Afghan Fear Complete Taliban Takeover

Young people who have spoken against Taliban rule in Afghanistan or who adopted lifestyles that don’t fit the fundamentalist regime say they fear for their livelihoods and lives as the insurgent group gains more territory. “We live in very critical and dangerous circumstances right now,” said Murtaza Ahmadi, a writer, part-time teacher and government employee. “The Afghan government is losing power and authority across the country while the Taliban are gaining,” he said. “Thousands of people are leaving Afghanistan because they think the Taliban are slowly gaining power all over the country and they don’t trust the Afghan government.” Since international troops started withdrawing from Afghanistan earlier this year, Taliban insurgents have increased attacks against Afghan forces, capturing nearly half of the country’s roughly 420 districts. The U.S. military is slated to conclude its mission to Afghanistan by August 31. An Afghan National Army commando stands guard on top of a vehicle along the road in Enjil district of Herat province on August 1, 2021, as skirmishes between Afghan National Army and Taliban continue.The Afghan government insists its forces will retake lost territory. Peace talks between the warring parties have been stalled. From the start of 2021 to July, FILE – Armed men attend a gathering to announce their support for Afghan security forces and their willingness to fight against the Taliban, on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 23, 2021.After four decades of war, more than 70% of Afghanistan’s population is younger than 25. Mustafa Shirzad, who works in the Afghan Ministry of Finance in Kabul, says that he has lost hope and motivation for his future. “If the Taliban gain power, their ideology is very different from mine, and I don’t think I can work under the Taliban regime because I studied abroad and I have different expectations. If this happens, I will leave,” he said. “Our bright and working people will leave if they take control. If I know that they are taking control of Kabul, and I am in danger, I won’t think for a minute  to leave.”  Fatima Airan also works in Kabul in the Ministry of Finance, and like Shirzad, she studied abroad.  “Working women are scared that they might not be able to continue with their education and jobs,” she stated. “Everyone is trying to find a way to leave the country, especially people who spoke against the Taliban and talk about their brutalities.” Since the violence increased across the country in May and June 2021 — when the United States and NATO allies began their troop withdrawal — 783 civilians have been killed and 1,609 others wounded, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan stated.  UN: Afghan Civilian Casualties Up By 47%, Could Hit New HighsWar-ravaged country is projected to be on course to witness the highest ever number of civilian casualties in a single year  

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