Pressure mounts on Taliban to govern, pay salaries

Afghans who have reconciled with the new reality of living under the Taliban rule are hoping that the new bureaucracy will be set up soon so their day to day needs are met.

KABUL — There’s been a lot happening in the city of Kabul since the Taliban formally announced the end of two decades of war on August 15. From thousands of Afghans rushing to the airport to escape from the country to humans falling from the sky after slipping off an American airliner they had clung to and the Talib fighters shooting at protesters in another city, there is a lot to process for every Afghan whether living in the country or abroad. 

TRT World spoke to Afghans in Kabul from different age groups to get a sense of what they feel about the situation and what all they expect from the new regime. 

Maryam, who refused to give her surname for security reasons, studies political science at a private university in Kabul. Like everyone else she was taken aback after hearing the Taliban had entered the city and the US-backed Afghan army had deserted their posts. But as the day unfolded with the Taliban announcing a general amnesty for all, repeatedly assuring the people that they will not seek vengeance from anyone, including the Afghan security personnel, informers, critics, journalists, women’s rights activists, anyone who stood against them in the conflict.

A Taliban fighter walks past a beauty salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul on August 18, 2021.
A Taliban fighter walks past a beauty salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul on August 18, 2021.

But the real panic kicked in when Maryam saw videos of thousands of Afghans outside a US military aircraft jostling for space in an attempt to climb the carrier. 

The massive deluge of people hurtling helter-skelter down the airport runway also meant empty ATM machines in much of Kabul city. 

“The ATM machines are completely out of service. We need cash for our daily needs but the people who are trying to flee to the US and elsewhere have taken out all the money, leaving the machines empty,” Maryam told TRT World.  

The fear of the total collapse of the banking sector and other crucial institutions has begun to eat at her. 

“If the situation continues to be chaotic like this, we are considering leaving the country as well,” she said. 

“I also feel restless and confused in my thoughts, especially regarding my career and education. I just hope the Taliban will allow me to get higher education.” 

Maryam said that some of the actions the Taliban took in the past couple of days have given some degree of hope and confidence to Afghans. She highlighted the armed group’s swift arrests of local thieves who were looting houses while posing as the Taliban members. 

Many of the city’s Imams and religious scholars are hopeful about the return of peace too because they compare the Taliban of today with the Taliban of the 1990s and see the group has changed significantly in its approach toward society. 

“I am positive regarding the situation and the most important thing is that there has been no war killing in the past three days. We feel positive and safe,” said Mufti Ibrahim, one of the prominent religious leaders in Kabul.  

“The military commission is working 24/7 to maintain law and order. The economic sector is likely to grow. I will help the Afghans to reach their voices to the top leadership of Taliban”. 

Mufti Ibrahim, one of the leading religious scholars in Kabul, is feeling optimistic about his future under the Taliban rule.
Mufti Ibrahim, one of the leading religious scholars in Kabul, is feeling optimistic about his future under the Taliban rule.

In the coming days, under the strict glare of international media, the Taliban will have to reveal its governing system, as Afghans who are skilled professionals in various fields–from medicine to education, to entrepreneurship and telecommunications– want to work with the Taliban-led government so that they could reorder their daily schedules and lives. 

Email Irfan, a medical information officer in Kabul, has interacted with several Taliban fighters who are getting their war injuries treated in several hospitals of Kabul. 

Out of those interactions, Irfan has realised that not every Taliban fighter is a hot-headed person with an ambition to keep people under his thumb. 

“Those admitted to hospitals for treatment in Kabul were really kind,” Irfan said.  

For Irfan, the most pressing issue that the new regime should address is the release of salaries of government employees. 

“We medical officers are in economic trouble because our salaries since Ghani’s last month haven’t been released,” he said.  

“Our request to the Taliban is to establish a system as soon as possible so that we can return to our education and work”. 

While the chaos continues to grip the Kabul International Airport, the Taliban is looking for ways to deal with the situation. Unconfirmed reports of the Taliban security guards beating up and firing in the air to disperse the crowd are pouring on Twitter every now and then. 

In repeated attempts to win the confidence of people, they have reportedly encouraged Imams to talk about Islamic governance and reassure Afghans to continue living in their country. 

“I know there are big issues to sort out and a lot of mess to clear, but we are still waiting for the Taliban to announce its bureaucracy so that we can resume work for the state and our private NGOs,” said Shahidullah Rahimi, who lives in Kabul and works for a  telecommunication company.

Source: TRT World