Trash heaps throughout the city, feces on sidewalks, and armed guards at every street corner to hand out beatings — welcome to the new Kabul.
The once-modern capital of Afghanistan with a growing middle class has been plunged back into the Dark Ages, literally, as electricity is shut off at night, plunging 4 million people into darkness. This is life under the Taliban after their takeover two weeks ago.
“They are trying to save the power. If it’s night, why do you need the power? It must be dark,” said Afghan security consultant Nasser Waziri, parroting the Taliban’s thinking. “There is a curfew at night. At nighttime, you cannot go out. On every corner is a Taliban person, giving an order to go back home.”
If lack of power isn’t bad enough, the population must now contend with slow or nonexistent internet service. Afghanistan is primarily a cash nation, and residents purchase monthly cards at a store for internet access. Cards are no longer available, and banks do not have any money available for people to purchase any, Waziri said, adding that the Taliban want it that way so nothing can be documented.
With the lack of money and international trade that has stopped, inflation is rampant. For example, a bag of rice has almost doubled, Waziri said. No trucks are delivering goods on the streets.
“Everybody is scared — who is going to import to a terror state?” Waziri said.
The takeover is a brutal reality for many who have grown up under the freedom of Western influence, especially women who must now wear a burqa and cannot go outside without a male family member.
Afghans cannot listen to music either, as that is banned by the Taliban’s version of Islam. The most brutal example is the murder of beloved Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi, who was shot in the head on his farm.
Waziri shared photographs with the Washington Examiner of welts on the shoulder and neck of a friend who made the mistake of walking down the street with a cell phone. A Taliban guard grabbed her phone to check whether any music was uploaded, and when he found some, he beat her.
“If you see Kabul now, it’s garbage. Everywhere is garbage,” Waziri said. “[The Taliban] are animals — they go to the bathroom on each side of the street, and the whole city is smelling. One guy put out a [portable] toilet, and he got beaten and had to remove that. The Taliban said, ‘We have to do this a natural way.’”
The condition of Kabul now is reminiscent of what American troops found in 2001 when they captured a city that had been destroyed from the 1979 Soviet invasion. The streets had been torn up and littered with garbage and sewage while the electrical grid and water system had to be rebuilt, said retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served in Afghanistan.
“I close my eyes, and I can smell it, and I can see it — I know exactly what is going on there today,” he said. “It was nasty. It was a big health problem and humanitarian crisis.”
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Original Author: Tori Richards
Original Location: Hellish living conditions are the new Kabul reality