(Kabul) Afghanistan was in the hands of the Taliban on Monday after government forces collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad and thousands of people desperately tried to flee the country to Kabul airport in utter chaos.
Posted on Aug 16, 2021 at 6:12 am
David FOX Agence France-Presse
The shimmering triumph of the insurgents, which they celebrated on Sunday evening with the capture of the presidential palace in Kabul, triggered scenes of monster panic at the capital’s airport.
A flood of people has rushed the only way out of the country to flee the new regime that the radical Islamist movement, which is back in power after 20 years of war, promises to establish.
Videos posted on social media showed scenes of utter chaos, thousands of people waiting on the tarmac itself, and most importantly, crowds of young men clinging to catwalks or stairs to get on a plane.
American forces even fired in the air to try to control the crowd, not convinced of the Taliban’s promise that none of them had anything to fear, AFP told a witness who confessed to being “very afraid” .
“We are afraid to live in this city and we are trying to escape from Kabul,” said Ahmad Sekib (25) from the airport, another witness with a false name.
“I read on Facebook that Canada is accepting asylum seekers from Afghanistan. I hope i will be one of them. When I served in the army, I lost my job and it’s dangerous for me to live here because the Taliban will attack me, that’s for sure, ”he said.
Commercial flights to and from Kabul have been canceled. And international companies have suspended the overflight of the country at the request of Afghanistan and because of American military traffic.
The capital, on the other hand, was rather quiet. The streets were less crowded than the day before and were controlled by armed Taliban who set up checkpoints.
The Taliban have told their fighters that “no one is allowed to enter other people’s homes without permission,” said one of its spokesmen, Suhail Shaheen.
On Twitter accounts, which are cheap for them, they boasted that they had been warmly welcomed in Kabul or that young girls would return to school as usual on Monday.
“Serve our nation”
They also indicated that thousands of fighters gathered in the capital to come and ensure their safety.
The now ex-President Ghani admitted on Sunday evening that the Taliban had “won” after their escape.
In a video posted on social media, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban, called for disciplining his troops. “Now is the time to evaluate and prove that we must show that we can serve our nation and ensure safety and comfort in life,” he said.
The debacle is total for the Afghan security forces, which have been funded by the US with hundreds of billions of dollars for 20 years.
Within 10 days, the radical Islamist movement, which launched an offensive in May when the withdrawal of foreign troops began, took control of almost all of Afghanistan.
And this 20 years after the expulsion by a US-led coalition because of their refusal to recognize the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, after the attacks on Sept.
China was the first country to declare on Monday that it wanted to maintain “friendly relations” with the Taliban. Russia has indicated that its decision to recognize the new power will depend on “its actions.”
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, on the other hand, said it was “not the time” to recognize the Taliban regime. He also called their return to power “a failure of the international community”.
The American flag was removed from the US embassy in Kabul early Monday and “brought to safety” with embassy personnel who had gathered at the airport to await evacuation, the department said. “State and the Pentagon.
The Americans have sent 6,000 soldiers to secure the airport and evacuate approximately 30,000 Americans and Afghan civilians who have cooperated with the United States feared Taliban retaliation.
Many other diplomats and foreigners were also hastily evacuated from Kabul on Sunday. The UN Security Council was due to meet at 2 p.m. GMT (10 a.m. ET) on Monday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
Bitter pill for Washington
The United States and 65 other countries advocated that Afghans and foreigners who want to flee Afghanistan “may do so” and called on the Taliban to “take responsibility” on this matter.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has defended its decision to end the 20 Years War, the longest in America.
“This is not Saigon,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured CNN on Sunday with a view to the fall of the Vietnamese capital in 1975, a memory that is still painful for the United States.
But the pill is bitter for Washington, whose image appears deeply damaged, lamenting 2,500 deaths and a bill of more than $ 2,000 billion.
“I am the fourth president to rule Afghanistan with an American military presence” […] I do not want to and will not extend this war to a fifth, ”President Biden had justified earlier.
His predecessor Donald Trump – who signed an agreement with the Taliban on the withdrawal of US forces in February 2020 – broke “one of the greatest defeats in American history” and asked him to resign.
Many Afghans, especially in the cities, fear that the Taliban would only enforce the same ultra-strict version of Islamic law between 1996 and 2001 when they ruled the country.
You have repeatedly promised that if you return to power, you will respect human rights, especially those of women, in accordance with “Islamic values”.
But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “particularly concerned about the future of women and girls, whose hard-won rights must be protected”.