In just ten days, the Taliban seized control of the majority of the country and reached the gates of the now completely encircled capital, Kabul.
The Taliban came close to seizing full power in Afghanistan on Sunday, capturing only Kabul as an isolated and surrounding capital after an aggressively rapid military campaign.
On Sunday, rebels captured the city of Jalalabad (east) unopposed, just hours after capturing the fourth largest Afghan city and the country’s main urban center, Masar-e-Sharif, in the north.
“We woke up with white Taliban flags all over the city this morning. They are in town. They entered without a fight,” said Ahmed Wali, a resident of Jalalabad.
In just ten days, the Taliban, who began their offensive in May at the start of the final withdrawal of US and foreign forces, controlled the majority of the country and reached the gates of Kabul, now completely encircled.
“A committee will be formed soon” for the talks.
A few small towns are still under government control. But they are scattered and disconnected from capital, and of no great strategic value.
The funding went to the Afghan security forces, hundreds of billions of US dollars over 20 years, and to President Ashraf Ghani’s government.
On Saturday, the head of state said that the removal of the “security and security forces” was the “first priority”. His message, however, was not openly heard.
He sees himself as having no choice but to risk surrendering, resigning, or continuing the struggle to save Kabul, responsible for a bloodbath.
However, he added on Saturday that “consultation” was underway to find a “political solution” that would guarantee peace and stability. In the evening, the Presidential Palace noted that “soon a committee will be set up by the government and ready for talks.”
U.S. President Joe Biden has increased his military presence at Kabul airport to 5,000 troops to evacuate U.S. ambassadors and Afghan civilians in the face of the fall of the Afghan army.
The Pentagon estimates that about 30,000 people will be evacuated. As on the previous day, U.S. helicopters continued their relentless rotation between the airport and the US embassy on Sunday, a vast complex located in the ultra-reinforced “green zone” in the center of the capital.
Threat of a “quick and strong” response to the attack
The U.S. embassy has ordered its staff to destroy important US documents and symbols that the Taliban may use for “propaganda purposes.”
London at the same time announced that it was re-employing 600 soldiers to help the British leave. Many Western countries will reduce their presence to a strict minimum, or temporarily close their embassies.
The U.S. president has threatened the Taliban with a “quick and strong” response in the event of an attack that endangers U.S. citizens during the evacuation operation.
But he defended his decision to end the 20-year war that began after the September 11, 2001 attacks, overthrowing the Taliban for refusing to provide al-Qaeda leader Osama. Bin Laden
“There is no difference between a one-year or five-year US military presence when the Afghan military does not want to defend its own country,” he said. “I am the fourth president to lead a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, two Republicans, two Democrats,” he concluded. “I will not give this war a fifth.”
Fear and misunderstanding
In Taimani district, in the center of the capital, shops were open as usual on Sunday. But all the conversations were about the Taliban advancing, fear and misunderstanding read on people’s faces.
“We appreciate the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan, but we hope their visit will lead to peace, not bloodshed. I remember the atrocities committed by the Taliban when I was a child, when I was very young,” he said. Said Tariq Nezami, a 30-year-old businessman. “I hope their return will lead to peace, and that’s what I want,” he stressed. “You see, a lot of Afghans are leaving Kabul every day, which means they have bad memories of the Taliban and they are fleeing from them.”
Most banks have seen a huge loss, with people looking to withdraw their money when there is still time.
Many Afghans, especially in the capital, especially women, have become accustomed to the freedom they have enjoyed over the past 20 years and fear the Taliban will return to power.
When they ruled the country, between 1996 and 2001, they imposed the strictest version of Islamic law. Girls were forbidden to go out, work, and go to school without a baby boy. Women convicted of crimes such as prostitution were whipped and stoned.
Almost all forms of entertainment are prohibited. Music was banned, cinemas were closed, and televisions were hung on lampposts. The hands of thieves were cut off, murderers were hanged in public places, and homosexuals were killed.
The Taliban, who are careful to show a more moderate image today, have promised to respect human rights, especially the rights of women, in line with “Islamic values” if they return to power.
But in the newly captured areas, they have already been charged with a number of atrocities: civil murder, beheading, and forcing teenage girls into marriage.
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