Afghanistan fell to government forces in the hands of the Taliban on Monday, acknowledging their victory after nearly 20 years of war following President Ashraf Ghani’s trip abroad.
“The Taliban have won,” the president, now in Tajikistan, admitted Sunday evening, while rebels quickly celebrated a military victory by seizing the presidential palace in Kabul.
In a video posted on social media, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Gani Bhardwar praised the success of the Islamic movement. “Now is the time to evaluate and prove that now we can serve our nation and show that we can provide security and comfort in life,” he said.
The militant entry of the militants caused a wave of panic in the capital, where thousands of residents tried to flee, especially as chaotic scenes were reported at the airport.
Washington said the U.S. flag was removed early Monday morning from the U.S. embassy in Kabul and was “brought to safety with embassy staff” waiting outside the airport. State Department and Pentagon.
“We can confirm that the safe evacuation of all embassy staff is now complete,” State Department spokesman Nate Price said in a statement. He added that the perimeter of the airport was “protected by the US military.”
“Over the next 48 hours, we will focus only on facilitating these efforts and expand our security presence to about 6,000 soldiers in the task of assuming responsibility for air traffic control,” he said.
“Tomorrow (Monday) and in the next few days, we will deport thousands of American citizens living in Afghanistan, as well as local staff of the US embassy in Kabul, their families and other Afghans, particularly vulnerable,” the statement said.
Several diplomats and foreign nationals were evacuated from Kabul on Sunday. The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet with GMT at 2:00 pm on Monday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The defeat was a total blow to the Afghan security forces, but was funded by the United States for hundreds of billions of years over 20 years. Within ten days, the extremist Islamist movement launched an offensive in May as foreign forces, especially US forces, began to withdraw, occupying almost all of Afghanistan.
Twenty years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was ousted by the US-led coalition for refusing to release him.
– Airport chaos –
As the day progressed on Sunday, panic quickly engulfed Kabul as insurgents who had already surrounded the city approached it and then entered. Shops closed, traffic jams appeared, and the public changed their uniforms for public clothing.
A large mob has formed in most banks and people are looking to take their money when there is still time.
On social media, videos of groups of Taliban militants armed with deadly weapons such as patrolling major cities, waving white flags and waving populations were shown.
Other scenes filmed at the airport include scenes of a large crowd gathering in Darshala in the hope of boarding a plane at all costs to flee the country.
Fear also ruled among the tens of thousands of people who fled to Kabul in recent weeks to escape violence in their region.
“I am afraid there will be a lot of fighting here,” said an unnamed doctor, who came from Kunduz (north) with 35 members of his family. “I’ll go home and I know it stopped there.”
When they ruled the country, between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban imposed the most severe version of Islamic law.
They promised to respect human rights, especially the rights of women, in accordance with “Islamic values” if they came to power again.
But in the newly captured areas, they have already been charged with a number of atrocities: civil murder, beheading, kidnapping of teenage girls and forcibly marrying them.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “particularly concerned about the future of women and girls, and that their hard-won rights must be protected” and called on all parties to the conflict to exercise “extreme restraint”.
– Not a sign –
“This is not Saigon,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promised on CNN, which triggered the fall of the Vietnamese capital in 1975, an even more painful memory for the United States.
But the pill is bitter for Washington, whose image is deeply damaged and indicates that 2,500 people have been killed, as well as a bill worth more than $ 2,000 billion.
U.S. President Joe Biden defended his decision to end the 20-year war, the longest in the United States. “I do not want a fourth president (…) to rule Afghanistan in the presence of a U.S. military presence. I will not shift this war to a fifth place,” he said Sunday.
His predecessor, Donald Trump, called for his resignation, calling it “one of the biggest failures in American history.”