Updated: August 24, 2021 8:40:02 am
Wahidullah Besmil, a Master’s student at Career Point University (CPU) in Rajasthan’s Kota, had made plans to visit his home in Afghanistan on August 17. But two days before he was scheduled to go back, Kabul fell to the Taliban, prompting Besmil to cancel his plan.
“I had to cancel my plan at the last minute. Due to network disruptions since the Taliban took over, I haven’t even been able to talk to my family properly,” said Besmil, who hails from Chamkani in Afghanistan.
“Horrors of what the Taliban did 20 years ago have not been forgotten. The bombings they carried out and the trail of destruction over the years are difficult to get over. How can we believe that things will change suddenly?” he added.
Since Kabul fell, Afghan students in Rajasthan have been spending a harrowing time, worried for their families back home.
Fahiz Ghori, another Afghan student at CPU, said that he talked to his family on August 18 for the first time in 10 days. “Nothing feels good. I have been extremely worried in the last few days. News coming in from Afghanistan only makes us more restless.”
Mohammad Adris Danish, who is from Logar Province, said when he talked to his mother, she told him, “We are safe for now but we don’t feel secure.”
Danish added, “A friend of mine sent me a video where the Taliban can be seen killing a government official. This already violates the promises they have been making.”
Two days after taking over, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, in a press conference, said that things would not be the same as they were 20 years ago.
In the group’s first ever press conference, the Taliban also promised to uphold women’s rights, media freedom, and grant ‘amnesty’ to government officials.
But for all those who had witnessed or heard stories of the oppressions carried out under the Taliban regime in the late 90s, such words ring like hollow promises.
“The Taliban have been saying they would follow the Sharia law. But they actually make their own rules. They are saying they have sent from what they were 20 years ago but they are still killing people,” Ghori said.
Iqbal Umary, a student at CPU who hails from Kabul, said, “In Afghanistan, there is a great deal of reluctance among people now to step out of their homes. People are scared because they remember what had happened 20 years ago, especially when it comes to women’s rights and girls’ education. I have heard the promises that the Taliban have been making but we can’t trust them. The Taliban only know how to use guns. They have no idea about how to run a government.”
Mohammad Yasim, another CPU student from Kabul, said, “They [the Taliban] went to my house asking for me. When they couldn’t find me, they took my brother and put him in jail for two days and didn’t even give him food.”
Yasim, who used to work with the Afghan government in the human resources department since August 2019, further said that the Taliban have even seized his bank accounts. “It has been five days since I have been able to access my bank account at home.”
The primary concern now, most of these students said, is to make arrangements for their families to safely leave Afghanistan.
“We are looking for a chance to get my family out. We know for a fact that 90 per cent of Afghans are trying the same thing now. We fear that with Taliban in power, Afghanistan will become a breeding ground for terrorism. The Taliban do not care for the future of the country. They will only work for their own benefits,” Danish said.
Yasmin said it is difficult to have hope for Afghanistan at the moment. “But we can’t afford to go through the same thing that had happened 20 years ago.”
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