Afghanistan has security but little hope after a year of Taliban administration

The Taliban celebrated one year in power on Monday with small-scale festivities by the group’s fighters. Afghanistan struggles with increased poverty, drought, starvation, and diminishing hope among women that they will play a vital role in the country’s future.

In Kabul, individuals fired celebratory bullets into the air. At the same time, Taliban fighters gathered, waving the group’s black and white flag, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Taliban’s march into the city after a series of dramatic war triumphs.

“Today is the day of the victory of truth over deceit and the day of deliverance and liberation for the Afghan people,” stated Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The country is safer than it was when the radical Islamist organization fought against US-led foreign soldiers and their Afghan allies, despite several attacks by a local branch of the Islamic State.

However, relative security cannot conceal the magnitude of the Taliban’s challenge in putting Afghanistan on the path to economic prosperity and stability. The country’s isolation, mainly caused by the refusal of Western countries to recognize its leaders, is exerting enormous strain on the economy.

The international community has demanded that the Taliban respect the rights of Afghans, particularly girls and women whose access to work and education has been constrained. As a result, the international community has slashed the country’s development assistance.

The Taliban requests the return of $9 billion in central bank reserves stored abroad. Still, negotiations with the United States encounter obstacles, including the US demands that a Taliban leader subject to sanctions vacate his post as the bank’s second-in-command.

The Taliban reject these demands, claiming that they respect the rights of all Afghans within the context of their interpretation of Islamic law.

And until there is a significant shift in either side’s position, there is no fast solution for spiraling costs, increased unemployment, and worsening hunger as winter approaches.

Amena Arezo, a doctor from the southeastern region of Ghazni, remarked, “We are all headed for darkness and misfortune.” “Humans have no future, particularly women.”

Over half population is living in poverty.

Approximately 25 million Afghans, or over half of the population, live in poverty. The United Nations believes that up to 900,000 jobs could be lost this year due to the stagnating economy.

Fatima, a resident of the western province of Herat, said that the country’s security had improved over the past year. Still, she lamented the closure of schools for females and the absence of employment prospects for women.

Fearing retribution, she requested that only her first name be used, like many Afghans.

Jawed, a native of the historically violent southern Helmand region, stated that security had improved substantially since the Taliban’s return to power 20 years after US-backed forces overthrew them but underlined widespread inflation.

The last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, in the late 1990s, women were not permitted to work, girls were prohibited from attending school, and strict Islamic law was enforced ruthlessly, including public executions.

Much civil society and independent media members have left the nation, contributing to their decline.

In a recent study, the UN mission in Afghanistan stated that the group restricts dissent by arresting journalists, activists, and protestors.

A Taliban spokesman denied the United Nations assessment and stated that arbitrary arrests were prohibited.

The country’s administration is still regarded as a caretaker government or ‘de facto’ authority with acting ministers, whose decisions are subject to reversal by the group’s supreme spiritual leader stationed in the southern city of Kandahar.

Some constitutional and legal experts assert that it is not always obvious how Sharia’s legal and moral provisions will be interpreted and implemented in practice.

“The most glaring issue is the lack of legal uniformity,” said Zalmai Nishat, an Afghan constitutional expert, and former government adviser.

“Now it depends on the whims of the (Taliban) leader in Kandahar, as well as those who lead on his behalf. The issue is the lack of predictability.”