Afghanistan Is Returning to Barbarism

Taliban fighters stand guard near the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan military hospital in Kabul on November 2.
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

Afghanistan Is Returning to Barbarism

A look into 90 days of Taliban rule

It has been roughly 90 days since the United States’ disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. The dramatic scenes of panic and violence gripped the world’s attention. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “This terrible defeat was a spectacle seen by the entire world—and they were watching intently! It will mar our history, perhaps for the rest of time.”

The Afghanistan withdrawal should be vividly burned into every American’s consciousness. But sadly, Afghanistan is already forgotten. This is obscuring the horrifying consequences the Afghan people are facing for treasonous actions by the United States.

“The mighty American military simply surrendered to the Taliban,” wrote Mr. Flurry. “Our soldiers were evacuated in absurd haste to leave this nation to barbarians.” Not only has the Afghanistan disaster humiliated and weakened America, it has sentenced Afghanistan to a new dark age of barbarism.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 with a version of strict Islamic law. Euro News reported that “the [Taliban] largely confined women to their homes, banned television and music, chopped off the hands of suspected thieves, and held public executions.” Education was virtually nonexistent, and the economy was driven by opium production. Girls and women were killed for trying to go to school, and many children (boys and girls) were sexually abused.

The Taliban and the Biden administration have told the world this time it would be different. During the withdrawal, the Taliban “pledged to respect the rights of women, girls and ethnic minorities and refrain from reprisals.” What has actually happened in the first 90 days of Taliban rule?

Mr. Flurry warned what the Taliban barbarians would do: “Now, millions of people are going to be greatly persecuted and killed. Children and women are going to be abused, raped and murdered. The Taliban immediately began gathering up girls age 15 and even younger and giving them to their fighters as ‘wives.’ They began publicly executing women for failing to wear a burka.”

Amnesty International reported on August 30: “Taliban forces unlawfully killed 13 ethnic Hazaras, including a 17-year-old girl, in Afghanistan’s Daykundi province after members of the security forces of the former government surrendered.” Amnesty International and several reporters have commented it is increasingly difficult to report on the atrocities happening in Afghanistan because the Taliban have cut off mobile networks, beat and whip human rights defenders, and search house to house for U.S. allies.

Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s deputy director for South Asia, said: “In just over five weeks since assuming control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have clearly demonstrated that they are not serious about protecting or respecting human rights. We have already seen a wave of violations, from reprisal attacks and restrictions on women, to crackdowns on protests, the media and civil society.” Eyewitnesses testify that on August 31, the day the last U.S. forces left, women without a male chaperone were being beaten in the streets with canes. The Taliban have also been hunting down prominent women who held leadership positions or spoke out for women’s rights in the previous government.

Euro News stated that the Taliban have been recruiting child soldiers and suppressing protests. The Taliban government has banned all protests unless they are first approved by the government. Mullah Nooruddin Turabi is in charge of prisons; in the 1990s, he was in charge of the religious police. He said policies are being developed to bring executions, amputations, and other forms of punishments back to Afghanistan. “No one will tell us what our laws should be,” he said.

Following Turabi’s statement, Anchal Vohra at Foreign Affairs reported:

Late last month, the Taliban killed four men and hung their dead bodies in public squares in the northwestern Afghan city of Herat. One lifeless corpse dangled off a crane above throngs of commuters who were stunned at the exhibition and grasping the significance of the moment—a return to the past. The group’s newly appointed mayor declared the killed as kidnappers and boasted about the display of the dead as an effective deterrent. He warned: Other criminals would meet the same fate. …

Islamic scholars have long disputed the Taliban’s understanding of sharia, arguing the system allows for moderation through ijtihad—an Islamic legal term for independent reasoning. Foreign Policy’s conversations with activists based in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the [United Arab Emirates]—whose interpretation of sharia and application of religious injunctions the Taliban cite as precedent—underscore that those countries’ legal systems are far less extreme than the model the Taliban advocate.

The Taliban have a more extreme model than the brutal regime in Iran. Perhaps this helps clarify why Afghans would cling to the sides of an airborne plane to try to escape the rule of the Taliban.

On top of the oppression, the economy is on the verge of collapse. Open Democracy reported that “three quarters of Afghan public expenditure came from international donor assistance, including most public-sector jobs in the medical, teaching, policing and legal sectors.” Forty-three percent of the nation’s gross domestic product was from foreign assistance. The Afghan economy was really a charade being propped up by the U.S. Most of that aid ceased when the Taliban took over, and most of the Afghan people are facing poverty and starvation. No matter how dire the Afghan economy is, the Taliban will enjoy steady revenue streams from opium trade and Chinese investment.

Afghanistan’s gdp is expected to shrink by 30 percent this year. The banking system is on the brink of collapse due to a cash shortage. Many businesses and individuals took out loans to stay viable when the Taliban took power, but no one will be able to pay their loans back. Many are becoming desperate to provide food and medical needs for their families. This has been intensified by a nationwide drought that started last year. Increasing water shortages, sparse livestock, and dwindling food supplies have displaced more than 600,000 in Afghanistan this year alone. Some women are traveling 12 miles a day to access clean water.

The situation is so bleak many are betrothing their young daughters in order to survive. By betrothing young girls, the man agrees to pay a lump sum of money, which can be used to keep the family alive. The Atlantic gave the example of a mother who, in order to keep her family from starving to death, accepted $6,000 to marry off her 11-year-old daughter to a man nearly twice her age. There has been a spike in child marriages since the Taliban took control of the country (however, the Atlantic piece spends more time explaining how climate change is causing the increase).

The Diplomat tells the story of an Afghan widow named Sooma who has five kids. A Taliban fighter threatened to rape her and kill her children if she did not marry him. She consented to save her children and is abused and raped daily by her new “husband.” The Sun reported that children as young as 1 year old are being sold for $800 to the Taliban to be groomed as future brides for fighters.

All of this is happening with hundreds of U.S. citizens and allies still trapped inside the country.

This is Afghanistan after only 90 days of Taliban rule. After 20 years of war, the United States did make some progress for the people who have lived in Third World conditions for generations. Yet in a single stroke, all of that progress has been surrendered. Sir Winston Churchill observed the same tragedy play out in the 1930s, writing:

[H]istorians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice and absolute victory—gone with the wind!

There is one big difference between the 1930s and what is happening in Afghanistan today. Mr. Flurry wrote: “Many people say it proves Joe Biden’s incompetence. But this catastrophe isn’t the result of bungling and bad judgment. It is a deliberate, planned effort to destroy America.” What we are seeing play out in Afghanistan is the result of a dying superpower.

The late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy that the God-given blessings Britain and America had starting in 1800 ended up benefiting the whole world. “So this prophecy shows that at the very time we were receiving God’s blessings, we were a tremendous blessing to the other nations of the Earth—for it is our peoples who have rescued the other nations of the world time and again,” he wrote. While the British Empire and the American superpower have been far from perfect, their God-given wealth and power were used to lift many parts of the world out of barbarism.

As a young man, Churchill wrote The River War after taking part in an expedition to Sudan to defeat the Mahdi, an Islamic revolutionary group that took over the Sudan decades earlier, much like what the Taliban is now imposing on Afghanistan. This experience profoundly shaped Churchill’s view on how the British Empire can benefit the world. He wrote:

What enterprise that an enlightened community may attempt is more noble and more profitable than the reclamation from barbarism of fertile regions and large plantations? To give peace to warring tribes, to administer justice where all was violence, to strike the chains off the slave, to draw the richness of the soil, to plant the earliest seeds of commerce and learning, to increase in whole peoples their capacities for pleasure and diminish their chances of pain—what more beautiful ideal or more valuable reward can inspire human effort?

When the British Empire expanded, generally it would first use force to conquer and bring order, and then introduce education to the populace. This is how civilization spread and barbarism was removed. The United States did the same in Afghanistan. But as Britain and America have rejected God, they have ceased to benefit the world. As the birthright blessings are withdrawn due to the sins of the British and American people, the suffering of the world increases and barbarism returns.

How can people be permanently lifted out of barbarism? By educating mankind to think like God instead of like carnal men.

When Jesus Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God, He will take two courses of action, as Mr. Armstrong explained in The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like: “1) All crime and organized rebellion will be put down by force—divine supernatural force. 2) Christ will then set His hand to reeducate and to save, or spiritually convert, the world.” This is how barbarism will be permanently removed from Afghanistan and all other nations on the Earth. Finally, all of mankind will be able to enjoy the abundant life of God’s civilization! This new beginning is coming soon.