LETTERS: As Taliban buries another empire with US withdrawn, gains of anti-terror war should not be lost

PHOTO COURTESY: Taliban fighters after taking over the Afghanistan government

By Kipngeno Benard

The Taliban emerged in the civil war that followed the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989, predominantly in the Kandahar province and the Pakistan border areas.

By 1998, they had taken control of almost all parts of the country. They enforced their own hardline version of Sharia, or Islamic law, and introduced brutal punishments.

The U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the United States, which al-Qaida orchestrated while sheltering under Taliban rule.

The invasion drove the Taliban from power in a matter of weeks and scattered Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders. The militants slipped away and later regrouped. A new Afghan government took over in 2004 but deadly Taliban attacks continued.

After 20 years of war, the Taliban has swept to victory after taking control of Afghanistan on August 2021. It came after foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan following a deal between the US and the Taliban, two decades after US forces removed the militants from power.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Many Afghans fear the Taliban will revert to the brutal way they ruled Afghanistan in 1990s. Women particularly face an uncertain future; they fear the rights they’ve gained in the last 20 years will be lost.

Another major fear is that the country will once again become a training ground for terrorism.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen says the group will respect the rights of women and minorities as per Afghan norms and Islamic values.

Taliban officials insist that they will fully adhere to the US deal and prevent any group from using Afghan soil as a base for attacks against the US and its allies.

They say they aim only to implement an Islamic government and will not pose a threat to any other country. This came as thousands of Afghans flee the country.

Terrorism poses threats to peace and stability of any country and should be eliminated at all cost. This can only be achieved when all nations come together to find the best strategy to stop such groups.

(The writer is a student at Rongo University)