Faced with difficulties in evacuating people from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country, Joe Biden, the president of the United States, cited the possibility of extending the soldiers’ stay at the site after August 31st.
“There are ongoing talks between us and the military about an extension. We hope we don’t have to extend it, but we will have discussions, I suppose, about the status of the withdrawal process,” he said on Sunday (22).
Kabul journalist shows the streets of Afghanistan’s capital after Taliban rule
The US government has evacuated nearly 30,300 people since Aug. 14, the White House reported. The ultimate goal is to remove 15,000 Americans and between 50,000 and 60,000 Afghans from the country. Western countries have already withdrawn thousands of other citizens.
The head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell has found it impossible to remove all the people by Aug. 31.
To bolster the evacuation operation, Washington ordered six major commercial airlines to transport people evacuated from Kabul at US bases in the Gulf and Europe to the United States.
While the withdrawal from Afghanistan has raised fears in other US allies, Vice President Kamala Harris pledged on Monday, during a visit to Singapore, a “lasting commitment” from her country in Asia.
Since taking power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15, the Taliban have tried to convince the population that their regime will be less brutal than the previous one between 1996 and 2001. But their promises have failed to reduce the desire of thousands of people to flee the country. .
President Biden mentioned the Kabul airport scenes: “There is no way to evacuate so many people without pain or loss” and without moving images, the US president admitted.
Entire families stand around the perimeter that separates Taliban from US troops around the airport, which is difficult to access.
Biden explained that the perimeter was expanded with the agreement of the Taliban, hours after a fundamentalist movement leader, Amir Khan Mutaqi, blamed the United States for the chaos at the airport and warned that the situation could not last long.
“There is peace and calm throughout the country, but only at Kabul airport is there chaos,” Mutaqi said. Indeed, Kabul does register a relative calm. Taliban fighters patrol the streets and watch from checkpoints.
At the airport, the situation is different. Several people died in unexplained circumstances in the vicinity of the airport, where complex evacuation operations are continuing. This Monday, an Afghan guard died in a shootout between soldiers and unidentified men. The exchange of fire took place during the civilian evacuation operation.
The death announcement was made by the German army, which published a text on a social network. In the note, it is also reported that German and American soldiers participated in “later shootings”.
No government has been installed, but discussions continue between the Taliban and Afghan figures to achieve an “inclusive” cabinet.
Fundamentalists want to impose the image of their authority, with the replacement of the three-colored flag of Afghanistan by the white flag of the movement
On a road in Kabul, young people were selling Taliban flags, which bear a phrase with the Muslim proclamation of faith and the formal name of the regime, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
“Our goal is to raise the flag of the Islamic Emirate throughout Afghanistan,” said salesman Ahmad Shakib, an economics university student.
Outside Kabul there are some hotbeds of resistance against the Taliban. Some former government soldiers gathered in the Panshir Valley, north of Kabul, known as an anti-Taliban stronghold.
Some pro-Taliban Twitter accounts said the new regime had sent hundreds of fighters into the valley after “local authorities refused to hand him over peacefully.”
The Islamists “gathered forces near the entrance to Panshir,” said Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s vice president in the previous government, who took refuge in the region.
One of the leaders of the movement in Panshir, called the National Resistance Front (FRN), is Ahmad Masud, the son of well-known anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Masud, assassinated in 2001.
The FRN is prepared for a “long-term conflict,” said spokesman Ali Maisam Nazary, if a compromise is not reached with the Taliban on decentralized government.
Another source claimed that thousands of Afghans had come to Panshir to fight the new regime or to seek refuge. “We are prepared to defend Afghanistan and we warn of a bloodbath,” Masud told Al Arabiya on Sunday.