The surprisingly rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban has spread terror across much of the country, as Afghans anxiously readjust to life under a militant group that suppressed millions when he was the last in power.
During the Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001, brutal flogging, amputations and public executions were common. Women were largely confined to their homes and the death penalty was in effect for offenses such as female adultery, homosexuality and rejection of Islam.
As the media is once again on Kabul and Western forces stage a hasty retreat, the world anxiously awaits to find out whether the new era of the Taliban will see a return to these days.
Activists have so far sought to present a picture of themselves as more progressive, inclusive and restricted than the group that terrorized communities two decades ago, saying they would not seek revenge on their enemies policies and that women would play an important role in society and have access to education.
The group’s co-founder and deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrived in Afghanistan on Tuesday for the first time since playing a key role in the last Taliban government, a sign that the influence of the Taliban’s old guard has not has not decreased.
And their first actions dashed the hopes of many Afghans that the Taliban might have changed in the decades that followed.
The group’s fighters clashed with activists in the first major protest against their new regime on Wednesday, three witnesses told CNN, shooting at a crowd and beating protesters in the city of Jalalabad.
Women have already disappeared from the streets of Kabul fearing the new reality of life under Taliban control; husbands and fathers buy burqas out of fear that women in their families will be safe only if they cover themselves.
Attacks on women across the country in recent weeks, as the Taliban regained ascendancy in Afghan provinces, provided a chilling glimpse of what could be in store for millions of people.
Learn more about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan here.
You Can Read Also