Continuing its reign of destruction, shocking visuals have emerged showcasing that the Taliban has destroyed the historic Bala Hissar Fort in Kabul. Bala Hissar Fort is an ancient fortress located in the south of the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The estimated date of construction is around the 5th century AD. It is pertinent to mention that the Taliban had earlier destroyed the statue of Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari in Bamiyan.
Speaking to Republic TV, Retd Major Gen SP Sinha said, "Those who are saying the Taliban has changed now, it is all a myth, it was propaganda. The Taliban has come by proxy. The proxy by people who went to secure Afghanistan. It is done by the same Prime Minister who is holding in the interim government who ordered the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha. When the Taliban took over in 1996, they did it just after that. The Taliban only believes in Sharia, they believe in those radicalised thoughts. According to any structures related to other religions is the act of the Qaafirs."
It is pertinent to mention that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on August 19 had called for the preservation of Afghanistan's cultural heritage in its diversity. The UNESCO in an official statement said that it has been "closely following the situation on the ground and is committed to exercising all possible efforts. Any damage or loss of cultural heritage will only have adverse consequences on the prospects for lasting peace and humanitarian relief for the people of Afghanistan," it had said.
The wiping out of Afghanistan's historic diverse culture by the Taliban is not new as the terrorist group in 2001 had destroyed Bamiyan Buddhas, the much-revered 6th-century monumental statues of Gautama Buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley of central Afghanistan. On February 26, 2001, Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, had issued a decree ordering the elimination of all non-Islamic statues and sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
After the Taliban stormed into Kabul on August 15, Afghanistan's former president Ashraf Ghani resigned and fled the country with his associates. Since then, several persons have lost their lives in the chaos at the Hamid Karzai International Airport with thousands of people desperately trying to flee the country. This includes the death of at least 169 Afghans, 11 US Marines, a US Navy sailor, and a US Army soldier in a suicide bombing at the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport on August 26. This was followed by US airstrikes on terrorists belonging to ISIS-K which claimed responsibility for this attack.
On August 31, the Taliban gained control of the Kabul airport after the last batch of US troops left Afghanistan. While the Taliban promised to form an "inclusive" government to run Afghanistan, it announced a 33-member caretaker Cabinet a day earlier which neither has women nor mainstream politicians from previous regimes. Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the chief of the Taliban's Rehbari Shura, is the new Prime Minister and has two deputies, Mullah Baradar and Mawlavi Hanafi. Another member of the terrorist outfit, Sirajuddin Haqqani is the Interior Minister whereas Taliban founder Mullah Omar's son Mullah Yaqoob has been named the Defence Minister.