Following an announcement on the withdrawal of western troops stationed in the country of Afghanistan by this September, a military organisation, known as the Taliban, have targeted the country and have now seized many of their capital provinces, including Kabul, forcing the Afghan president to flee and thousands of civillians to desperately attempt to leave.
Many people have already left their countryside villages for built up towns in hope of increased shelter and security from the conflict, however the group are advancing and cities, roads and whole regions are now under Taliban control. Nearly 400,000 Afghan people have been forced from their homes since the beginning of 2021, joining the millions already displaced, and this number is sure to increase due to the current surge for power by the Taliban. 80% of those displaced are women and children.
Why is this a global problem? The Taliban are seeking to restore Afghanistan to a historic regime under Sharia law. This would mean that girls could no longer attend school to obtain an education, and women would no longer be permitted to work, widening inequality and gender disparity. Music and movies would also be banned under the strict ruling. Those displaced are also in great need of supplies, aid, medical care and support, and hundreds of lives are being lost as the battle for power continues.
Whilst the Taliban are reportedly ‘declaring peace’, Afghan residents are fearful of oppression and are claiming that looting and targeted killings has already started in some neighbourhoods. But their options are currently limited. Although both the UK and US have relocation and assistance policies for Afghan refugees, there are multiple political disagreements between all parties on the issue. Furthermore, ports are being forced to close due to the overwhelming number of citizens trying to escape, with runways blocked by desperate people trying to climb aboard planes and commercial flights suspended.
As the violence in Afghanistan escalates, keep up to date by following reputable sources, such as Unicef Afghanistan, and sharing information with your friends, family and followers to raise awareness. To learn more about the importance of Peace and Justice for the planet, read our learning page on SDG 16 here!