Two consecutive bombings against government targets in Kabul have spread terror among Afghan residents and government officials, who fear the arrival of the Taliban national offensive in the Afghan capital.
“We are terrified,” Foreign Ministry adviser Mohammed, 43, said by email, who asked not to release his full name. “We know what will happen if they get here, see Spin Boldak,” he said.
He evokes the massacre of 40 people in the border town of Pakistan, denounced by the American and British governments as a war crime: the victims were accused of collaborating with the Western forces in retreat and executed.
Since it’s no secret that the Taliban view President Ashraf Ghani’s entire administration as a puppet of the United States, Mohammed’s fear is understandable. He believes that the considerations that the Taliban accepted government officials to join the 1996 seizure of power are unreasonable.
“They are now something else, much fiercer, linked to Islamic State and other groups,” he said, echoing what Ghani himself said in a speech on Monday. in which the governor also blamed the United States for the crisis.
The current crisis stems from the departure of the forces of the United States and its Western allies from the country, announced in April and which ends on the 31st.
The deal was negotiated with the Taliban, who relatively moderated their attacks during the peace process last year, but returned to the offensive as soon as the United States missed the original deadline agreed in May. .
Over the weekend, the Taliban launched the biggest offensive in years, with coordinated attacks on three provincial capitals. In Lashkar Gah (southwest), residents started to flee the city at the request of the army.
On Tuesday evening, a car bomb exploded in the ultra-protected area where Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi lives. He was not hit, but eight people died in the attack and within four hours of the shooting that followed, in an action claimed by the Taliban.
Three other people were injured on Wednesday (4), when a bomb exploded near the National Security Directorate, the country’s main intelligence agency. The Taliban have yet to claim ownership, but their involvement is not in doubt.
The last major attack in the city came in May, when 55 children died in the attack on a school, but far from areas most protected by security forces.
Thus, there is little hope that everyone will sit down around the table to organize a concerted return of the group to power that it held until its expulsion by the bombs by the American invasion of 2001, due to the support that the Taliban gave to al-Qaeda during the Osama bin Laden network carried out the attacks of September 11 of that year.
Salem has worked in Afghan diplomacy for a decade, in Kabul and on missions abroad. Previously, he was a teacher of English and Spanish, and was appointed for the post by the group of former Chancellor Abdullah Abdullah, a powerful figure in Afghan politics.
Like Abdullah, Salem is linked to the Tajik ethnicity of northern Afghanistan, although he also has Pashtun blood, the Taliban group, on his mother’s side.
Married, father of two, he says if the Taliban return to Kabul, he doesn’t know what to do. “The special US visa is for those who worked for them, which I wasn’t,” he said of the new rules aimed at helping thousands of Afghans who served Western forces in as interpreters and assistants.
Under pressure and with the growing shadow of Spin Boldak, Joe Biden’s government announced that it would facilitate their reception as refugees. The point is that the process can take more than a year and anyone who wants to emigrate will have to do it with their own resources, which complicates the situation a lot.
Still, Salem has some confidence in Ghani’s promise that Kabul will not fall and that in six months the situation will stabilize. On Tuesday evening, he was among residents who took to the streets of Kabul to protest the Taliban, shortly after the attack on the Defense Ministry compound.
“I don’t know what it would be like if there were Taliban in town, of course,” he admits. During the Taliban era, he taught in private, as language teaching had been practically banned in schools – which did not accept women, one of the grotesque aspects of reading practiced by the Islamic law group. .