The Taliban have placed security in Kabul under the responsibility of one of the most dangerous groups associated with the fundamentalist Islamic movement which regained control of Afghanistan on Sunday (15), the Haqqani network.
The decision came amid chaos in the area around the city’s airport, the region’s only air exit, which has already killed at least 12 people and recorded the first Westerner with gunshot wounds on Friday. – a German civilian.
A terrorist group for the United Nations and the United States, the network is known for some of the biggest attacks in 20 years of Western presence, including the deadliest in Kabul, a car bomb explosion that killed 150 people in 2017.
The information was confirmed to the Pakistani press by the former chancellor Abdullah Abdullah, who met Thursday (19) in Kabul with leaders of the network, within the framework of negotiations for the installation of a new government.
“This is the worst possible sign,” journalist Ahmed Ali, who has been in hiding with friends since the Taliban came to power, said by email during a military campaign following the US withdrawal.
He repeats reports from recent days: Taliban forces are ransacking the homes of families of people who worked with the West or with the Afghan government during the occupation. Groups alert each other through messaging apps, but increasingly fear being monitored.
He said the situation is getting worse by the day, which contrasts with the Taliban’s hollow promise of a general and unrestricted amnesty in the country. “They want to kill us,” said the man who worked for television stations as a producer and has been an interpreter for Western journalists.
The Haqqani Network is one of the groups of “mujahedin” (holy warriors) that emerged from the struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, having received arms and resources from Washington – to the era, more concerned with destabilizing Moscow than worrying about it, the one who armed.
In 1995, he joined the Taliban, to conquer the government during the civil war, which took place the following year. Its founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, also maintained close ties with al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden, who would settle in the country.
Since 2018, with the death of Jalaluddin, his son Sirajuddin has led the group, which numbers perhaps 10,000 fighters. It is part of the Taliban command.
The United Nations and the United States have declared the group terrorist. It is essentially a political act, especially vis-à-vis the US government.
The Taliban, terrorist for the UN since 1999, has never been placed on the American list because, although it fulfills the required conditions, it would be impossible to maintain contact over the years with the sanction applied.
This dialogue led to the 2020 peace agreement, ratified by President Joe Biden with the announcement of the withdrawal in April. The United States, determined to leave, has said it believes in the Taliban’s commitments to seek a negotiated solution and behave in a civilized manner.
The group broke its first promise by scathing attack on the government of Ashraf Ghani, now in exile in the United Arab Emirates. Now, he promises moderation and has five elements to differentiate himself from the medieval regime he imposed from 1996 to 2001, when he was expelled by the United States after the reprisals of September 11.
They are: amnesty, the maintenance of human rights (especially of women), the end of the opium trade, the end of jihadism against other countries and the security of embassies and international organizations.
The crackdown on protests in recent days and the persecution of Western collaborators show signs of what could happen to us.
For now, the West is focused on the evacuation and let the boat go. China, for its part, encourages support for the Taliban and the Russian watch, noting that there is an attempt at resistance underway in the north of the country.
Chinese romance is thriving. After Chancellor Wang Yi said on Thursday that the world should talk to the Taliban, group spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Beijing state broadcaster CGTN that “China could play a very big role in rebuilding Afghanistan “.
This Friday there was the first direct incident with a foreign national in the confused evacuation of Westerners and Afghans linked to embassies in the capital. A German civilian on his way to the airport was shot dead in undisclosed conditions.
According to the German government, he is doing well and will be evacuated in one of the country’s military planes, which has decided to send two light helicopters to make mini airlifts between the airport and places of difficult access.
Most of the thousands who until Monday (16) were on the airport runway, however, will not have this chance. After the infamous episode in which at least two Afghans died while hanging on to the undercarriage of a cargo ship while taking off, the area was evacuated.
The entire airfield has been occupied by desperate people, and the Taliban have established checkpoints to deny access to Afghans without passports and visas, that is to say almost everyone.
Access to the site, located five kilometers north of the city center and connected to the US Embassy building via the aptly named Airport Road, records huge queues. Western reporters who managed to get in said it took five hours among civilians, many with babies like the one hoisted by a US soldier on the airport wall on Thursday (19).
“The vast majority of Afghans will not be able to leave the country. Those in danger have no free exit,” said Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in Geneva.
Almost 20 countries received Afghans who had been withdrawn by Westerners – Thursday (19) there were 8,000 people in total, according to NATO (US-led military alliance), but there had no discrimination as to the number of premises.
The UN also estimates that 550,000 people have already left their homes as a result of the two-week campaign that culminated with the fall of Kabul on Sunday. As the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell said: “It is a disaster”.