December 2021 begins with more horrible news for Afghans. The nightmare of the Taliban-Haqqani terror-network regime continues, and reports from Afghanistan predict a winter season of misery ahead.

Afghan Security Force Members Killed

Human Rights Watch published a new report about the state of human rights in Afghanistan since the fall of the Islamic Republic. The findings are shocking to some, but those who have been following Afghan press and talking to Afghans found more corroboration of what they have been seeing/hearing for months. The report details the execution of former Afghan security force members. While telling the world they would offer amnesty, this report shows that dozens were known to be murdered following their surrender to the Taliban-Haqqani fighters. They were able to document at least 47 Afghans from the police, army, and intel services that were killed between mid-August and the end of October. Many Afghan-watchers believe these findings are the tip of the iceberg.

One quote is chilling, and is in keeping with earlier Taliban-Haqqani treatment of ANDSF members and their families over the last two decades. There will be “No forgiveness for people like you,” is how the Taliban-Haqqani have termed their true intentions to former Islamic Republic government officials.

Economic Collapse

The UN Development Programme chief in Afghanistan, Abdallah Al Dardari, stated this week that this is “an economic contraction that we’ve never seen before, ever.” He is making his judgment based on the collapses in Venezuela, Lebanon, Syria and other nations that experienced political or natural-disaster turmoil. The economic contraction in Afghanistan in just 3 months has equaled the GDP drop in Syria, and in Syria it took five years to meltdown. The 20% contraction in Afghanistan is predicted to drop even further to 30% in 2022. The GDP in Afghanistan per capita was $500 in 2020; it will likely be $350 next year. For the poorest country in Asia that was heavily dependent on foreign aid, this is already causing major issues. Right now, millions are awaiting salaries that are months behind, and winter is coming fast in a nation that has few natural resources that can turn a rapid profit. As U.S. think tank co-author of the report observed, “In the case of Venezuela, there’s still oil. Afghanistan is almost in a class by itself.” With Adnan Mazarei’s words in mind, few Afghans can see no escape from the downfall with a UN sanctioned regime occupying the capital.

At-Risk Afghans Stuck

The pace of the rescue efforts to provide safe passage for former interpreters to NATO forces, at-risk Afghan citizens, and Afghans who worked closely with international organizations is crawling now. As the Taliban-Haqqani retribution killings continue, Afghans who have been given promises about safety and future citizenship in other nations are running out of time. Many of the safe houses they are using to escape detection are running out of money. The U.S. State Department has not sped up the processing of the backlog of tens of thousands of Afghans in any discernible way. Frustration is high among citizen groups trying to evacuate Afghans, and hope is dropping among Afghans seeking assistance.

What the Taliban Want

As the chaos unfolds around them, the Taliban-Haqqani regime continue to be tone-deaf and oblivious to the suffering of Afghans. They spend their days focused on their main goal and telling Afghans to take care of themselves. While the Taliban and their allies in Pakistan work tirelessly to gain international recognition of the Talban as a legitimate government, and to allow them to place their representative in the UN, Afghans are starving.

No statement from the Taliban-Haqqani network can more clearly summarize their unpreparedness to govern and their lack of compassion for Afghans than the Taliban Supreme Leader’s first statement to the nation. He told the Afghan people that they must “pray to Allah for food,” because the Taliban did not promise to feed the people. He continued that, the Taliban only promised to make Afghanistan an Islamic Emirate, and they should be thankful enough for that. This is yet more proof that the Islam the Taliban-Haqqani network believe in, is very different than what most Afghans understand Islam to mean.

 

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Jason spent 23 years in USG service conducting defense, diplomacy, intelligence, and education missions globally. Now he teaches, writes, podcasts, and speaks publicly about Islam, foreign affairs, and national security. He is a member of the Military Writers Guild, works with numerous non-profits and aids conflict resolution in Afghanistan.