Have the Taliban changed?

Posted on 15 September 2021

As stranded Afghans with New Zealand citizenship or visas wait to hear how they will get out of Kabul, concerns mount at the make-up of the new Taliban government.
It is all “male and packed with veterans of the brutal Taliban regime of 1996 to 2001. The members are almost all Pashtun, the dominant ethnic group in the country. One is on the F.B.I.’s most-wanted list...” reports Toby Harnden from the New York Times.
“The United Nations has cited “harrowing and credible” reports of summary executions and other human rights abuses across the country. Journalists have been beaten and thrown into jail. Just before the caretaker government announcement, a women’s protest in Kabul was suppressed with whips, batons and gunfire.”
But aid agencies remain hopeful that the Taliban will be forced to diversify. Pashtuns – the majority group - make up some 42 percent of Afghans. But the Taliban need to control a population of 40 million, which has nearly doubled since 2001 and in which Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks predominate.
Countries met last week (without New Zealand) to look at the options for getting stranded Afghans out.  
“The Government has been in a holding pattern since an airlift effort that helped evacuate more than 300 New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, and visa holders ended in late August, and possibly left behind more than 400 people,” reports Thomas Manch in Stuff.