The twin crises in Gaza and Ukraine have turned the attention of the world away from another festering issue, that of Afghanistan, which has almost constantly been in turmoil.
The Soviet invasion in 1979 and the following war of resistance, the rise of the Taliban, the American invasion in the aftermath of 9/11, and most recently, the Taliban's revival and takeover of the country are landmark events with implications that transcend Afghanistan’s borders.
The Taliban secured effective control of the country in the summer of 2021 with assurances that it would behave differently this time around. However, they quickly reneged on their promises.
On the bright side, apart from the occasional deadly terror attack by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province and the Taliban’s general brutality in governance, there has been an overall improvement in the security situation in general.
The Taliban have also banned poppy cultivation and slashed opium production by 95%.
But the good news ends there. Taliban rule continues to come at a painful cost for Afghan citizens.
For starters, the Taliban is isolated, and the country is on the brink of economic collapse. According to the UN World Food Programme, 15.3 million Afghans face acute food insecurity, and 2.8 million Afghans face emergency-level food insecurity.
Severe climate shocks and natural disasters have added to Afghan suffering.
Afghanistan is largely dependent on foreign aid for survival, but there is understandably not much appetite in the international community to contribute due to the Taliban takeover.