The recent turmoil in Afghanistan has rendered lakhs homeless and seeking refuge in other countries after the Taliban stormed into the presidential palace and seized control of the nation. The president, on the other hand, managed to flee the country in the nick of time after the US forces withdrew from its soil. People flocked the airports in a desperate attempt to leave the country which is now being run by the Taliban forces. Though the new Taliban government assured that the rights of Afghani citizens would be kept intact and that it was a mere regime change in the country, the people still have the ghastly memories of the Taliban administration over two decades back as a painful reminder. A top US diplomat had observed in a security conference in Qatar years back, that a country is known by the sport it plays. Given this notion, it is interesting to note that Afghanistan’s national sport is “buzkashi’, a gruesome blood sport, involving players on horseback trying to hold the carcass of a headless goat. There are no rules and laws regulating the movements, it is free for all. By the end of the game, invariably several of the participants are brutally wounded or injured and the object of greed is reduced to minced meat unrecognizable from its original form or shape.
It was only during the occupation of coalition forces in Afghanistan that people had gradually started to throng at games of cricket or football, a more civilized form of sports today. Given its geographical location, adjacent to Pakistan and India, some had even started hoping that Asia may soon see an addition of another cricketing nation. But the dreams seem to be broken now as the Taliban regains control of the country. Nevertheless, Taliban or no Taliban, Afghanistan has irrevocably changed in the last twenty years since the end of the Soviet occupation. And during the 20 years or so of the American and Afghanistan coalition democracy in the country the Afghan society has undergone some deeper societal transformation. They had learned to speak up freely and a multiplicity of voices had emerged. Unlike the Soviet days, Afghanistan had witnessed the pupal emergence of a middle class, which, given the chance, could have played a role of a midwife nurturing s robust democratic polity. The Afghan middle class is now getting reduced to poverty and utter uncertainty about its future.
It has been less than a month that the Taliban regained control of the country, and already sporadic news of women being suppressed and objectified is surfacing from the country. Recently videos of first women officials and journalists running for their lives surfaced in social media that have led the world to rethink if women are actually free in Afghanistan any longer. The Taliban officials did assure the world that the rights of women would be upheld by them as per the Sharia law. But one asks how much of the statement is being followed inside the country. News reports and sporadic videos from the country show the Taliban torturing the women, raping them, and even not sparing the dead bodies to satiate their hunger for dominance. Indeed, these are dark days for the Afghan residents, and as the world turns its eyes away from the country, the people have started losing even hope of a life in the country, especially the country’s womenfolk. With the Taliban in full control of the country and other nations starting to recognize the Taliban governance its seems that Afghanistan has truly been lost in the real sense of the term.