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Taliban have taken over the country. Photo: Getty Images
Taliban have taken over the country. Photo: Getty Images

Afghanistan continues to suffer the consequences of a Taliban takeover

Amid the situation in Afghanistan, the international community has spoken out.  

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Amid the situation in Afghanistan, the international community has spoken out about displacement, the possible threat of ISIS to take over the region, and the power the Taliban have developed on social media. 

ISIS threatens to take over the country 
The Taliban takeover is not the only thing the international community is concerned about. Recently, U.S. officials warned that the Islamic State (ISIS) is threatening U.S. troops in the region.
 
"The U.S. warned that the Islamic State poses a threat to Americans in Afghanistan as the Biden administration seeks to evacuate thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies," the Wall Street Journal reported.
 
Jake Sullivan, national security advisor to President Joe Biden, told CNN that the threat from ISIS must be taken seriously.
 
“ISIS is real, it's acute, it's persistent, and it's something we're focused on with every tool in our arsenal," he said.
 
Similarly, on the afternoon of Aug. 24, the U.S. embassy warned Americans in Kabul to stay away from the airport.
 
The British government issued a similar warning to its residents in Kabul, while the Australian government said there is "a continuing and very high threat of terrorist attack" in the area.
 
The warnings came as the last of the estimated 1,500 Americans still in Afghanistan try to reach the airport to leave before the complete U.S. withdrawal on Aug. 31. 
Senators sneak to Afghanistan
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Senators Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer, showed on Twitter that they traveled to Afghanistan with the intention of "pressuring" President Joe Biden to extend the deadline for the evacuation of Americans, Afghans and other foreign nationals.
The Biden administration responded angrily, but provided them with security in the country and seats back to the United States on one of its military planes.
 
According to The Washington Post, this trip was not authorized and therefore, the senators had to leave the country in less than 24 hours. 
 
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, stated in a letter that the Defense Departments have asked members of the legislative body "not to travel to Afghanistan or the region during this time of danger."
Millions displaced 
According to a report delivered by the high commissioner of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 3.5 million Afghans have had to leave the country this year. 
 
"We can expect a significant number of people to seek refuge in neighboring countries or outside the region," the UNHCR said in a statement.
 
They also said that "the United Nations is committed to remain and provide assistance to those most in need, to support efforts to restore peace and stability, and to promote the rights and dignity of all Afghans."
 
Facing the massive migration of Afghans, the G7, a group of the world's 7 strongest economies, demanded the Taliban to allow the evacuation of foreigners and refugees beyond Aug. 31, the deadline set by the United States to complete its withdrawal. However, the Taliban denied the request, keeping the deadline on the last day of the month. 
 
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told the AP that the group will not accept "extensions" of the deadline and that life is returning to normal in Afghanistan, but chaos at the airport remains as a problem.
 
The Taliban on Social Media 
The Taliban boom has been so strong on social media that the fundamentalist group has taken its digital presence as a strength to improve its public image and reassure the Afghan population of events in the country. 
 
According to The New York Times, more than 100 new accounts and official pages of the Taliban or their sympathizers have appeared on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter since the takeover and despite these platforms banning the organization's messages.
 
On the Taliban's YouTube channel, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the co-founders of the Taliban, can be seen saying that "now is the time to serve the nation and give it peace and security."
 
According to some researchers, these videos are part of an effort by the Taliban to establish their authority and legitimize their rule throughout Afghanistan through the use of social media.
 
"So far, the tech companies' approach is not very effective," said Ayman Aziz, an independent researcher who has studied Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than a decade. "The Taliban are establishing a new presence, with their new regime, on the Internet."
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