The rivalry between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the two sides are locked in an unofficial competition over who has the better health policy, The Washington Post reports. And so far, the Taliban appears to be winning out.
Esmatullah Asim, a provincial council member from Wardak province, told the Post the Taliban has been more effective in dealing with travelers crossing the border from Iran, which has experienced the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the region. The Taliban quarantines everyone who passes through, he said, while the government only quarantines those showing symptoms at the border.
"The Taliban quarantine is much better than the government," said Asim. "They stop the vehicles, telling passengers how to prevent the spread of the virus."
The U.S. State Department has also acknowledged the Taliban has done an effective job handling the pandemic.
The Taliban has additionally dispatched health teams to deliver gloves, soaps, and masks to people in areas under its control in Afghanistan. But despite all that, they haven't ceased their attacks during the pandemic, blaming Kabul for forcing their hand. Read more about armed groups around the world and their response to the coronavirus at The Washington Post.