Opinion Internationale publishes the English and Dari version of the article « Une cinquantaine de jeunes Afghanes assassinées à Kaboul : l’Afghanistan ne sera pas l’enclos des talibans ni leur base de conquête du monde. L’édito de Michel Taube et Fahimeh Robiolle » published on May 12, following the attack in Kabul that killed 50 young Afghan women.
This Saturday, May 8, 2021, three attacks took place outside of a girls’ school in the western district of Kabul, one of the most disadvantaged areas of the city where the Hazara, the Shiite minority, reside. 63 people were killed, passers-by and teachers, but most of them were young girls aged 12-17. This is not the first time that the Hazara minority, considered by the Hanafi Taliban as inferior and Islam unbelievers, has been targeted.
On Sunday, the collective burial of these girls took place on the two hills overlooking Kabul. Some of the bodies were so badly damaged that they were buried without being able to find their parents. In a corner of the street near the school, one could see books, notebooks in which one could read dreams of becoming someone: a woman doctor, policewoman or teacher to help and improve the life of the family and also poems and prayers for Ramadan.
Going to school for these girls was a daily challenge in addition to helping the mother with housework or earning a little money by weaving rugs after school to support the family. Most of the fathers were simple laborers whose income had drastically decreased with Covid. On Saturday, more than 150 people were injured, some in serious condition. The poverty will not allow them to be treated in the best conditions. The father of one of the girls who suffered multiple fractures said he had no money to buy the pins to rebuild his daughter’s arm.
There are those who are gone and whose dreams and their parents’ dreams of a better life are gone, and there are those who have to deal with the injuries and finally the trauma of those who witnessed this barbarity.
But this attack particularly targeted girls and education. The Taliban know that women and education are their Achilles heel. Between 1996 and 2001, women, who represent 50% of the population, did not exist socially, they had no rights, they lived obediently and submissively in the darkness of their homes and suffered all kinds of violence. Today, girls go to school, become lawyers, journalists, deputies/senators, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, artists, sportswomen… This craze is visible at Kabul University and other centers of higher education, even though here and there, girls’ schools have been closed and replaced by Koranic schools for boys.
Many people know the Taliban only from the stories of when they held Afghanistan. Indeed, nearly 60 per cent of Afghans are under the age of 24.
The girls absolutely do not want to go back. Girls do not want the Taliban!
This attack on a girls’ school is just a continuation of a series of inhumane terrorist killings that, unfortunately, have never slowed down. The deadliest attacks have taken place in this part of Kabul in recent years and have been carried out against civilians in schools and mosques.
Terrorists have targeted education before, remembering the attack on Kabul University, and the attack on the Logar student dormitory (just last week) and, as in the case of this school, they have hit innocent students.
Spilling the blood of the most innocent beings, namely little girls, is a despicable crime in itself, but what are these Taliban to commit it during the holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of the celebration of the end of fasting? Alas, when the Afghans and the international community urged them to reduce violence during the holy month of Ramadan, the Taliban spokesman warned: « Jihad during Ramadan is more valuable in the eyes of God the Almighty! »
The Taliban have said that they were not responsible for the attack on the girls’ school in western Kabul. But the attacks on the Afghan people over the past twenty years are the work of this bloodthirsty group. Let’s not be fooled: most of the terrorist groups based in Afghanistan are linked to each other and help each other in wars and conflicts.
Indeed, if war and violence are no longer the work of the Taliban, this would mean that this group would have changed overnight. Because they continue to perpetrate war in Baghlan, Kandahar, Helmand, Fariab and Ghazni provinces… Why do the Taliban keep making preconditions for negotiation? Why have they mobilized all their forces to prepare the biggest offensives to win the cities and districts by military means while the foreign forces leave the country, according to their demands?
The Taliban have found a ruse in not claiming responsibility for the attacks, in order to divert international opinion and be credible and impose their conditions more and more.
As always, the international community condemns these acts and addresses condolences to the Afghan people. These beautiful declarations that claim that we, the West, are on the side of the Afghan people are in complete contradiction with the reality on the ground, i.e. the decrease in the number of embassies and their urgent plans to close down, which coincide with the imminent departure of the Americans, as Joe Biden has just confirmed. This people who has suffered war for 42 years feels abandoned.
In September 2020, their precondition of releasing 5,000 prisoners to accept the start of negotiations in Doha did not advance peace nor decrease violence one iota: many of these prisoners took up arms immediately.
While the Americans are accelerating their withdrawal by September 11, 2021, talks continue to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in Istanbul, and this time their precondition would be the release of 7,000 prisoners and to drop their names from the list of UN sanctions for, among other things, « free movement »!
At the international level, the terms about the Taliban are becoming more nuanced, « terrorist acts » are being replaced by « violence », and « terrorists » by « insurgents » or « groups spreading terror ». Let’s call a spade a spade!
The Taliban are making a major strategic mistake in refusing power-sharing because they are certain that they will take Afghanistan and establish an Islamic emirate as soon as the Americans leave. Today they are at war with the Afghan army, but tomorrow they will be at war not only with the army but also with all the movements that absolutely do not want an Islamic emirate.
A new civil war is on the doorstep of Afghanistan. We have been warned. As for all those who are making them more and more legitimate in order to incite them to negotiate, they should be told that for any negotiation two parties are needed. But the Taliban do not seem to want to negotiate but to buy time. In any case, Afghanistan will not remain the enclosure of the Taliban, the danger will come to us.
Six years ago, and all things being equal, 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and François Hollande, French President hosted an international summit to condemn the absolute horror, a crime against humanity in itself, of attacking so many innocent people.
What is the international community waiting for to be indignant about the fate of these Afghan girls and to prevent the return of the Taliban to power? Their victory would ensure that terrorist Islamism will increase in intensity in Europe, Africa and throughout the world.
Fahimeh Robiolle & Michel Taube