The Taliban have banned Covid vaccination in east Afghanistan’s Paktia, Afghanistan-based radio and television platform Shamshad News reported. The armed movement has banned COVID-19 vaccines in the Paktia regional hospital and put up a notice in this regard, the report said citing provincial Public Health Director, Walayat Khan Ahmadzai.
According to Ahmadzai, the COVID-19 vaccine ward has been closed for the last three days, and the clients are told that the vaccine has been banned. The Taliban warned the vaccine distribution team to avoid distributing vaccines, Ahmadzai added.
In 2018, the Taliban banned house-to-house polio vaccination teams from operating in their territory, preventing over 3 million young children from being vaccinated against polio. The Telegraph reported that this “has become the biggest problem for the long-running global campaign to stamp out the crippling poliovirus.” In the past, Taliban assassins have also targeted polio vaccinators in neighboring Pakistan.
COVID-19 is likely to spread more to Afghan cities like Herat due to rising coronavirus cases in neighboring Iran, where even the government admits that at least 500 people are dying daily from the disease. In January, Iran banned Western COVID vaccines after claiming they were not trustworthy.
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Radio Free Europe reports:
With a new victim of the coronavirus dying every two minutes, deaths are soaring in Iran, with infections from the new Delta variant skyrocketing and hospitals overfilled. There are also widespread shortages of oxygen cylinders and other materials as many Iranians are furious with their leaders over a vaccination campaign that lags far behind other countries. “The situation is catastrophic,” says Amir Ali Savadkuhi, the president of Iran’s Intensive Care Association. “Hospitals have reached their limit…. Sometimes they just wait for patients to die because there is no treatment [available] for this [number] of admissions.”
Afghanistan is falling to the Taliban more completely and quickly than it otherwise might have, due to the Biden administration’s disorganized and sudden withdrawal.
Biden helped the Taliban take over Afghanistan by effectively grounding part of the Afghan Air Force. As the liberal Daily Beast notes, “As the U.S. withdrawal took hold, the Biden administration refused to allow contractors into the country to service the aircraft, effectively grounding some of the Afghan Air Force.”
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, and committed war crimes such as mass murder and rape, after U.S. troops suddenly pulled out, leaving billions of dollars worth of military equipment to be seized by the enemy.
“America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been as poorly managed as possible,” reports The Dispatch. The loss of “Afghanistan is a failure of military intelligence — and common sense.”
On July 8, President Biden foolishly downplayed the likelihood of a Taliban victory, citing the supposed superiority of the Afghan military over the Taliban. He claimed that “the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
In their abrupt and disorganized departure, U.S. troops left behind billions of dollars worth of military equipment that was seized by the Taliban. For example, Julian Röpcke reports that the Taliban “not only seized” around “a hundred US humvees” and armored personnel carriers “at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones. Billions of US taxpayer dollars going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration’s hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission… Now every Taliban fighter gets his own Ford, Toyota, Humvee” or armored personnel carrier.
Biden “grossly miscalculated,” notes The Dispatch, even though it is an anti-Trump publication. Biden and U.S. General Mark Milley “had no idea what they were talking about,” it says. “There were plenty of warning signs.” Yet the Biden administration “did not see the jihadists’ offensive coming.” It was “the biggest military-intelligence failure since the Tet offensive in 1968…it was also just a failure of common sense.”
The U.S. wasted scarce resources and airpower trying to help the Afghan government maintain control of pro-Taliban regions, rather than concentrating resources on anti-Taliban areas that might have held out longer against the Taliban if they had more support.
Afghanistan’s government swiftly collapsed under the Taliban assault, even though, by 2014, the U.S. had spent more money on Afghanistan than it did rebuilding Europe after World War II through the Marshall Plan (in inflation-adjusted terms). But Afghanistan remains an impoverished backwater.
A mere two days after Pentagon spokesman John Kirby claimed there was no imminent threat to Afghanistan’s capital, Taliban officials had taken the city, and were sitting at the desk of President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country.
Yet, on that day, August 15, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was still claiming that the government’s handling of Afghanistan was “successful.”
Executions and forced marriages are reportedly common in Taliban-controlled areas. “All girls over the age of 15 and widows younger than 40 should be married to the insurgent fighters, a local Taliban leader told the congregation at Friday prayers…One of those present was later summoned and ordered to hand over his 15-year-old daughter,” reported the Wall Street Journal. Taliban fighters are “going to door to door” to round up girls as young as 12 to be “sex slaves” for Taliban fighters, reports claim.