- August 16, 2021
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Taliban Ends America’s 20 years of effort in a whimper in Afghanistan
Taliban forces are trying to control crowds rushing to get into the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as people desperately try to get out of the country.
Military flights just resumed after being temporarily paused Monday, but large groups of people were storming some of the gates and scaling the 10- to 20-foot concrete walls to get onto the airfield.
According to CNN, the Taliban are pushing crowds back, using vehicles taken from Afghan security forces to control people, the volume of people were a “reminder of the panic felt by US troops trying to secure that area.”
“It’s startling too to see the Taliban trying to bring some degree of order to those crowds running toward the airport,” Walsh reported.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that the Department of Defense is working to evacuate Americans as well as up to 30,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants into the US.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said the US has made clear to the Taliban “in no uncertain terms” not to interfere with Afghans who are attempting to get to the Kabul airport for potential evacuation, however, those Afghans should wait until they are told it is time for their evacuation before going to the airport.
US military flights have resumed at the Kabul airport for now, a US defense official tells CNN. The flights were suspended because of crowds of Afghans on the airfield.
The crowds have been cleared but the military anticipates continuing sporadic clearing operations if crowds continue to gather.
After the Taliban rapidly gained control over Afghanistan, leaving scores of people scared, helpless and desperate to flee, the United States’ withdrawal strategy has been greatly criticized.
“Clearly, there’s no plan B. There’s clearly been no contingency, there’s clearly even no intelligence among the most sophisticated intelligence operation in the world that this could have happened so fast,” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said.
“The 20 years of American effort collapsed in a whimper,” she added.
The future of Afghanistan under the Taliban is uncertain as of today.
“We don’t know whether there’s any serious effort in Kabul today to actually construct some kind of transitional process that is a peaceful process and one that actually involves various different constituencies in Afghanistan. That’s what the Taliban says but we haven’t seen any evidence of it. It’s never been the case in the past,” she said.
Amanpour had reported out of Afghanistan when the Taliban first took over in 1996, when she made certain observations.
“They have never governed any space. They are not a government. At least they certainly they weren’t then and we don’t know what they are now,” she explains. “They have imposed their form of fundamentalism and radical Islamic Sharia on a population, not all of whom believe in that. We do not know how they are going to react to now being in charge.”
This puts the fate of many women, children and journalists at risk.
“Last time they didn’t give a hoot about what the rest of the world thought. They did exactly what they wanted, backed by enough power from Pakistan and certain other quarters of the world … certainly, women are right to be incredibly scared,” Amanpour said.
“Let us not forget that the designation of the Taliban as a terrorist organization still stands, and it’s a very big ask to think this is going to be some kind of inclusive government with rights for all,” she added.
Planes carrying more than 100 Afghan soldiers have landed at the airport in the city of Bokhtar in Tajikistan, an official from the Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN on Monday.
Tajikistan shares a border with Afghanistan.
“After receiving an SOS signal from Afghanistan’s side, in accordance with international obligations, Tajikistan gave permission to land the Afghan aircrafts at the airport in the city of Bokhtar,” a spokesman with Tajikistan’s MFA said.
The official said he didn’t know how many planes landed.
He added that all the arrived Afghan servicemen are temporarily accommodated in the city of Bokhtar.