A day after the attack that killed more than 100 people at Kabul airport, most of the countries participating in the withdrawal ended their operations. Despair takes hold of those who remain.
“Canada has just warned that whoever is there is alone,” said an Afghan in a message to a network of activists trying to evacuate civilians from Bahrain, which was passed on to Folha.
Not just Canada. The United Kingdom, the second most active country in the operation after the United States, has informed that the withdrawal will end on Friday (27), five days before the deadline announced by US President Joe Biden.
Other nations like Germany, New Zealand, France, Sweden and Spain have already flown their last planes.
Flights resumed in the early hours of Friday, hours after IS-K (Islamic State Khorasan), the Afghan arm of the notorious rival terrorist group the Taliban, detonated two bombs in the crowd trying to reach the airport. At least 108 people died, including 13 American soldiers.
They were trying to flee from other extremists, the Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan on the last 15, 20 years after being toppled by the United States for protecting the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks.
Before the attacks, 12,500 people had been evacuated from the Afghan capital, bringing to about 105,000 the number of evacuees since the Taliban reached the gates of the city of 4.45 million inhabitants on the night of the 14th.
In the end, probably only the Americans, who have already started to withdraw some of the 6,000 soldiers sent for evacuation, will have to operate flights until next Tuesday. The State Department estimates that around 1,000 citizens of the country should stay in Afghanistan, mostly for family reasons.
IS-K’s entry into the security equation of Kabul, a city watched by a terrorist network linked to the Taliban, the Haqqani, shows that the quagmire left by Western forces tends to be drenched in blood.
“Please call at the airport, help us. The terrorists will come here to us,” another Afghan said in a text message. If this was a standard message from those who feared Taliban raids for working with Westerners, now the drama is exacerbated. The activists cannot do anything.
The night from Thursday to Friday was tense. Another message indicates that at least six explosions were heard in neighborhoods of the capital, which could not be measured. Many remain locked in their homes, only going out for essential purchases in an economy experiencing skyrocketing inflation, and women who venture out there often hide under burqas.
Traditional Pashtun, ethnic clothing of the Taliban became a symbol of their barbaric government from 1996 to 2001, when wearing was compulsory and women, considered inferior, did not have regular access to public education. or health.
Available reports show that there is still an influx of people bypassing Taliban checkpoints and venturing to the gates of the airport. But most don’t even have a passport, which costs around US $ 90 (R $ 475) in the capital – a prohibitive amount, even if there was a government issuing the document.
It remains to be seen whether the violence introduced with ISIS will help the Taliban to consolidate their position or will they challenge it. The rival group never had the strength or intention to seize power, but it could destabilize Islamic fundamentalists early in their rule.
There are signs, however, that the Taliban could count on outside help. The Turkish government accepted the group’s invitation to talk about the administration of the airport after the American departure.
Initially, when Biden announced the pullout in April, Ankara was prepared to keep troops there. As a member of NATO (Western Military Alliance), however, the country saw itself as a target and this week decided to withdraw its remaining forces.
A possible deal with the Taliban might not involve armed military personnel, although Turkey is not seen as a Western player in the country. There are many ethnic ties to the country’s Turkmen communities, such as the Uzbeks, who are also linked to Iran through their common language.
China, which since before the Taliban came to power had supported the group in exchange for ending its ties with terrorists operating in its Muslim areas, said on Friday that only international aid would keep the country in order. .
For Beijing, stability is essential on its southwest border, in addition to the possible business opportunities that may arise: Afghanistan is estimated to have a large amount of rare earths, essential elements for the manufacture of chips and other vital components. for the modern world.
In Russia, the Kremlin followed a similar line, condemning the double bombing, but more in line with its own security concerns. The country of Vladimir Putin does not want to see a radical infiltration of its allies from Central Asia, who serve as a strategic buffer on its border.
To this end, the Russians have announced that they will help strengthen the armed forces of countries like Tajikistan, their main vassal in the region, and Uzbekistan. Small arms and helicopters, equipment adapted to deal with insurgencies, are part of a set of negotiations.
This new regional arms race has even seen Super Tucano light attack aircraft sold in Turkmenistan. The model was being operated by Afghanistan against the Taliban, and the pilots took most of the fleet to Uzbekistan when the country’s downfall became irreversible.
Finally, in the most disconcerting political turnaround, Biden will have to respond publicly to the attacks and has already promised to “hunt” the terrorists.
To do this effectively, in theory it will need the cooperation of the Taliban. How are you going to explain this to your audience after the longest American war is another story.