US says Taliban will release commercial flights after withdrawal – 25/08/2021 – world

The Taliban will allow Afghans who consider themselves at risk and Westerners who missed the August 31 deadline to leave the Asian country to do so later via commercial flights.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he believed in the promise at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday. He did not specify who would have given the guarantee of the Islamic fundamentalist group that took over power on the 15th.

Before him, Germany was working with similar information. In Doha, Ambassador Markus Potzel said he had heard assurances to this effect from Sher Mohammad Stanekzai, head of the Taliban office in the emirate.

The crux is that today the group’s delegation is far from the reality on the ground in Kabul and other cities, the Taliban’s pledges to moderate attitudes since the takeover of the capital have not been met. exactly required.

There are numerous reports of arbitrary violence, arrests and even summary executions.

In a grim reminder of their time in power, from victory in the Civil War in 1996 to the US overthrow in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the group urged women to refrain from leaving their homes until that their soldiers are “trained to respect them”.

The secretary said the United States would support those who needed help leaving later, something rather vague. Commercial flights ceased with the arrival of the Taliban in the city.

Blinken said 88,000 civilians had been evacuated from Afghanistan since the night of August 14, the day before Kabul’s looming fall, mostly by US military flights.

Other countries are also doing the same, such as Germany, France, India, Japan and Russia. Hamid Karzai International Airport, named after the former president whom the Taliban considered a Western puppet and who is now at the negotiating tables with them, has become the focal point of a serious humanitarian crisis.

US President Joe Biden, after threats from the Taliban and asserting the risk of attacks from the Islamic State, maintained the withdrawal limit using the roughly 6,000 troops still in the capital – even though they have already started to also leave the country.

According to the secretary, there are approximately 1,500 Americans who have not yet requested to be evacuated, out of the 6,000 living permanently in Afghanistan, including diplomatic staff, NGO workers, contractors, and so on.

The numbers are difficult to assess. Earlier, British Chancellor Dominic Raab said it was impossible to count how many of its citizens would still need help.

The August 31 deadline was announced by Biden after he said in April that US forces would honor the deal made by their predecessor Donald Trump and leave the country. By mutual agreement, it would be in May, but initially the president wanted a symbolic September 11.

Perhaps alerted to the bad marketing idea, he moved on to August 31st. This week the British, Germans and French pressured him to postpone the operation, but the Taliban were adamant. In addition, the White House presented suspected threats of attacks by an Afghan branch of the Islamic State group.

“I gave up going there. The Taliban have closed access to the airport and only Westerners pass through it,” said Ahmed Ali, who has been in hiding with his family near Kabul since the day the city fell. , in a message before the Western Announcement. .

It does not detail, but involves being with loved ones. The TV producer couldn’t convince anyone to sponsor his departure from the country – having worked with Westerners, he is seen as an easy target in Kabul for the Taliban.

Ali did not even try to get to the airport, fearing retaliation and confusion. At least 21 people in the area have died, counting symbols of Western neglect, young people who fell from the undercarriage of a freighter while taking off.

Images now show far fewer people around the airport, suggesting the effectiveness of the blockade put in place by a terrorist group tasked with keeping the city safe. The situation at the land borders is uncertain: the main one, in Pakistan, records controlled departures of civilians from places like Chamam.

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