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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021
Outlook.com

Zero Dark 20: Two Decades Later, Afghanistan Back At Same Hell With Return Of Taliban

US pulled out of Afghanistan after two decades, leaving the war-ravaged country in the hands of the same radical group it had set out to vanquish

Zero Dark 20: Two Decades Later, Afghanistan Back At Same Hell With Return Of Taliban
Photographs by Roya Heydari
Zero Dark 20: Two Decades Later, Afghanistan Back At Same Hell With Return Of Taliban
outlookindia.com
2021-08-20T15:30:50+05:30

The whole planet’s eyes are on us—on Kabul, freshly captured. But on Wednesday, August 18, a presaging of what may lie ahead for Afghanistan came from a town some 240 northwest of the capital city. The central highlands are a landscape carved with dramatic cliffs and caves, mysterious places that have now revealed the world’s oldest oil paintings. Here, back in March 2001, the Taliban had thrown down perhaps their most stunning challenge to history. Bamiyan: the very name suffices to bring up, with a shiver, memories of the giant 6th century Buddha statues being pulverised into nothing. Now, Abdul Ali Mazari was no Buddha. An advocate of federalism and equal representation, he was also party to the endless civil war that beset Afghanistan before and during the Taliban’s first arrival on the scene in the 1990s—till he was tortured and murdered in 1995. Ashraf Ghani, the deposed president who fled the country on Sunday, had called him ‘Martyr of National Unity’. But on Wednesday, the Taliban dealt Mazari a symbolic second...

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