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Dark days are ahead for Afghanistan’s religious minorities

If you’ve been following the news at all in the last week you have heard of the terrible thing that happened in Afghanistan: the Taliban have retaken control of the country. This means there will now be no rights for women and LGBTQ+ people and merciless persecution of religious minorities. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and even those the Taliban consider to be the ”wrong” kind of Muslims, such as Shiites and Ahmadis, will be oppressed and very possibly face genocide.

Afghanistan was once a melting pot of different cultures and religions living together. But the Taliban regime put an end to this. Not only did they try to eradicate religious minorities, they also attempted to destroy any trace of them ever being there. It is estimated that the terrorists destroyed at least 72 000 historical artifacts over the years. The most memorable example of this destruction was the bombing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, two gigantic Buddha statues from the 6th century:

Very few people will thrive under this extremist regime made up of joyless radicals who believe music, kite flying and women laughing in public are tools of Satan.

To get a better insight in what life is like under Taliban rule, I can recommend three books: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini and The Bookseller of Kabul by Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad.

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