The shelves of the Faizi bookstore they collect the history of Afghanistan in the last 40 years. That’s how long the oldest bookstore in the capital’s book market has been open. After being a soldier at the time of President Mohamed Najibulá and making his first steps as an actor, Daud picked up the witness of his father and surrounded by 100,000 titles he has witnessed in this small temple of the books the withdrawal of the Red Army, the civil war among mujahideen, the first Taliban ’emirate’, the US invasion of 2001 and, now, the return of the Islamists. 9/11 surprised him at the bookstore and ‘my first thought was that the United States had lost the
internal control of the country, it never crossed my mind that this was the beginning of a war in my country… ”That feeling of surprise when seeing that the American missiles reached Kabul a few weeks later is only comparable to the shock that it has caused the return of the Taliban after two decades of wars.
Afghanistan lived an anniversary of 9/11 with the feeling of going back to the past, with the feeling that a circle was being closed. Twenty years after Al Qaida declared war on the United States with the attack on the Twin Towers, the same Taliban who gave shelter Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the attacks, are in power and control more territory than they ever managed between 1996 and 2001. After announcing throughout the week that 9/11 would be the day for the inauguration of the new interim government, they finally did not there was an official ceremony of any kind and the day passed with that mixture of apparent normality and bewilderment that has invaded the country since on August 15, after a lightning offensive in which there was hardly any opposition, the Taliban declared the ’emirate’. “No ceremonies are needed, we have won the war and the Americans know it. Now we have to work to end the economic crisis as soon as possible and convince people to stay, “the new mayor of the capital confessed to this special envoy. mullah Hanan Haqqani after Friday prayer.
On this symbolic date more than One hundred foreign media are registered with a Kabul Ministry of Culture and Information, which informed all reporters of the ban on approaching the international airport, recording or photographing military positions, traveling to the Panshir, because “the fighting is not over and it is unsafe”, and covering “illegal demonstrations.” The written permission of this ministry is essential to work and if you leave Kabul you have to request new permits in each province. The few former government officials who do go to their jobs now live in a kind of parallel administration set up by Islamists who have their own teams in each department.
In the ’emirate’ no permit to cover protest mobilizations against the TalibanBut the new regime did organize a meeting of about three hundred women in a Kabul University assembly hall that ended with a mini-march in support of the Taliban on a neighboring street. Instead of the burqa associated with Afghanistan, the young women wore black niqabs from head to toe, their faces covered and gloves on their hands. It was a kind of ghost march in the morning from Kabul that heralds the path that the new authorities want university women to follow. Some women who have already been banned from playing sports and who are not represented in the new cabinet.
The new authorities want to give an image of normality and Pakistan once again threw them a cable announcing the start of operations of its national airline (PIA) from tomorrow, Monday. This will be the first international connection of a commercial flight since the Taliban have been in power and opens the road to Islamabad as a possible exit bridge for new evacuations of the thousands and thousands of collaborators who remain on the ground waiting for a rescue call.
Daud Faizi has never thought of leaving Afghanistan. He reviews some of the books on the conflict that he has on the second floor of the bookstore and thinks that soon he will have to add some on the failure of the United States and the return of the Taliban. I try to be as positive as possible. The United States brought money, progress and openness, but they are gone. The present is the ’emirate’ and I trust that having a single force in the country, with hardly any armed opposition, will help us put wars behind once and for all. We need the help of the UN and international recognition, we need stability. The big question for everyone, including this veteran bookseller, is the future that holds for the country with some Taliban that “until now are less radical than in the nineties, when they even prohibited us from selling books with photographs on the covers. At the moment they have not approached here ».
Near the book market, a large sign advertises an internet package deal from a local company. Another poster of the same size is presided over by the images of Jalaludin Haqqani, founder of the dreaded Red Haqqani, and Mullah Omar, first leader of the Taliban. These two names have filled the pages of books and newspapers in the last twenty years, but their photographs were almost non-existent and it was taboo for the Taliban to display them in public. The euphoria of victory has swept away taboos and now they honor their leaders in squares and highways.
The Kabul market bookstores were filled for two decades with titles on the great warlords of the Northern Alliance, the same ones who were defeated by the Taliban in the 1990s, but who returned to power thanks to their support for Washington after on 9/11. The books on Ahmed Sha Massoud, Abdul Rashid Dostum o Mohamed Fahim they are history. The mullahs of the Taliban will soon have their own to narrate the present, but in this country there is no author who dares to speak of the future.