Last week saw several clashes between the Taliban and the National Resistance Forces (NRF) forces and a few blasts in the capital Kabul and some other provinces. Kabul witnessed three explosions the previous week, all of them entailing causalities. On August 13, a bomb exploded in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, a Shiite-dominated area, injuring four people, including two Taliban members. ISK claimed responsibility for the blast. Meanwhile, on the 15th of this month, a magnetic bomb blast attached to a vehicle in front of Aryana and Afghan Besim buildings injured four while no armed group claimed responsibility for the blast. Another deadly explosion inside a Sediqia mosque in Kotal KhairKhana locality killed 20 killed and injured 40 others on the 17th.
Furthermore, armed clashes erupted between NRF forces and the Taliban in the northern zone. On August 15, the NRF claimed that as a result of an intensified series of clashes in Panjshir province, they killed 89 Taliban fighters and injured 27 others. However, APW sources only confirmed the killing of 10 Taliban fighters. Another operation initiated by the Taliban against NRF on August 13 left a Taliban fighter and 3 NRF members, including commander Yar Muhammad killed, and three other Taliban fighters injured.
Similarly, a roadside bomb ripped through two Taliban pick-up vehicles in the Dara district of Panjsher province on the 13th. On the same day, a clash was ongoing between the Taliban and NRF in the Darai Abdullahkhel area of Dara district. On the 14th, an NRF ambush killed 10 Taliban fighters in the Dara district of Panjshir. On the 15th, at least 20 Taliban fighters were captured by NRF forces in the Dara district of Panjsher province following a clash that led to NRF taking control of seven villages.
Takhar also have witnessed couple of armed clashes. Four Taliban fighters were killed during an NRF forces’ ambush on the 16th, and seven Taliban fighters were wounded in a clash with NRF forces in the Farkhar district. Also, three NRF members were killed and another injured in a Taliban ambush in Badakhshan. Following sustaining heavy casualties during several clashes, the Taliban also dispatched fresh reinforcement to Panjsher.
On the other hand, IS-K is inflicting causalities on the Taliban in Kunduz. At least 11 Taliban fighters were killed by IS-K in the vicinity of Dorahi in Sher Khan port of Kunduz province on the 15th.
During the past week, Afghan women staged multiple protests regarding their rights and against the restrictions on women imposed by the Taliban. Dozens of women took to the streets against the Taliban restrictions on women in Sadarat Square of Kabul, but the Taliban disrupted the protest with armed intervention. Chanting anti-Taliban slogans of “Work, bread, and Freedom,” the women demanded a reversal of limitations on Afghan women, carrying a banner reading “August 15 is a black day” – a reference to the day the Taliban captured Kabul in 2021.
Meanwhile, a group of Farah women Under the title ‘Afghan Women’s Warriors Independent Movement’ gathered in a closed space to protest the denial of the right to free expression and objection to Afghans while lamenting the international community’s silence on this matter. They shouted slogans, saying the international fraternity’s shush regarding the Taliban was unbearable.
A year after the closure of schools’ doors to girls above the sixth grade, the Taliban have now begun closing down private educational institutions in the capital Kabul city over the past few weeks. Taliban shut down an educational institute called Muslim due to the lack of female teachers in the Khairkhana neighborhood of Kabul city. A letter on the institute’s door reads, “Due to lack of female teachers to instruct female students; the relevant authorities have shut this place down.”
Furthermore, women in Panjshir protested in a closed space, saying we don’t recognize the Taliban. “Recognizing the Taliban meant recognizing women in ‘shrouds’,” they said, adding the Taliban’s recognition would mean death to democracy.
On the other hand, restrictions against women in Bamyan increased as Taliban announced that women could not visit Bamyan city without a burqa and Islamic hijab. In a statement on Friday, the Taliban also made Friday prayers mandatory for all men, warning of consequences in case of violation. This is while in the latest report, the Human Rights Watch has described the Taliban’s treatment of Afghan women as more shocking than in the 90s.
Thousands of Afghans within and abroad have launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag ‘#Free Afghanistan’ on the first anniversary of the Taliban seizing control of Afghanistan last August. On August 15th last year, the Islamist insurgents seized the capital Kabul city amid little resistance. The US-backed Afghan government collapsed, and the Afghan national army surrendered in their thousands as the Taliban rapidly took control. This comes as, in the past, there have been similar social media drives staged with thousands of participants, calling out the Taliban for atrocities and Pakistan for providing a haven to terrorists.
As August 19 marked the 103rd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence day, political experts observed Afghanistan had not had political stability in the past century, and most of its regimes have been established through coups and wars. In previous years, this day has been celebrated by governments and the nation alike, but this year under Taliban rule, the independence anniversary celebration was muzzled. However, at an Independence Day event, the Taliban administration’s acting Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid said that Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate was not dependent on anyone militarily, politically and economically despite “some countries want us to accept their demands for various reasons.”
On the other hand, the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, reportedly spoke at a meeting in Kandahar and said he would not let anyone interfere with the current government but he was ready to engage with the international community within a Sharia framework.
Meanwhile, China’s ambassador to Afghanistan said his country would expand relations with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. “As Afghans are good neighbors, brothers and partners, China will stand firm on the concept of community with the shared future for humankind, guided by the global development and security initiatives. China will substantially enhance bilateral cooperation in all areas,” said Wang Yu.
Since August 15 last year, the day of the Afghan republic government’s collapse and the Taliban’s return to power, Afghans are suffering from economic issues. Even though an entire year has passed, the situation is getting worse.
Protests for releasing the frozen Afghan funds in the US are still ongoing but the US has expressed it wouldn’t release billions of dollars of Afghan assets. Tom West, the special representative of the State Department for Afghanistan, said , “The Taliban’s sheltering of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri reinforces deep concerns we have regarding diversion of funds to terrorist groups.”
However, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced providing three aid packages totaling $150 million to Afghanistan against a backdrop of food and humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. USAID will distribute aid to impoverished families, the youth, and women through the U.N. organizations in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the unemployment crisis under the Taliban has seen thousands of men and women resort to begging in the streets or at their neighbors’ doors for the past year. Masoma, 45, an Afghan woman with two children, aged 4 and 6, roams city streets every day to attract attention and provoke compassion from people to receive alms. Taliban rule has forced her to beg over the past six months in one of the northern cities of Afghanistan. When her husband died two years ago in a traffic accident, she had the support of her brothers during the republican regime. Following the collapse, her brothers’ financial state could not support her anymore.
On the other hand, over the past few days, heavy rains and flash flooding have been reported in several provinces across the eastern, southern, south-eastern and central regions. Following heavy rainfall, flash flooding struck in the northern Parwan Province on August 13. Affected districts include Ghorband (also known as Syagird) and Shinwari. Between 11 and 15 August, flash floods reportedly killed 41 people in Kapisa (1), Khost (3), Logar (9), Nangarhar (11), Paktya (7) and Parwan (11) provinces, and injured a further 17 in Kapisa (3), Logar (2), and Parwan (12).
Almost 790 homes are estimated to have been damaged or destroyed in Kunar (57), Laghman (42), Nangarhar (434) and Parwan (256) provinces affecting more than 3,720 families in total. Nangarhar is the most affected province accounting for almost two-thirds (2,400) of all families impacted, followed by Paktya (450), Logar (250), Maidan Wardak (190), Khost (150), Laghman (128) and Paktika (100) provinces. Kunar and Kapisa provinces have experienced less extensive damage, with 50 and 10 families respectively reportedly affected.