Monday, August 16, 2021

Afghanistan: A Return to Brutal Islamic Rule Under Stone-Age Taliban

On comes the barbarity.

At LAT, "The Taliban won. Here’s what that could mean":

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Afghans woke fearfully to both a new and old reality Monday with their country under the control of the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan with a brutal hand for five years before a U.S.-led invasion ousted it from power in 2001.

The Taliban captured major population centers with breathtaking speed last week, culminating in the fall Sunday of the capital, Kabul, and the ongoing flight of foreign diplomats, including ones from the U.S. There were reports Monday of chaotic scenes — and at least two deaths — at Kabul’s international airport amid the crush of people desperate to flee the country.

The millions of Afghans left behind now face a radically different government, and lifestyle, from the one they have known over the last two decades.

How will the Taliban rule? Have they changed?

When the Islamist insurgent group first came to power in 1996, it billed itself as a corrective movement in a society mired in the lawlessness of years of civil warfare.

Under its harsh interpretation of religious jurisprudence, women and girls were pushed almost completely out of public life and forbidden from employment and schooling. The Taliban imposed sartorial injunctions on both sexes, and mandated such brutal punishment as hand-chopping and execution by stoning — for infractions of its brand of Islamic law. It also banned television and music.

Lately, the militant group has sought to present a more benevolent image.

“We will respect rights of women,” said Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen in an interview with the BBC. “Our policy is that women will have access to education and work.”

But they will also have “to wear the hijab,” he added, referring to the Islamic head covering for women.

Other statements from the Taliban have sought to reassure Afghans and others that insurgents would not engage in looting or revenge killings against members of the former government, and that embassies, international missions and charities would be allowed to continue their work unperturbed. Even international journalists, the group said, could operate after registering with authorities.

Yet the group’s recent actions have been at odds with that rosy image, unverified reports say. In the areas it has recently overrun, girls’ schools have reportedly been closed, women have been plucked out of their place of employment and told to send a male relative in their stead; or forced into marrying a Taliban fighter. (A Taliban spokesman on Twitter vehemently dismissed the last assertion as propaganda.)

It has also re-imposed harsh punishments. Last month in the southwestern province of Helmand, the group’s fighters hanged two men it said had been convicted as child kidnappers. It kept their bodies swinging from a bridge for days.

And far from offering amnesty for those linked to the state, there have been ominous reports from residents on social media and elsewhere of militants going door-to-door asking for government employees. Months before the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s major cities, scores of activists, journalists, prominent female advocates and other members of civil society were killed in a Taliban assassination campaign...

I don't believe "Taliban statements" for one minute. 

It's virtually 100 percent certain the stone-age rule will return to the country, with amputations, mass murder and executions, harsh sharia law and the brutal subjugation of women, many of whom will be murdered by families and communities for violating antediluvian tenets of Islam --- women stoned to death, raped and passed around as sex slaves, and the loss of life prospects. The women's place is in the home and no women can leave the shack without a male escort, at risk of beatings.