Updated August 16th, 2021 at 15:06 IST

Afghan cultural promoter: 'feeling of abandonment'

A charity founder in Kabul has said Afghan citizens feel a sense of "abandonment," "hopelessness" and "fear" as the Taliban marches on the country's capital.

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A charity founder in Kabul has said Afghan citizens feel a sense of "abandonment," "hopelessness" and "fear" as the Taliban marches on the country's capital.

Omaid Sharifi is the founder of social change charity "Arts Lords" and has been promoting art and culture within Afghanistan for many years, he has given a picture of what life is currently like in Kabul.

"Their food prices are going high, the banks are closed down there. You cannot get your money from the bank and you are just a sitting duck," Sharifi told U.K. broadcaster Sky, adding "it just gives you the feeling of abandonment."

He also spoke of the displaced people who are trying to flee from a regime potentially run by the Taliban.

"Almost every single park in the city is filled with all these people who are displaced. And there is a sense of hopelessness, a sense of fear among the population that they don't have any option but just to stay and wait for their destiny," said the charity founder.

Sharifi has experienced life under the Taliban previously and he spoke of the possible future facing the country, "any expression of art would be banned. There would be no music, no TV, there would be no murals, no paintings," adding "we are going back hundreds and hundreds of years to a place that there's no empathy, there's no kindness."

When questioned on the international response to the situation, Sharifi said "the world just turned their backs," adding that blame lies with the current and previous Afghan governments, but also with the military forces who didn't fight the insurgents but "apparently they all put down their guns and it was shocking for the citizens."

In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces.

Just days earlier, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under insurgent pressure.

Instead, the Taliban swiftly defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swaths of the country, even though they had some air support from the U.S. military.

 

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Published August 16th, 2021 at 15:06 IST