On Monday, new Taliban units from other cities continue to arrive in the Afghan capital. Taliban fighters took control of the entire city, with the exception of the airport. It remains the only “window” for evacuation from the country, since all border crossings are controlled by the Taliban. Hundreds of people expecting to travel outside the country are directly on the airfield. Several people died when tried to hook behind the aircraft landing gear and fell from a great height. The air harbor, in which panic and despair reigns, is only abandoned by military transport planes that take out embassy staff. Commercial flights canceled.
In Kabul itself, the Taliban began to seize weapons from the civilian population. They also announced the beginning of arrests of persons suspected of crimes. Last night one of the leaders of the Kuchi tribe complained that armed men had broken into his home in Kabul and demanded the keys to his car and house. Taliban officials say that most of the townspeople are happy and safe. However, the media report that the city has become depopulated and residents are sitting at home.
There have been several reports of people disappearing. For example, a local journalist who worked for a government newspaper disappeared, as well as a man who was a translator for the Czech military during their stay in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Taliban promised amnesty to those who collaborated with the previous government.
The situation in Afghanistan escalated in the summer against the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US military contingent and NATO troops. By early July, more than 90% of the American military contingent had left the country, and the US planned to completely withdraw its troops by the end of August. The Taliban launched an offensive against government forces. On August 15, they reached the outskirts of Kabul, and the government announced the surrender of the capital without a fight.
On the same day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country by plane, while the Taliban entered Kabul. The rapid fall of the capital came as a shock to Afghan society and the world community.
The Taliban themselves claim that their coming to power poses no threat to either Afghans or foreigners. Recently, Taliban fighters have publicly issued several guarantees. In particular, their representatives promised that they would find “a way to build an Islamic system in which all Afghans will have equal rights, where the rights of women guaranteed by Islam – from the right to education to the right to work – will be protected.” One of the leaders of the Taliban, Sirajuddin Haqqani, wrote about this last year in The New York Times. Haqqani promised that Afghanistan will remain committed to international conventions if they are compatible with Islamic principles. On Sunday, a Taliban spokesman said that under the rule of the Taliban, women will be able to get education and work, leave the house unaccompanied by a man, but will be required to wear a hijab.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter that the Taliban were ordered not to enter homes without special orders and to protect the “life, property and honor” of citizens. The Taliban also promised that they would not impose strict rules on the quarter where diplomatic missions and the villas of former warlords who collaborated with the United States are located, and have now left their homes.
Kabul does not believe in the Taliban
The promises of the Taliban are not trusted not only by the international community, but also by the people of Afghanistan. This is eloquently shown by the panic that gripped the capital before the Taliban fighters entered the city. Chaos reigns at the Kabul airport, where hundreds of people are desperate to leave Afghanistan in military transport planes. Crowds of Afghans at a run accompany the taking off planes.
Rahmatula Kuyash, 30, was one of the few people who at the time of the arrival of the Taliban had a visa allowing them to enter Uzbekistan. At the same time, the man had to abandon his children and relatives in Afghanistan. “I am at a loss and do not know what to do. I have lost everything ”, – quotes Afghan Associated Press.
During the rule of the Taliban in 1996-2001, Sharia law in the strictest interpretation was established in the country. The position of women was especially difficult. They were forbidden to receive almost any education, they could not work, play sports and were obliged to wear a burqa everywhere, they were also forbidden to move without being accompanied by a husband or a male relative. For misconduct, severe corporal punishment was imposed, including cutting off the hands, or even public execution. In March 2001, despite the protests of the world community and Islamic countries, including Pakistan, the Taliban blew up two giant Buddha statues that were part of a complex of Buddhist monasteries in the Bamiyan Valley, dated back to the 6th century AD.
Early reports of how the Taliban are behaving in controlled territories confirm the worst fears. Less than a week before the fall of Kabul, the UN announced massive killings of women, human rights defenders and journalists in Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said women were publicly flogged for violating Taliban rules. The UN received reports of violations that “may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” writes RBC. The organization became aware of the mass executions of surrendered government soldiers, attacks on current and former government officials and their families, destruction of houses, schools and hospitals.
The world is at a loss
Western leaders – French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others decided to hold urgent meetings on the situation in Afghanistan. On August 17, an emergency videoconference of the EU Foreign Ministers will take place in Brussels, at which the situation in Afghanistan will be the main topic. On August 18, an emergency video conference of the ministers of the interior of the EU countries will take place, at which it was originally supposed to discuss the migration crisis on the border of Lithuania and Belarus, but now this issue may become secondary.
Joe Biden held a meeting with his national security team, and his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in addition to meetings and telephone conversations on Sunday, gave three television interviews in which he convinced of the validity of the US decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. He insisted that the main goal – to destroy the terrorist threat emanating from the Al-Qaeda group, the Americans had been able to fulfill before leaving Afghanistan.
Anthony Blinken said that cooperation with the Taliban government is possible if they guarantee human rights. “It is in the interests of the Taliban, if they really strive for international recognition, seek support and the lifting of sanctions, and respect basic rights. If they won’t [соблюдать]then I think Afghanistan will become a rogue state, ”he said.
The previous Taliban rule condemned Afghanistan to isolation. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – as the Taliban named their state in 1996 – was recognized by only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Taliban hid Osama bin Laden and refused to extradite him to the United States, claiming that he was their fellow Muslim brother and like-minded person. The refusal to hand him over provoked the invasion of the US troops and their allies.