Taliban raise their flag over Afghan presidential palace on 9/11 20th anniversary
The Taliban has raised their flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday as the US and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, marking the official start of the work of the new government.
Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the acting prime minister of the interim government, hoisted the Taliban’s white flag in a low-key ceremony on a wall outside the American embassy compound in Kabul.
There were reports that the Taliban would mark September 11 by swearing-in their new interim governmentin Afghanistan. However, the oath-taking ceremony was postponed, reportedly due to pressure from their allies.
On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and launched them as missiles on New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. About 3,000 people died and countless were injured in the attacks.
Following this, the US government sent American soldiers to Afghanistan in October 2001 to exact revenge on al-Qaeda and its founder-head Osama bin Laden. The then Taliban government in Afghanistan, a known protector of al-Qaeda since the early 1990s, was deposed from the seat of power within two months by American troops.
After 20 years of waging ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan, the US pulled out its troops from the country, thus bringing back the Taliban into power which they had removed two decades ago.
Some things have changed since the first period of Taliban rule in the 1990s. The Afghan capital of Kabul barely had a million population and electricity and televisions were a rare commodity. Now, the capital city has a population of over five million.
There are some ease in restrictions as well. In Taliban-controlled Kabul in the 1990s, barber shops were banned. Now, the salons are allowed where Taliban fighters get the latest haircuts, even if their beards remain untouched in line with their religious beliefs.
However, the situation remains the same for Afghan women. Under Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, women could not work and girls were banned from school. Women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative when they left home.
The Taliban, despite their promises to form an inclusive government, did not include a single woman in the newly formed cabinet.
Moreover, the harsh restrictions on women’s movement and lifestyle continue, and the Taliban have used violence to stop women demanding equal rights from protesting.
Banning co-education and women’s sports were among the many decrees issued by the Taliban, stating that these threatened to expose women.
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The Taliban spokesperson Sayed Zekrullah Hashimi, in an interview to Tolo News, said, “A woman can’t be a minister, it is like you put something on her neck that she can’t carry”.
He went on to say that it is not necessary for a woman to be in the cabinet, adding that women “should give birth”.
“Women protesters can’t represent all women in Afghanistan,” he added.
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