Editorial: All eyes on Afghan

In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces.

The Taliban militants entered Kabul on Sunday and sought the unconditional surrender of the Central government. Following this, countries across the world have started the process to evacuate their nationals in Kabul. Nations are closing their embassies and prioritising on evacuation of its nationals.

At least five people were killed in Kabul airport as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the Afghan capital, witnesses told Reuters. One witness said he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle. Another witness said it was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today urged the Centre to arrange evacuation of all Indians, including 200 Sikhs who were stuck in a gurdwara in Afghanistan, and said his government was willing to extend any help needed for the same.

With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reportedly fleeing the country, the government is hoping for an interim administration. Civilians fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but eliminated women’s rights rushed to leave the country, lining up at cash machines to withdraw their life savings. Helicopters buzzed overhead, some apparently evacuating personnel at the US Embassy. Several other Western missions were also preparing to get staff out.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Qatar’s Al-Jazeera English satellite news channel that the insurgents are awaiting a peaceful transfer of Kabul city. He declined to offer specifics on any possible negotiations between his forces and the government. Countries across the world and the UN should ensure peace and democracy in Afghanistan.

 

NT Bureau