Taliban captures Rashtrapati Bhavan in Kabul - reports

 The Taliban claim that they have taken control of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Kabul.

President Ghani left the country on Sunday but the condition of the building is still unclear.

Local journalist Bilal Sarwari has spoken to two Afghan people who were involved in direct talks with the Taliban. He said that under the agreement, a ceremony of transfer of power was to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in which Ghani would have been present, but he and his associates left the country instead.

  "The staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan were allegedly asked to leave the building and it was vacated," say aides.

The Taliban later told news agency Reuters that they had captured it.


 Who are the Taliban after all? Know everything about this group

In 2001, the US-led forces in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban from power.

But gradually this group strengthened itself and now once again it has captured almost the whole of Afghanistan.

Nearly two decades later, the US is preparing to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.

Doha agreement

The Taliban started talks with the US in 2018.

 

In February 2020, an agreement was reached between the two sides in Doha where the US committed to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban agreed to stop attacks on American troops.

In the agreement, the Taliban also called for a ban on the entry of al Qaeda and other extremist organizations into the area under their control and promised to engage in national-level peace talks.

But from the very next year after the deal, the Taliban continued to target civilians and security forces in Afghanistan.

Now, as American troops are preparing to leave Afghanistan, the Taliban have come to dominate Afghanistan.


 When did the Taliban start?

Students are called Taliban in Pashto language. The Taliban emerged in the early nineties, when the Soviet Union was withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.

The Pashto movement is believed to have originated in the first religious madrasas and was funded by Saudi Arabia. The fundamentalist beliefs of Sunni Islam were propagated in this movement.

Soon the Taliban were promising to establish peace and security in the Pashtun region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the implementation of a radical version of Sharia law.

During this time, the influence of the Taliban increased rapidly in southwest Afghanistan. In September 1995, he occupied Herat province bordering Iran. Just a year later, the Taliban captured Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

 

Taliban control over Afghanistan

He removed Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was then the President of Afghanistan, from power. Rabbani was one of the founding members of the Afghan Mujahideen to oppose the invasion of Soviet troops.

By the year 1998, the Taliban had controlled about 90 percent of Afghanistan.

 

After the departure of Soviet troops, the common people of Afghanistan were fed up with the excesses and mutual conflict of the Mujahideen, so the Taliban was first welcomed.

Controlling corruption, improving anarchy, building roads and providing business infrastructure and facilities in controlled areas - these works also initially made the Taliban popular.

But during this time, the Taliban implemented Islamic methods of punishment, including the public execution of those convicted of murder and adultery, and the mutilation of those convicted of theft.

Beards were made mandatory for men and full body veils for women. The Taliban banned television, music and cinema, and barred girls aged 10 and older from attending school.

 

Countries Recognizing Taliban Government

The Taliban began to face many allegations of human rights violations and cultural abuses.

An infamous example of this was seen in 2001 when the Taliban destroyed a Buddha statue in Bamiyan, central Afghanistan, despite international protests.

Pakistan has consistently denied allegations of forming and strengthening the Taliban, but there is no doubt that the people who initially joined the Taliban movement came out of madrassas in Pakistan.

When Afghanistan was controlled by the Taliban, Pakistan was one of the three countries in the world that recognized the Taliban government. Apart from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also accepted the Taliban government.


 Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai targeted by Taliban

Pakistan was also the last among the countries to break diplomatic ties with the Taliban.

There was a time when the Taliban also threatened to destabilize Pakistan from the area under its control in the North West.

It was during this period that Taliban extremists shot Malala Yousafzai on her way home from her school in Mingora town in October 2012. It was said that the Taliban were angry with 14-year-old Malala for writing under a pseudonym on the atrocities of the Taliban regime. Malala was badly injured in this incident. At that time the incident was condemned not only in Pakistan but also at the international level.

Two years after this incident, Taliban extremists attacked a school in Peshawar, after which the Taliban's influence in Pakistan was greatly reduced.

In 2013, a US drone attack killed three important leaders, including Hakimullah Mehsud, who was commanding the Taliban in Pakistan.

 

Al quida hideout

After the attack on the New York World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, worldwide attention came to the Taliban. The Taliban have been accused of harbouring the main suspect in the attack, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda fighters.

On October 7, 2001, a US-led military coalition invaded Afghanistan, and in the first week of December, Taliban rule ended.

Osama bin Laden and then-Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar and his other accomplices managed to escape Afghanistan even after the world's largest search operation.

Many people of the Taliban faction took refuge in the city of Quetta in Pakistan and they started directing people from there. However, the Pakistan government has always denied the presence of Taliban in Quetta.

 

Insecurity and violence

Despite the presence of a large number of foreign troops, the Taliban gradually strengthened themselves and increased their influence in Afghanistan. As a result of this, an atmosphere of insecurity and violence has started appearing again in the country which was never seen after 2001.

In September 2012, Taliban fighters carried out several attacks in Kabul and also raided NATO camps. Hope for peace was raised in 2013 when the Taliban announced the opening of offices in Qatar. However, then the Taliban and the US military had weak trust in each other, due to which the violence did not stop.

In August 2015, the Taliban admitted that the organization did not allow Mullah Omar's death to be revealed for more than two years. Mullah Omar died in a hospital in Pakistan due to alleged health problems.

In the same month, the group announced the election of Mulla Mansoor as its new leader.

 

Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike in 2013

Agreement between the US and the Taliban

During this time the Taliban had gained control of the capital of a province for the first time since their 2001 defeat, they established control over the strategically important city of Kunduz.

Mullah Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in May 2016 and the organization's command was then handed over to his deputy, Maulvi Hibtollah Akhunzada, who currently holds the leadership of the Taliban.

In February 2020, a peace agreement was signed between the US and the Taliban. This agreement was reached after several rounds of talks.

After this, the Taliban started targeting certain types of people after attacks on cities and military bases, and with such attacks they terrorized the people of Afghanistan.

 

Afghanistan government threatened by Taliban

In these attacks, the Taliban targeted journalists, judges, peace activists, and women in positions of power, apparently the Taliban had only changed its strategy, not the radical ideology.

Afghan officials had expressed serious concern that without international help, the government of Afghanistan would be in danger of survival, but the new US President Joe Biden announced in April 2021 that all US troops would return by September 11.

After evading the American superpower in a war that lasted two decades, the Taliban began to occupy large areas. This threatens to destabilize the government in Kabul after the withdrawal of the US military.

It is believed that for the first time since 2001, the Taliban is looking so strong. According to NATO estimates, the number of full-time fighters of the group is around 85,000.

 

It is not clear how much territory is currently controlled by the Taliban, but it is estimated that between a fifth and a third of the country is controlled by the Taliban.

The rapid growth of the Taliban is worrying for many. General Austin Miller, the commander of the US-led mission in Afghanistan, warned in June that the country could be heading for civil war.

In June itself, American intelligence agencies also assessed the situation in Afghanistan. It is said to have allegedly predicted the fall of the government of Afghanistan within six months of the departure of US troops.