What does independence mean in Afghanistan?

Today, on August 19th, #Afghanistan celebrates its Independence Day from the Britishafter signing the Anglo-Afghan Treaty in 1919 – a treaty that involved a commitment by Britain to stop interfering in Afghan affairs. On gaining independence in 1919, King Amanullah declared Afghanistan to be “entirely free, autonomous and independent, both internally and externally”.


So the question is, has Afghanistan truly experienced independence? From the monarchy to the communists to the mujahidin to the #Taliban, the essence of freedom was always far-fetched. The first Independence Day parade in 2001 banned clapping, music, women “Afghanistan is the graveyard of invaders,” read a banner, in English.


Today, in 2021, things in Afghanistan have escalated again, with the Taliban gaining power after the withdrawal of the US troops, leaving its citizens in complete shock, terror & imprisoned, once again in their beloved Afghanistan. The Taliban celebrated Afghanistan's Independence Day on Thursday by declaring they beat the United States. Many Afghan citizens, took part in demonstrations and protests to lower the Taliban Flag and replace them with the tricolor Afghan flag. Shots were fired and many people were killed during these protests.


An Afghan #refugee now in Europe says “It is critical; all people living in Afghanistan are in danger, especially families with young girls. My family is staying home, but even at home, they are not safe as the Taliban are searching for young girls, to force them into an unwanted marriage. I have two younger sisters and I’m very concerned. I’m speechless and helpless because I can’t do anything as I’m in Europe.


So what does independence mean in Afghanistan? “For every attack, every foreign bribe, and every failure to negotiate, everyone must take responsibility. An unwillingness to internalise that truth is the deadliest ammunition in a war that feels as though it will never end,” says Sulaiman Hakemy.

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