Hassan’s children were killed in a bomb blast carried out by the Taliban in 2018. Since then, he has been writing letters to world leaders urging them to end the Afghan war. And today his prayers have been answered.
Some people in the country were seen celebrating the end of an 18-year-old war. “We and are impatiently waiting for the foreign invaders to leave Afghanistan,” said Arefullah Saad, a resident of eastern Khost province, where the Taliban boast a strong presence. “I do not know if peace will be achieved, but it is enough to just end the war,” Zarmina, 27, from Ghazni province said.
The agreement inked in Doha sets out a timetable to end America’s longest war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives, in return for a commitment by the Taliban to refuse sanctuary to jihadist groups such as al-Qaida and hold negotiations with the Kabul government.
But there were others who said they feared what comes next. Kabul shopkeeper Husain Ahmad said that while Afghans were “hungry for peace”, the agreement represented a victory for the insurgents whose stint in power from 1996 to 2001 saw the imposition of strict sharia law and confined women to their homes.
Immediately after the deal was signed, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Afghan women “should not worry about their rights”.
But activist Zahra Hussaini said she had no faith in such claims. “I don’t trust the Taliban, and remember how they suppressed women when they were ruling,” the 28-year-old said in Kabul. “Today is a dark day, and as I was watching the deal being signed, I had this bad feeling that it would result in their return to power rather than in peace,” she said.