(Kabul) Fears are growing that the Taliban will make their promise to pardon their opponents, tens of thousands of whom are desperately trying to flee Afghanistan via Kabul airport via a “difficult” airlift recognized by US President Joe Biden has revealed that this is not possible will guarantee “the result”.
Posted on Aug 20, 2021 at 6:29 am Updated at 4:47 pm
David FOX Agence France-Presse
After two decades of war against the government, US and NATO forces, insurgents captured Kabul on Sunday after a meteoric military campaign that collapsed the Afghan army.
Tens of thousands of Afghans rushed to the capital’s airport on Monday to flee their country. A gigantic airlift involving many countries, particularly western ones, was built to evacuate thousands of people. The United States alone is planning to deport 30,000 people.
US troops briefly left the airport to pick up 169 people nearby, the Pentagon said on Friday. Joe Biden referred to “169 Americans entered the airport with the help of the military”.
But they are still very numerous, wedged between the Taliban checkpoints and the barbed wire of the American army, in desperate anticipation of an escape.
Sporadic shots, streets paralyzed by the crowd: the situation is chaotic.
And entering the airport is becoming “an increasingly delicate challenge,” complained NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday and, like the G7 and the UN, called on the Taliban to let those who want to go.
Amid countless poignant testimonies, a video posted on social media shows Afghans pushing a crying baby over the crowd at the airport and handing it over to a US soldier.
Civilian evacuations were suspended for several hours on Friday due to congestion in American bases in the Gulf, particularly in Qatar, where there are thousands of refugees, according to the Pentagon.
Many Afghans also gather near embassies hoping to be evacuated but are unable to enter.
Joe Biden, who has received much criticism for the hasty withdrawal of his troops from Afghanistan, admitted in his second televised address in a few days on Friday that he was unable to present “the final result” of this evacuation operation, which was among the “most difficult of the History “belongs to guarantee”.
According to him, the United States has deported more than 13,000 people from Afghanistan since August 14.
He decided, however, that this chaotic retreat did not affect the “credibility” of the United States.
The Taliban are trying to convince that they do not want revenge on their former enemies and promise “many differences” from their previous rule between 1996 and 2001 when they imposed an ultra-strict version of Islamic law that prevented women from working or working to study and punished thieves and murderers with bloody sentences.
However, according to a report by a UN expert group, the new masters of Afghanistan have “priority lists” of wanted Afghans, the most at risk are the military, police and military.
According to the report, the Taliban are making “targeted visits” to wanted people and their families. Their checkpoints also filter Afghans in major cities and those who want to get to Kabul airport.
“We expect that people who have worked for US and NATO forces and their allies, as well as their family members, will be threatened with torture and execution,” says Christian Nellemann, director of the group.
Former Home Secretary Masoud Andarabi, who was on the run abroad, told the British Times radio that the Taliban had “expanded and intensified their research over the past 24 hours.”
While looking for a journalist from Deutsche Welle (DW) based in Germany, the Taliban shot a family member and seriously injured another on Wednesday, the German radio reported.
According to DW, the Taliban searched at least three of their journalists, shot the boss of a local radio station and arrested Nematullah Hemat from the private broadcaster Ghargasht TV.
The International Union of Journalists (IFJ) says it has received “hundreds of calls for help” from Afghan information professionals, mostly from women who are “panicked and afraid”.
The Taliban say their men are not allowed to do so. “Some people still do it, maybe out of ignorance […] We are ashamed, ”tweeted one of her senior officials, Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen.
The Taliban said they wanted to establish “good diplomatic relations” with all countries, but warned against compromising their religious principles.
China, Russia, Turkey and Iran have given signals of openness, while Western countries remain cautious.
Russian President Vladimir Poutine called on Friday to prevent the “collapse” of Afghanistan, while also criticizing the “irresponsible” Western policies aimed at “enforcing foreign values”.
The destroyed Afghan economy is heavily dependent on international aid. According to the World Food Program (WFP), “one in three” is affected by food insecurity in the country threatened by severe drought.
“The situation is bad. […] 14 million people are already threatened with severe or acute hunger, that is every third person. And two million children are at risk of malnutrition, ”warns Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP representative.
“Democracy failed in Afghanistan. We will have to wait and see if (the Taliban) can feed the people and bring them peace and quiet. If they do, people will like them or they will fail too, ”said Reza, a Kabul resident.
The Taliban have called on imams to preach unity and not to flee educated people during Friday prayers, the first since taking office.
In the overcrowded Abdul Rahman Mosque in Kabul, armed men framed an imam who gave a fiery speech on the defeats of successive invaders – British, Soviet and American – and welcomed the “collective pride” of the Afghans, “brave people” .
Resistance and Negotiations
Isolated signs of resistance have been reported.
Armed villagers confiscated three districts in Baghlan province (north) from the Islamists on Friday, local media said.
Ahmad Massoud, whose father, Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud – murdered by Al-Qaida on September 9, 2001 – was the most notorious opponent of the Taliban and the Soviets, called on Thursday with former Vice President Amrullah Saleh for resistance from his panchir. on Tal northeast of Kabul, the last region not controlled by the Taliban.
Experts consider the adventure to be uncertain, perhaps just an announcement intended to influence possible negotiations with the Taliban.
Former Vice President Abdullah Abdullah posted photos on Facebook on Friday showing him talking to former President Hamid Karzai (2001-2014) with figures from Panchir, days after the duo met the Taliban leaders.