Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to repression under the Taliban regime, something Elham Kohistani, an activist, and Najiba Sanjar, a crisis coordinator and consultant, said at a seminar during Almedalen Week. Photo: Julia Lundén Azzeddine.


One year after the Taliban took power: "Do not forget Afghanistan"

One year after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, the country is hard hit by poverty, famine, unemployment and dismantled health care. During Almedalen Week, several people discussed the crisis situation in the country. 

It näbraces himself åThursday förnär Taliban regime öheld power in Afghanistan after a little over three månader låetcäpnad offensive against the country's government. Afghanistan now has its most repressive regime since the Taliban last held power in the 1990s.

Striking testimony from Almedalen Week

2001 was 2 to 3 percent of the female population educated in Afghanistan. Now more than 35 percent of women in the country are educated, according to activist Elham Kohistani. 

- Dno one can take ifrån us. A Taliban can force me to do things på to the sätt, but can never take ifrån me the education I föremains within me, as I do åestablished. We have förlorat måno progress but bödoes not resume från zero, säshe hon. 

She is together with Najiba Sanjar, crisis coordinator and consultant at the organization Urgent Action Fund for Asia and the Pacific, on site during Almedalen Week to talk about the life situation of Afghan women and girls under the Taliban regime. Attending the same seminar äare among others representatives fråNoöda The cross and arrangementöpure Swedish Afghanistan Committeeén (THING).

There is a general perception among this year's visitors that the return to Almedalen and Visby marks a long-awaited end to the trying and isolating time the pandemic has meant for many. At the same time, this year's seminar on international issues is a clear reminder that relief over better times is rare from a global perspective. Elham Kohistani and Najiba Sanjar är obviously känslosamma när they talk about Afghanistan and their lives där which has been taken ifrån dem. Elham Kohistani - a young woman and activist whose life präglats of skolgång and öfreedoms. Najiba Sanjar - en någ äElderly woman who is now living through the Taliban's begränsnings för second gången during his lifetime. Their gripping testimonyåI prayöis probably everyone in the audience - who listens carefully to their words. Stäthe opinion är serious, because the situation äis just that. Ändoh ohr Elham Kohistani's concluding words quoted above hopeful.

Food insecurity for many people in the country

In the midst of the burning crisis in Afghanistan bestämmer sig convärlden, däribland Sweden, to withdraw all development assistanceånd as before gått via the Afghan state - föis not to fund the Taliban's state apparatus. In November 2021, Afghanistan expert Anders Fänge predicted a tough time for Afghanistan, perähappy with poverty, worklöshet and ökad exposure för covid-19 to fösound of an imploded diseaseård and economics.

And it was a tough time, and ärihögsta degree äfriend today för The civilian population of Afghanistan. After six months with the Taliban regime, Afghanistan had reached the highest measured food security ever among the population, after a 37 percent increase. according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). This figure was feared contätta öka in 2022, to fösound of lack of på food and höjda food prices in both the country and large parts of the rest of the world. In parallel, Afghanistan has also been affected hårt of a fjärde våg of covid-19, while öover 90 percent of the country's diseaseårds sector is feared stägo down under åcourt's gång, according to IRC. The organization warned ävein för that a högre number of mäpeople risk that dö of svält in the country, än in the last 20 åpure of war. At the same time, Ulrika describes Modéer, Assistant Secretary General på UN Development Program (UNDP), that Afghanistan is currently in a "Media shadow" then the focus is on other crises.

When Najiba Sanjar, who has lång experience of working föis that girls in rural Afghanistan should have accessång to education, describes what Afghan girls and women need is it with a resignation in the voice.

- I kädoes not mean that Afghanistan äis not a priority länothing. DärföI ask the Swedish government in particular not to glömma Afghan women and girls. The äare not involved in the policies pursued now and förtjäwhen a värdigt liv, pägives Najiba Sanjar in a video interview with Utvecklingsmagasinet.

Civil society cannot compensate for the shortcomings of the Afghan state

When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan excluded Sweden the Afghan state apparatus in its aid work, and instead redistributed aid to only civil society organizations in the country. But this is something that creates major complications, according to the Swedish Afghanistan Committee's Secretary General Andreas Stefansson.

- It generates parallel systems as we call it. Man märker that the new rulers do not have n at allåexperience of societyällsstyrning, på the är and väldys dysfunctional state apparatus right now, he says in an interview with Utvecklingsmagasinet. He continues:

- They have been good på to be a väpnad resistanceåndsgrupp, but that plötsly börja govern a country and take responsibility withinäare major challenges. That not försöka bistå in developing sådan competence, but only försöka compensate in civil societyämilk är neither hållbart or önsqärt.

Andreas Stefansson, Secretary General of the Swedish Afghanistan Committee, believes that the decision not to support the Afghan state is a dilemma. Photo: Julia Lundén Azzeddine.

In August 2021, Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted that Sweden will continue to assist the Afghan people, without “a buck will go to the Taliban". Following the statement, US political scientist and researcher Vantaa Felbab-Brown described the tactic of overthrowing the Taliban by "starving them for money" as "unrealistic" for the magazine OmVärlden. Since the Taliban regime constitutes the state apparatus, Sweden's and other parts of the outside world's position means that no public institutions are supported or financed. This will inevitably affect the Afghan civilian population who are dependent on a functioning state, which can not be replaced by either humanitarian aid or civil society organizations, says Andreas Stefansson. But he also understandså politicians' dilemma inföis development cooperation with a såpass repressive regime.

- That är and jättsvårväg forwardåt. Should politicians vågive stödja more lålong-term public institutions, it in turn helps the Afghan people but it böalso smells like identification, which you do not want. Especially not in Sweden during an electionår, he says. 

The Taliban have visited SAK's office in Kabul

Swedish Afghanistan Committeeén contäresumes its work in Afghanistan despite cuts of SEK 35 million due to the government's settlements on development assistance and the loss of a competent counterpart in public institutions. The organization has received approval from the Taliban regime to continue conducting development work in the country. They have also been askedök of the Taliban at their office in Kabul - including för that säChristmasälla that women and män are separated. The Swedish Afghanistan Committee's strategic plan för 2023 to 2025 includes, among other things, that outöka number of students på the schools they work with and to educate more women lärare. The latterämonth äis paradoxically a need that arose after the Taliban's könsseparatist policies - now more female teachers are needed because the Taliban have decided that girls are only allowed to have female teachers in school.

- That äis a bit illogical that the Taliban regime förvägrar girls to gå ihögstadiet and gymnasium, but at the same time want female lärare. How do female lärare else to ?, pägives Andreas Stefansson while he laughs and shakes på the head.

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