afghanistan collapsed. The humiliating evacuation of U.S. military forces and civilians as well as roughly 100,000 Afghans remains a sore spot for Washington and its allies. The Taliban regime has ruled the country ever since. Levels of violence throughout the country have been dramatically reduced—but so, too, have the rights of women, the freedom of the media, and the safety of those who supported the overthrown democratic government. Questions about the new state of affairs abound. Should the international community recognize the Taliban? Will the Taliban moderate themselves? Can diplomacy or sanctions compel them to do so?…  Seguir leyendo »

In August 2021, all US soldiers left Afghanistan, enabling the Taliban to take over the country. Since then, the Taliban have installed a theocracy that bans women from most jobs and bars girls over the age of 12 from attending school, while maintaining close relationships with terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

The Taliban today control more of Afghanistan than they did the last time they were in power before the 9/11 attacks. And they are better armed since they now possess American armored vehicles and M16 rifles left behind as the US military headed for the exits.

For the past year, a group known as the National Resistance Front has waged a guerrilla war against the Taliban.…  Seguir leyendo »

EL 5 de mayo de 2021, el decano de la Facultad de Filología de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Eugenio Luján, hacía entrega a los representantes de la Embajada de Afganistán en España de los primeros mil libros que debían conformar la Biblioteca Básica del Español en la Universidad de Kabul. Aquel acto era, a un tiempo, la culminación de un proyecto que, desde el Vicedecanato de Cultura, había coordinado en 2019 –y que se vio interrumpido por la pandemia del Covid–, y el inicio de un ambicioso programa de apoyo a los estudios de español en Kabul, donde estaba implicada también la Embajada de España en Afganistán, que culminaría con becas y formación de profesores afganos para que completaran en España sus estudios de posgrado.…  Seguir leyendo »

El día en que cayó Kabul la embajada China bloqueó sus puertas, pero nadie huyó o corrió a refugiarse en los búnkeres. El complejo diplomático situado al lado del Palacio Presidencial no pensó en evacuar, ni tampoco se preparó para un posible asalto. El 15 de agosto de 2021, mientras el aeropuerto Hamid Karzai era un hervidero de gente desesperada y del cielo llovían los cuerpos de los afganos agarrándose a las ruedas de los aviones norteamericanos de transporte C-17, el personal diplomático chino estaba tranquilo y ajeno, salvo excepciones, ante una ciudad presa del pánico.

Pekín había pactado de antemano la seguridad de sus ciudadanos y la de sus lucrativos negocios en Afganistán.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afganistán: lecciones de una guerra

En su clásica Historia de las Relaciones Internacionales, Renouvin destaca distintos factores que condicionan las guerras; entre ellos, los intereses nacionales, el deseo de prestigio personal o, incluso, el temperamento de los gobernantes. Un año después de la vergonzosa retirada de Afganistán y tras la invasión rusa de Ucrania, las lecciones de la Historia resultan especialmente necesarias para evitar errores similares. El penoso final de la intervención internacional en Afganistán, pese a sus indudables logros, evidencia la preminencia del interés nacional del aliado OTAN más poderoso, Estados Unidos.

Como el coronel Calvo Albero analizó en el Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos, "en el trasfondo del fracaso está la falta de un liderazgo sólido, debido al desinterés estadounidense por las operaciones en un país remoto y con escaso valor estratégico".…  Seguir leyendo »

National Resistance Front soldiers in Panjshir, Afghanistan, August 2021. Handout / Reuters

A year has passed since the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban to power in Kabul. Despite its troubles, Afghanistan before August 2021 was a free, democratic country; now it is in a state of turmoil and anarchy. It is on the brink of the worst humanitarian crisis in modern times, with its economy in tatters and its people facing acute food insecurity. Human trafficking and drug trafficking are on the rise. The killing of the al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul points to the persisting ties between the Taliban and transnational terrorist groups.…  Seguir leyendo »

Acting Taliban Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid (left) with other Taliban leaders, Kabul, August 15, 2022. Ali Khara / Reuters

It is difficult to overstate the multiple crises facing Afghanistan. With severe shortages and sky-high food prices, the World Food Program has reported that more than half the population is “marching to starvation”; an astonishing 97 percent of the population is at risk of falling below the poverty line by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, the Afghan government, with its profound disenfranchisement of women—girls older than 12 have been banned from school—has become the most gender repressive in the world. Western intelligence experts are also concerned that the country is once again becoming a haven for terrorist groups, as was made clear by the recent U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Taliban fighter holds a pistol during celebrations in Kabul on Aug. 15. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)

For many Afghans like me — young activists, journalists, writers, academics — Aug. 15 marks the anniversary of the day we saw our dreams collapse like a Jenga tower. And yet, here we are.

After the Taliban took full control of the country, many of us decided to stay — far from disappearing, we vowed to take up space so that the Taliban would be forced to acknowledge us. That meant participating in aid efforts and asserting our presence on international platforms to promote engagement.

For me, facing Taliban rule meant going from teaching nonviolent political action to university students to practicing it myself.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man walks by a vandalized mural depicting a group of women on 14 August 2022 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by Nava Jamshidi/Getty Images.

One year after the Taliban’s ascent to power in Afghanistan, the plight of Afghans is worsening. The economic situation is dire, malnutrition rates are increasing, women’s rights are being curtailed, there is continuing migration and internal displacement, and the health care system is crumbling – the already high maternal mortality rates are thought to have increased four-fold.

Since seizing power, the Taliban claim they have achieved full territorial control, established security and removed ‘islands of illegitimate power’. However, while physical security has improved by some measures – aid agencies report enhanced access to some provinces – a significant rise in attacks by the Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP) targeting Shia and other minorities is one of many reminders that Afghanistan is far from secure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taliban stand guard in front of the the Sakhi Shah-e Mardan Shrine and mosque in Kabul. The shrine is visited mainly by Hazaras. Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images

Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan a year ago today, the Australian Government has received more than 200,000 refugee and humanitarian visa applications from Afghans desperately seeking protection. So far, only 57.4% of these applications have even been registered in the Department of Home Affairs’ system.

The previous government made a commitment of 31,500 places for Afghanistan over the next four years. The Labor government has not made it clear whether they will honour this undertaking. We urge the new Albanese government to act expeditiously and offer at least 20,000 additional refugee and humanitarian visas for Afghanistan. Many have already lost their lives as a result of the previous Australian government’s inaction, as the Taliban have hunted down, detained, tortured, and even killed those who worked with our forces as well as journalists, women’s rights defenders and members of religious minorities and other marginalised communities.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Can you see me?” the girl in the water asked me. “Can you see?”

We were at the Rwanda campus of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan — the boarding school for Afghan girls I founded — this Afghan girl and I, not long ago. She and her classmates were taking swimming lessons in our pool. She was in the deep end. I was standing at poolside. And she’d just let go of the wall.

“I can”, I said. I watched her legs kicking as she treaded water. “You’re staying up. You’re doing great”.

“Today’s the first day I can do this”, she said, the droplets flying, and her smile was so beautiful.…  Seguir leyendo »

A defaced ad for a beauty salon — a result of the imposition of Taliban restrictions on depictions of women, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Mullah Naqibullah, a slim, young Taliban fighter, tossed his shawl over his shoulder and adjusted his rifle. He made his way from under a spreading mulberry tree onto the patio of a small mud-brick mosque in Sangesar, a small village in southern Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, and went inside.

He stood inches from a microphone wrapped in colorful cloth to keep the dust at bay, and in a falsetto he called the faithful to prayer.

It was here that in 1994 Mullah Muhammad Omar founded the Taliban movement. The group went on to capture Kabul in September 1996 and establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which instituted a narrow definition of Islamic jurisprudence that barred women and girls from working and attending school.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afghan women wait in front of a bank office in Kabul on Sept. 20, 2021. BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

On May 7, the Taliban issued a statement making their version of the hijab mandatory for all women of Afghanistan, even though this full-body covering, sometimes called a burqa, is not a traditional Afghan garment. Since seizing control of the country following an agreement between the United States and the Taliban, the group has banned girls from secondary education and prevented women from working or traveling long distances without a male escort, among many other restrictions.

Meanwhile, the world watches as the Taliban commit constant human rights violations, raising the question of why the rights of women in Afghanistan are not considered the same as women’s rights elsewhere in the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afghan Women Reflect on the Anniversary of the U.S. Withdrawal

Aug. 15, 2021, was a dark day for Afghanistan — and for Afghan women in particular. The Taliban took control of the country and, in what seemed like an instant, stripped women of their rights. Within days, professionals who had spent their lives studying, working and pursuing careers were afraid to walk the streets, safe only at home.

Since the new regime took power, it has issued dozens of bans and decrees limiting the liberty of women. It has removed women from the upper levels of government administration and banned girls from secondary education. In some areas, women can no longer appear on television dramas or get a driver’s license or travel long distances without male family members accompanying them.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taliban acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 2022. Ali Khara / Reuters

A chilling fact could get lost in the heated news coverage about the killing of al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri: the firebrand cleric was only one of many threats lurking in Afghanistan and no one has much of a plan for dealing with the security concerns arising from this volatile country. The U.S. drone strike that killed Zawahiri in Kabul on July 31 has been hailed as a counterterrorism victory, but triumphalism would be a profound error. One of al Qaeda’s top strategic minds is now dead after living on the Taliban’s doorstep, and Western officials are still wondering how they can mitigate the many other ways that the Taliban regime may prove dangerous for the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

Estudiante de robótica de la academia Digital Citizen Fund. Fuente: Facebook de Digital Citizen Fund.

El quinto objetivo de la Agenda 2030 resalta en uno de sus epígrafes la importancia de la tecnología como herramienta de empoderamiento femenino. No es una demanda nueva, pues en la Cuarta Conferencia Mundial sobre las Mujeres (Beijing, 1995) se defendía en el punto 35 “el acceso de las mujeres en condiciones de igualdad a los recursos económicos, incluidos la tierra, el crédito, la ciencia y la tecnología…”.

Pasados los años, y como se constata en diferentes informes internacionales, la situación ha mejorado, pero siguen existiendo enormes carencias en este ámbito. De esta manera, por ejemplo, en el continente africano se indica que el uso de internet entre los hombres supera en 250 millones al del género femenino y que las mujeres están infrarrepresentadas en los puestos de trabajo derivados de las tecnologías, en la alta dirección y en las carreras académicas.…  Seguir leyendo »

En una primera lectura, la eliminación de Ayman al Zawahiri, máximo líder de Al Qaeda desde 2011, puede presentarse como un rotundo éxito de Washington en su afán por hacer justicia o vengarse —como cada cual prefiera— de quien solía identificarse como el verdadero padre intelectual del 11-S. Visto así, solo cabría alabar la pericia demostrada por los servicios de inteligencia estadounidenses —los mismos que erraron patentemente en su cálculo sobre el desafío talibán hace tan solo un año—.

Así, en lo que se nos ha presentado como un golpe quirúrgico con un misil Hellfire R9X lanzado desde un dron MQ-9 Reaper, cabría valorar positivamente que no fuera armado con una cabeza explosiva para evitar daños colaterales que pudieran afectar a los civiles que habitan las casas circundantes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afghan women wait to receive cash aid for displaced people in Kabul on July 28. (Ali Khara/Reuters)

In Afghanistan, women now talk about their futures in the past tense. I was on a Zoom call recently with two young university graduates in Kabul, when I asked them about their plans. “I hoped to go …”, they answered. “I planned to do …”

But they won’t. They can’t. They have been judged and the verdict rendered: They are female, and for that, from the Taliban, there can be no mercy.

It’s been 11 months since the fall of Kabul, and the vanishing of women is nearly complete. The men who rule my country wield their control with a casual cruelty that can be breathtaking.…  Seguir leyendo »