Afghans face bleak future as Taliban rule continues

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Afghans face bleak future as Taliban rule continues

The future looks bleak for the vast majority of Afghans.

At least 43% of the population is living below the poverty line by the end of the year, and 97% of Afghans are expected to be living below the poverty line by the end of the year. Some families have resorted to selling their organs to eat and others have sold their own children in order to survive.

As global leaders sought to isolate the Taliban, their policy approaches have crippled the economy, destroyed the banking sector and plunged the country into a humanitarian catastrophe that has left more than 24 million without food, Vicki Aken, Afghanistan's director of the International Rescue Committee, said on Friday.

The humanitarian crisis could lead to more deaths than 20 years of war if this is addressed, according to the organization.

This desperately poor and violent country has deteriorated in the last year, since the ultraconservative, insular and violent Taliban returned to power.

What little progress has been made in the last two decades in terms of democracy, personal freedoms and women's rights. The Taliban have shown that they have not changed much from the group that ruled in the 1990s until they were toppled by U.S. forces in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

After capturing rural areas and later cities over the course of years, the Taliban swept back into Kabul on Aug. 15 last year, as the U.S. backed President Ashraf Ghani fled.

In a short year, the economy is on the brink of collapse, millions are unemployed and close to starvation, secondary education has been banned for girls, women are forced to cover their faces in public and anyone opposed to the rule risks being tortured.

The Taliban has promised never to allow the killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul shows that Afghanistan remains a safe space for violent extremists, something the Taliban has pledged to never allow again.

The lives of millions of people have been changed under one year of Taliban rule and how it got to where it is today, according to the following photo series.