Afghanistan is again under the control of the Taliban, a fundamentalist group that ruled the nation for five years before U.S.-led forces ousted them in 2001. Refugees fleeing the group’s ultraconservative brand of Islam have swelled the population of Kabul, and worries are spreading that the Taliban’s return might encourage Islamist movements elsewhere in Central Asia more than two decades after Osama bin Laden first sought refuge under their protection.
What is happening in Kabul, Afghanistan?
Taliban forces entered the capital of Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani left the country for the United Arab Emirates, effectively ending a 20-year effort by the U.S. and other Western nations to remold Afghanistan as a modern democracy. They were buoyed in part by an agreement with the Trump administration in February last year for U.S. forces to leave the country, with President Biden subsequently setting Aug. 31 as the exit date. With Afghan government forces losing air cover and plagued by desertions, the Taliban quickly expanded their footprint in recent weeks, with the last remaining cities, including Kabul, falling under their control by mid-August.
Anger and fear intensifies as US leaves Kabul
Their arrival in Kabul coincided with scenes of panic in some quarters, with Afghans who worked with Western armed forces or agencies rushing to Hamid Karzai International Airport seeking a way out of the country to escape reprisals. Western embassies moved their staff to the airport, which is under U.S. military control, to help evacuate personnel. In chaotic scenes there, crowds of Afghans ran alongside military transport planes as they prepared for takeoff, with some people trying to cling to the sides of the aircraft. Afghans and Westerners stranded in Kabul have been trickling into the airport for evacuation, but entry remained difficult, with Taliban fighers manning checkpoints and no clear system to bring people in.
On Wednesday, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Taliban, traveled to Kabul for a meeting with former President Hamid Karzai, who ruled until 2014, and the fallen republic’s chief peace negotiator, Abdullah Abdullah.
Read full article about what is happening in Afghanistan at The Wall Street Journal
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