The Taliban has had no vaccines, no social distancing, no PCR tests, masks, or quarantines, yet has had no mass deaths from the pandemic.
A question has been circulating on social media which asks, “Can someone tell me how the Taliban has survived the last 18 months with no vaccines, social distancing, PCR testing, masks, and shutting down businesses to then recapture an entire country with no mass deaths amongst their population during a global pandemic?” The question implies that members of the Taliban have not been impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, and have not received vaccines to protect against the virus.
One notable user circulating the claim is Ted Nugent, a well-known country singer. His post gained thousands of interactions.
MENA: It is false to imply that the Taliban “survived... with no vaccines.” As of this month, over 1.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in Afghanistan. In January, the Taliban backed a vaccine support program, and Afghan health officials accepted $112 million from the World Health Organization to combat the pandemic in their country. The program was intended to cover 20% of the country’s population.
The claim that there have been no “mass deaths” is also false. There have been over 150,000 cases, with over 7,000 deaths. The CDC ranks Afghanistan’s warning level at a 4, the highest level of caution for travelers to the country.
There have also been mask mandates in the country. Towards the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Afghanistan’s acting health minister made face masks mandatory in public places. The country has set up multiple quarantine centers throughout its cities. The Taliban has helped to enforce lockdowns, and have even held workshops to raise awareness of actions to take to prevent further outbreaks.