Biting reality - GulfToday

Biting reality

Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Now it is becoming clear why the world took the assurances given by the Taliban leadership, at their first press conference, not with a pinch of salt but in spoonfuls (“Afghan women cannot take part in sporting events, and that includes playing cricket: Taliban,” Sept. 9, Gulf Today).

The Taliban said that it was not the same outfit that imposed a strict form of Islamic rule in the late 1990s but is now more moderate, would respect women’s rights, forgive those who fought them and ensure Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists.

In only a matter of days, journalists reporting on women protest have been thrashed black and blue, women protesters whipped, segregation in schools, etc, etc. Should we be surprised by the new edict of stopping women from participating in sporting events?

What will unfold in the coming days and months does not take much imagination. The indications are that it will only get worse. What we are seeing is not a different outfit, but a stronger one with more ammunition and clout at its disposal. The global community will have to act quickly and decisively, but that may be a tall ask. Russia tried, before America did, and others before that. No one has succeeded so far. The world, sooner or later, will be forced to recognise the new leaders in Kabul.

The available option is for leaders across the world to come up with a joint plan on Afghanistan. If not we can expect mayhem and complete mortification of all human values.

Sharif Hussain — By email

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