Last Updated on August 13, 2021
The Taliban has reportedly banned COVID-19 vaccines in the Paktia province’s regional hospital according to a statement attributed to provincial Public Health Director Walayat Khan Ahadzai as they militant group retakes territory during the withdrawal of American troops originally planned by 45th President Donald Trump, which was then handled and delayed by Joe Biden.
According to Shamshad News, an Afghanistan based news organization, quoting provincial leaders, “the COVID-19 vaccine ward has been closed for the last three days” at the regional hospital, and those seeking the vaccine “are told that the vaccine has been banned.” They add, “The Taliban warned the vaccine distribution team to avoid distributing vaccines.”
— ShamshadNews (@Shamshadnetwork) August 12, 2021
The withdrawal of American troops after nearly 20 years of occupation was originally announced for President Trump, and under the 45th President would have been finished earlier this year. However, Joe Biden rescheduled the final withdrawal date for September 11, 2021, exactly 20 years after the devastating World Trade Center terrorist attack that plunged the United States into a 20-year global war on terror under President George W. Bush, which was then expanded under President Barack Obama. President Trump made ending the costly foreign engagements a key part of his campaign in 2016, and worked throughout his first term in office to reduce the number of American troops stationed in the Middle East and pursue historic peace deals to help stabilize the region.
Since Joe Biden’s withdrawal began, the Taliban has progressively captured territory. In the last 24 hours, Herat and Kandahar, two of the country’s largest cities, have been captured by the Taliban as the militant group makes large territorial gains. According to ADN.com, the Taliban now holds “half of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and control more than two-thirds of the country” with less than one month to go until the United States withdraws its remaining troops from the war torn nation.