•   
  •   
  •   

World Afghans in a city under siege by the Taliban: ‘The insecurity has upended our lives’

11:55  10 october  2021
11:55  10 october  2021 Source:   pri.org

Tour of Wisconsin Army post reveals thankful, bored Afghans

  Tour of Wisconsin Army post reveals thankful, bored Afghans FORT MCCOY, Wis. (AP) — Reporters were given a glimpse Thursday of Afghan refugees' lives on a Wisconsin Army post, getting to see the new arrivals playing soccer with soldiers and toting groceries to the barracks where they're being housed as they wait for their new lives in America to really begin. The U.S. Army and the Department of State led a group of journalists on a tightly-controlled tour of Fort McCoy, a training post about 150 miles (241 kilometers) northwest of Milwaukee.The fort is one of eight military installations across the country that are temporarily housing the tens of thousands of Afghans who were forced to flee their homeland in August after the U.S.

“ The insecurity has upended our lives , and no one cares about us here.” This month, the Taliban took hold of areas surrounding Herat, Afghanistan ’s third-largest city and an important economic hub, and have gained control of six provincial capitals. To hear more from The World's Shirin Jaafari in The Taliban has been pushing to take over more territory from Afghan security forces in an attempt to rule Afghanistan by force. Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 270,000 Afghans have been displaced inside the country since January 2021. Related: Rocket fire in Kabul

“The uncertainty has turned our lives upside down and nobody cares about us here.” This month, the Taliban conquered areas around Herat, Afghanistan ’s third-largest city and a major economic center, and took control of six provincial capitals. To hear more from The World’s Shirin Jaafari in Herat “Women in Afghanistan have made great strides over the past two decades and this progress should be respected.” She and other members of the team are too young to know what life was like under the Taliban . The militants ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s. But the young women say they have heard

Fifty-year-old Salimeh is walking home against strong winds, and the summer heat in Herat, in western Afghanistan.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes in Afghanistan over the past few months as fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces intensified. © Shirin Jaafari/The World

Thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes in Afghanistan over the past few months as fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces intensified.

She is carrying a bundle of firewood in one hand and holding her chador or head covering, in place with the other.

Related: As the Taliban advances, life in Afghanistan becomes increasingly precarious

On this day in early August, Salimeh — who, like many Afghans, only has one name — had to gather extra wood for the fire because she has guests — women and children from three families who fled fighting north of the city.

Many Afghans seek a way out as U.S. troops leave and the Taliban advances

  Many Afghans seek a way out as U.S. troops leave and the Taliban advances The U.S. has extended refugee eligibility to more Afghans facing the danger of reprisal attacks for working with the U.S. during the 20-year war.The radical Islamist group controlled about two-thirds of the country as of Wednesday — including a number of provincial capitals seized in recent days — and it appeared that at some point its fighters would go for control of the national capital, Kabul.

“ The insecurity has upended our lives , and no one cares about us here.” This month, the Taliban took hold of areas surrounding Herat, Afghanistan ’s third-largest city and an important economic hub, and have gained control of six provincial capitals. To hear more from The World's Shirin Jaafari in The Taliban has been pushing to take over more territory from Afghan security forces in an attempt to rule Afghanistan by force. Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 270,000 Afghans have been displaced inside the country since January 2021. Related: Rocket fire in Kabul

Afghans in a city under siege by the Taliban : ‘ The insecurity has upended our lives ’. Fifty-year-old Salimeh is walking home against strong winds, and the summer heat in Herat, in western Afghanistan . The Taliban has gone on a violent nationwide offensive in Afghanistan since U.S. troops pulled back last month, leaving Afghans who have worked with the U.S. over the past two decades of war fearing for their lives . On Monday, the State Department promised to expand the scope of Afghans who are eligible for refugee status in the United States to include people who didn’t

a person wearing a hat: Salimeh has been hosting displaced families at her mud house in the outskirts of Herat in western Afghanistan since the fighting began in the north of the country two months ago. Her own family has barely anything to eat given that the insecurity has left many jobless and farmers haven't been able to harvest crops. Afghanistan is also facing a drought. Shirin Jaafari/The World © Shirin Jaafari/The World Salimeh has been hosting displaced families at her mud house in the outskirts of Herat in western Afghanistan since the fighting began in the north of the country two months ago. Her own family has barely anything to eat given that the insecurity has left many jobless and farmers haven't been able to harvest crops. Afghanistan is also facing a drought. Shirin Jaafari/The World

She was exhausted, and in pain, by the time she got to the mud house where she lives on the outskirts of Herat. But she is full of compassion for those who have arrived at her home. Many of her neighbors are also taking people in.

“The insecurity has upended our lives, and no one cares about us here.”

Journalist Fatema Hosseini recounts escaping Kabul as Taliban closed in: 5 Things podcast

  Journalist Fatema Hosseini recounts escaping Kabul as Taliban closed in: 5 Things podcast When the Taliban took Kabul, the life Fatema Hosseini knew was no more. As a female reporter who’d worked for USA TODAY, she knew she'd have to escape.But getting out seemed impossible. There was chaos at the Kabul airport.

For the past month, Kandahar, Afghanistan ’s second-largest city , has been under siege by Taliban fighters. Families stuck between them and government forces have almost nowhere to go. Sulaiman Shah lived just blocks from Mr. Mohammed, in a different neighborhood that was enveloped by the Taliban ’s recent advance. Last month, the short and wiry 20-year-old made the decision that Mr. Mohammed has so far resisted. When the fighting got too close, he fled his home with his wife and months-old son, finding sanctuary in a refugee camp near the airport in the eastern part of Kandahar

Women in Afghanistan have made a lot of progress over the past two decades and this progress must be respected."[15] On August 17, 2021, the Afghan Girls Robotics Team and their coaches were reported to be attempting to evacuate, but unable to obtain a flight out of Afghanistan ,[16][17] and it was reported that they asked Canada. " Afghans in a city under siege by the Taliban : ' The insecurity has upended our lives '".

Salimeh, resident of Herat

“The government hasn’t provided any support for the displaced families and those whose incomes have been impacted by the insecurity,” said Salimeh, who’s been sewing bedding and curtains but now has fewer clients because of the fighting. “The insecurity has upended our lives, and no one cares about us here.”

Taliban back brutal rule as they strike for power

  Taliban back brutal rule as they strike for power Afghanistan's ex-rulers still back brutal punishments as they continue a deadly advance towards power.The "ghanimat" or spoils of war they're showing off include a Humvee, two pick-up vans and a host of powerful machine guns. Ainuddin, a stony-faced former madrassa (religious school) student who's now a local military commander, stands at the centre of a heavily-armed crowd.

Three suspects have been detained following the incident. The explosion was confirmed by the son of the deceased, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who said that a “gathering of civilians” was the target of the attack. The blast occurred outside Kabul’s Eid Gah Mosque, the city ’s second-largest mosque. While the Taliban has not pointed fingers at anyone over the attack yet, local media reports suggested a local offshoot of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) was behind the blast. The initial explosion was reportedly followed by gunfire, suggesting that the attackers engaged the Taliban forces in a

A top Afghan military commander has ordered residents to leave the besieged city of Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan as the army prepared a major

This month, the Taliban took hold of areas surrounding Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city and an important economic hub, and have gained control of five provincial capitals.

To hear more from The World's Shirin Jaafari in Herat recently, click on the audio player below:

Taliban attacks western Afghan city of Herat Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 4:20pm
Shirin Jaafari

For the first time since the 1990s, Taliban militants in recent days attacked the western city of Herat, one of Afghanistan's largest cities. Fighting in the vicinity of Herat's airport has grounded flights for several days. The Afghan government has sent in military reinforcements to defend the city. The World's Shirin Jaafari has just come back from Herat, and she explains to host Marco Werman what's happening there.

Since US President Joe Biden announced a full and unconditional withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan last April, a process that is now nearly complete, fighting has intensified across the country. The Taliban has been pushing to take over more territory from Afghan security forces in an attempt to rule Afghanistan by force.

U.S. engagement in Afghanistan: Past, present and future

  U.S. engagement in Afghanistan: Past, present and future CBS News intelligence and national security reporter Olivia Gazis interviews three top former intelligence officials about U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. Panelists Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director and Intelligence Matters host, Michael Vickers, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and CIA operations officer, and Philip Reilly, former Chief of Operations at CIA's Counterterrorism Center and Kabul station chief, each weigh in on the implications of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the future of the counterterrorism mission in the region.

Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 270,000 Afghans have been displaced inside the country since January 2021.

Related: Rocket fire in Kabul signals deepening insecurity as US troops withdraw from Afghanistan

“Because of the ongoing violence, there has been an increased number of displaced populations in Afghanistan,” said Ram Kishan, deputy regional director for Asia for Mercy Corps.

“A total of about 3.5 million [as of December 2020] are uprooted from their homes and living in district towns and out of their homes. And they are in dire need of food, shelter, water and sanitation support.”

Fleeing the Taliban, fighting hunger

Thirty-seven-year-old Sima Fakhruddin and her neighbors left the town of Qala-e-Naw as the sun began to set. They walked for hours to reach a place where they could hire a car to bring them to Salimeh’s house.

“We had to run for our lives. We were caught in the crossfire between the Taliban, Afghan security forces and the local militias.”

U.S. Warns Taliban That Taking Afghanistan by Force Will Make Them Global Pariahs

  U.S. Warns Taliban That Taking Afghanistan by Force Will Make Them Global Pariahs "Many families have no option but to flee in search of a safer place. This must stop," said the International Committee of the Red Cross's head of delegation in Afghanistan.Khalilzad traveled to Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban holds a political office, to tell the group that there is no point in pursuing overall control of Afghanistan through a military takeover. He hopes this will discourage the Taliban from its ongoing fighting and persuade them to return to peace talks with the Afghan government as NATO forces finish withdrawing from the country.

Sima Fakhruddin, Afghan who fled the Taliban

“We had to run for our lives,” Fakhruddin said. “We were caught in the crossfire between the Taliban, Afghan security forces and the local militias.”

Afghan forces fold as rapid Taliban advances test will of government troops

  Afghan forces fold as rapid Taliban advances test will of government troops WE’VE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE: The rapid territorial gains of the Taliban in Afghanistan has eerie echoes of the 2014-2015 ISIS takeover of much of Iraq. Then, as now, a vastly smaller, ideologically driven force defeated a numerically superior and better equipped U.S.-trained Army by breaking the will of their enemy. © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 As of this morning, at least four provincial capitals have fallen to the Taliban over the past four days, and the key northern city of Kunduz appears to be the fifth.

“We didn’t have time to collect our belongings, and we had to leave behind the older and disabled people.”

Fakhruddin said the Taliban came out of nowhere and they unleashed a sense of fear in the community.

“They are cruel, cruel,” she said.

Related: ‘This is the first time I am holding a gun’: Afghans take up arms to fight the Taliban

They invaded people’s homes and demanded that the women cook meals for them, she added.

They ordered poor families to slaughter sheep. And they told the women to dress modestly, threatening to pour boiling water on them if they refused.

The World has not independently verified these claims but similar reports have emerged from other parts of the country where the Taliban has taken control.

For 18-year-old Negineh, the escape was even more challenging. She had to carry her 7-month-old baby, Ibrahim, who wouldn’t stop crying.

a girl sitting on a bed: Negineh and her 7-month-old son Ibrahim fled their home in Badghis in northwestern Afghanistan. Her husband works in Iran and hasn't seen their son since he was born. Now, Negineh and Ibrahim are in Herat, in relative safety but they both face hunger. Shirin Jaafari/The World © Shirin Jaafari/The World Negineh and her 7-month-old son Ibrahim fled their home in Badghis in northwestern Afghanistan. Her husband works in Iran and hasn't seen their son since he was born. Now, Negineh and Ibrahim are in Herat, in relative safety but they both face hunger. Shirin Jaafari/The World

Negineh’s husband is one of the thousands of Afghans who cross the border to Iran in search of jobs every year. He works at a chicken farm, and travels home when possible, she said — but he hasn’t seen Ibrahim yet.

Fleeing Afghan musicians stuck in limbo in Pakistan

  Fleeing Afghan musicians stuck in limbo in Pakistan Musicians who fled Afghanistan fearing the Taliban rule struggle to make a living as refugees in Pakistan.On the morning of August 15, hours before taking control of the Afghan capital Kabul, Taliban fighters streamed into Khan’s native Jalalabad, about 120km east of Kabul, taking control of the city with hardly a shot fired.

Many of the others staying with Salimeh also have husbands and fathers who’ve gone to Iraq to support their families.

Negineh said she feels somewhat safer in Herat for now but now she and her baby face hunger. She said she doesn’t have enough milk for Ibrahim and he subsides on biscuits.

Related: As US withdraws troops from Afghanistan, it will remain ‘fully focused’ on peace, says negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad

Food is scarce, and this year has been especially tough as many families in this area are farmers, Salimeh said. Afghanistan is facing a drought. On top of that, the fighting has disrupted the harvest, so people are struggling, she said.

With everything happening, “How am I supposed to feed my children and help these families?” Salimeh said.

No safe place

At a makeshift checkpoint in Herat in early August, Ghand Agha, a 23-year-old soldier with the Afghan security forces, inspected cars before they entered the city.

He has been stationed here for the past month, taking shifts along with his fellow soldiers.

a man in a military uniform standing in front of a car: Ghand Agha, a member of the Afghan security forces has been manning a checkpoint at the entrance of Herat city for a month. Shirin Jaafari/The World © Shirin Jaafari/The World Ghand Agha, a member of the Afghan security forces has been manning a checkpoint at the entrance of Herat city for a month. Shirin Jaafari/The World

Ghand Agha, covering his face with a black-and-white scarf, and a pair of Oakley-style sunglasses, said the Taliban was not far from the area. So, he and his men were getting ready for a fight while an excavator dug trenches into the earth behind him.

Checkpoints like these are buffers between the Taliban and the big urban areas like Herat. The militants have been taking territory surrounding major cities in Afghanistan. But they have mostly stopped short of attacking city centers. That’s in accordance with the agreement the Taliban signed with the US two years ago.

But this is now changing.

Related: Afghan amb to the US on the Taliban: ‘They are not interested in peace but power’

Only a few hours after The World spoke with Ghand Agha earlier this month, the checkpoint came under fire. Taliban fighters launched an offensive against Herat city. They attacked a bridge that connects the city to the airport.

All flights were canceled.

Herat suddenly felt like a city under siege.

An uncertain future — especially for women and girls.

The city continues to resist the Taliban, but the situation is worrisome to many residents, especially women, who say they have so much to lose if the militants take over.

a person wearing a blue dress: Fatimeh, 45, had to flee her home in Ghaleh-Now in western Afghanistan because the Taliban entered her city. Her home ended up being on the front lines, she said, and she had to leave with only the clothes on her back. Shirin Jaafari/The World © Shirin Jaafari/The World Fatimeh, 45, had to flee her home in Ghaleh-Now in western Afghanistan because the Taliban entered her city. Her home ended up being on the front lines, she said, and she had to leave with only the clothes on her back. Shirin Jaafari/The World

Parvin, a dentistry student, said she has nightmares about the Taliban.

“I’ve heard they force single women to marry their fighters.”

Parvin, dentistry student, Afghanistan

“I’ve heard they force single women to marry their fighters,” she said.

The US Embassy in Kabul tweeted about the Taliban’s forcing women into marriage in cities where they’re gaining control.

“Concerning reports the Taliban entice ANDSF [Afghan National Security Forces] units to surrender with the promise they will be unharmed, and then those soldiers disappear in the night and their widows are forced to marry Taliban fighters. If true, these could constitute war crimes,” the Embassy tweeted.

Somaya Farooqi, 19, the captain of the renowned Afghan Girls Robotics Team, also known as The Afghan Dreamers, based in Herat, said the unstable situation reinforces to the Western world that the country is just about “wars, bombs and guns.”

“But we want to show that this country is also about science and technology,” she added.

The robotics team, made up of a group of girls ages 14 to 18, recently built a mechanized, hand-operated ventilator for patients with the coronavirus.

When the team made it to Washington, DC, to compete in a robotics competition, 2017, Farooqi was struck by how they could walk around freely without worrying about security.

a group of people posing for the camera: Some members of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team in Herat, Afghanistan. Shirin Jaafari/The World © Shirin Jaafari/The World Some members of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team in Herat, Afghanistan. Shirin Jaafari/The World

Now, she worries about what the future holds for the team if the Taliban takes over.

“We don’t support any group over another but for us what’s important is that we be able to continue our work. Women in Afghanistan have made a lot of progress over the past two decades and this progress must be respected.”

Somaya Farooqi, 19, captain of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team, also known as The Afghan Dreamers

“We don’t support any group over another but for us what’s important is that we be able to continue our work,” Farooqui said. “Women in Afghanistan have made a lot of progress over the past two decades and this progress must be respected.”

She and other members of the team are too young to know what life was like under the Taliban. The militants ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s. But the young women say they have heard plenty of stories from their mothers.

“My mom has bitter memories from the Taliban years,” said 17-year-old Elham Mansouri. “She always wanted to be a teacher but she was banned from going to school. Now, she insists that I study hard.”

And if the Taliban stops Mansouri and her friends from going to school?

“I don’t know what we would do,” said 16-year-old Diana Wahabzada, who has been with the robotics team for three years.

“We’ll fight back,” Mansouri said. “We will open underground schools if we have to. It’s our right to study and to work. We’ll fight for these things no matter what.”

Fleeing Afghan musicians stuck in limbo in Pakistan .
Musicians who fled Afghanistan fearing the Taliban rule struggle to make a living as refugees in Pakistan.On the morning of August 15, hours before taking control of the Afghan capital Kabul, Taliban fighters streamed into Khan’s native Jalalabad, about 120km east of Kabul, taking control of the city with hardly a shot fired.

usr: 0
This is interesting!