If the Taliban thought they will be able to run over the hinterland of Afghanistan without facing hurdles, they have come in for a shock in Herat, an ancient city bordering Iran that was preparing itself to be listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage site list.
Mohammad Ismail Khan, a former mujahideen leader and senior member of the Jamiat-e-Islami party, has mobilized hundreds of his loyalists in Herat to fight the Taliban that claimed 85 per cent of the country is in their control.
Taliban has come closer to the city of Herat after taking over many districts in the province, including two key border towns in Western Afghanistan.
According to Afghan media reports, Ismail Khan said, “We will reorganize the war fronts. We will save the city of Herat from those who have the order to plunder the city. We will not let them in; we will not let them change their dreams of plundering Herat into reality. We will not allow them to cast an evil eye towards the honour and dignity of our people.”
Taliban have captured eight districts of Heart province in the past 24 hours. Ismail says he is preparing to repulse the Taliban from these places. Similar reports of stiff resistance are also pouring in from other cities of this war torn country that is being abandoned by the USA after 20 years of stay in search of terrorists.
“We will never allow the Taliban to enter into the city of Herat. We assure the people to prevent the infiltration of the Taliban into the city,” said Feroz Ahmad Azizi, a Herat resident.
In the meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Afghan Analyst Network (AAN) shows that rural women in Afghanistan have serious concerns about their rights after the possibility of the Taliban returning as a major force in many ruler areas became a possibility after the Doha agreement
AAN findings indicate that the women in remote regions of Afghanistan have a clear vision for peace, but they are concerned about a possible imposition of restrictions on the women as a result of a peace agreement with the Taliban.
These women have said that peace brings security, but it should not deprive women of their basic rights.
According to the report, several women mentioned that they hoped peace would give women and girls more access to their rights, including the right to education, employment and to choose whom they marry.
Amidst reports of the exodus of professionals and the well to do Afghan people from the country in the apprehension of the Taliban takeover of their country, hundreds of women staged an anti-Talibanprotest at the city of Ghour. Women were carrying Afghan flagsand some even guns to defend their country.
Many city governments and the former warlords opposed to the Taliban have offered to arm the volunteers to protect their territory against the Taliban. Already this radical Islamist group has imposed restrictions on the movement of women in public places in areas under their control.
The United Nations has expressed its concerns over the rights of women under the Taliban.
On the other hand, Iran claimed the peace talks between Taliban and the Afghan government held in Tehran was successful as both sides agreed to end the fratricidal violence.
Indian external affairs minister J Jaishankar has also expressed his concern about the violence in Afghanistan and supported Iran’s efforts for intra-Afghan talks.