Sonali Kolhatkar speaks with Fahima Gaheez, Director of the Afghan Women’s Fund. She has visited Afghanistan to open new schools for girls and literacy classes for women, create income-generating projects for widows to help them become self-sufficient, distribute warm clothing and school supplies to refugees and guide numerous other humanitarian and educational projects.
After a hasty exit from Afghanistan, ending the longest-running modern American war, the Taliban have once more taken over the country. President Joe Biden withdrew troops in line with his predecessor’s goals and after years of peace talks with Taliban leaders. Over the weekend, Taliban forces captured swaths of Afghanistan with stunning speed. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to Oman, posting on his Facebook page that he was forced to make a tough choice. Following his departure Taliban forces entered the Presidential palace in the capital Kabul, marking a stunning chapter in the decades-long war.
Meanwhile, former President Hamid Karzai, installed by U.S. President George W. Bush, remained in Afghanistan and recorded a video with his three young daughters pledging to remain in Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai has now formed a coordinating committee with Afghan government leaders and former warlords Abdullah Abdullah and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for what he has called a “smooth transition” of power to the Taliban. Scenes of Afghans desperate to flee Kabul showed thousands of people on the airport runway, some even hanging onto an airplane as it attempted to take off.
Here in the U.S. Biden has come under intense criticism for abandoning Afghanistan and allowing the Taliban to take over so swiftly. Mr. Biden has remained defiant saying that the American people were in favor of an end to the war and that extending the occupation would have made no difference. Western media outlets have begun once more to voice concern for the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban – a familiar refrain that has long marked criticism of U.S. withdrawal.
Rising Up with Sonali is a radio and television show that brings progressive news coverage rooted in gender and racial justice to a wide audience. Rising Up With Sonali was built on the foundation of Sonali Kolhatkar's earlier show, Uprising, which became the longest-running drive-time radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles hosted by a woman. RUS airs on Free Speech TV every weekday.
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