The Taliban say that all Afghans who work for the US army will be safe after September 11, 2021, on the condition that those individuals deeply regret their past actions with the USA and do not leave the war-ravaged country.
The reality is that thousands of male and female Afghans have worked with the US and NATO as all-purpose helpers, local translators, or security guards. The Afghan staff are extremely concerned about their safety after NATO leaves. The demand for Special Immigration Visas (SIVs) has increased, and although the US embassy has tried to resettle its national staff, there are long delays to complete the process.
In fact, the Afghan staff are very concerned. The Taliban’s statements are contradictory, and there are daily threats to workers’ lives amid other signs of insecurity. The staff cannot trust Taliban statements. In previous statements, the Taliban called Afghans who helped the US army their “enemies.” “invaders,” and “slaves.” And yet in recent statements, the Taliban promised a safe environment for all Afghans.
There is worrisome data from No One Left Behind, a non-government organization, that shows that approximately 300 Afghans have been killed who directly work for the US army. Their family members have been harmed, too. The data shows that the lives of local staff, journalists, military personnel, and women’s rights activists are being targeted by the Taliban every day. There is a huge gap between the statements the Taliban make and daily actions occurring in Afghanistan.
As a child, I lived through the terrifying Taliban era. I still remember the fear from the Taliban as a little four year old. I believe that the Taliban’s fundamental perspective has never changed. The Taliban see the national army as their enemy. They do not accept education, equality and freedom for women in Afghanistan. There is no miracle that can happen. The Taliban will not forgive the national army, journalists, sport trainers, and especially women who worked for NATO. Nothing will change their minds or move them towards peace and acceptance of women as equal partners.