While the Taliban are now almost at the gates of Kabul, many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, have decided to repatriate their nationals.
The Taliban continue their relentless advance in Afghanistan. Since Friday, August 13, they have almost arrived at the gates of Kabul. Many countries, including the United States, will evacuate their nationals and diplomats in disaster.
A first contingent of US Marines to secure the evacuations has arrived at Kabul airport, one of the few cities still in the hands of government forces, and the US Embassy in Kabul has ordered its staff to destroy sensitive documents and American symbols that could be used by the Taliban “for propaganda purposes”.
After Kandahar, the country’s second city, the insurgents also seized on Friday the city of Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province, located just 50 kilometers south of Kabul, and now control nearly half of the Afghan provincial capitals, all of which fell in just eight days.
They had previously taken Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, in the south of the country, and Chaghcharan, in the center, capital of Ghor province.
Most of northern, western and southern Afghanistan are now under their control. Kabul, the country’s capital, Mazar-i-Sharif, the major city in the north, and Jalalabad (east) are the only three major cities still under government control.
Ismail Khan, 75, one of Afghanistan’s best-known warlords, surrendered to the Taliban after the fall on Thursday of Herat, the country’s third largest city, of which he had been the undisputed ruler for decades. The insurgents have promised to ensure his safety.
The Taliban launched their offensive in May, when US President Joe Biden confirmed the departure of the last foreign troops from the country, 20 years after their intervention to oust the insurgents from power over their refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden, the leader. Al-Qaeda.
This withdrawal must be completed by August 31. Joe Biden has since said he does not regret his decision, although the speed with which the Afghan army has disintegrated has surprised and disappointed the Americans, who have spent more than $ 1 trillion to train and equip it.
Many nationals evacuated
Due to the acceleration of events, Washington has decided to further reduce its diplomatic presence “in Kabul. To carry out the evacuation of diplomats, the Pentagon will deploy before the end of the weekend 3,000 troops to the airport of the capital, said Friday his spokesman, John Kirby.
The United States has made it clear that it is prepared to airlift “thousands of people a day”, while noting that Kabul faces an “imminent threat”.
London at the same time announced the redeployment of 600 soldiers to help British nationals to leave. Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated, after a crisis meeting, that his country intended to “exert pressure” through diplomatic and political channels, but ruled out the possibility of a “military solution”.
Several countries, including the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Spain, also announced Friday the reduction to the bare minimum of their presence in the country, as well as repatriation programs for their Afghan employees. Germany also announced that it would reduce its diplomatic staff “to the absolute minimum”.
Others, including Norway and Denmark, preferred to temporarily close their embassies. Switzerland, which does not have an embassy there, has announced the repatriation of some Swiss employees and around forty local employees.
These evacuations come as the rebels remain deaf to the diplomatic efforts of the United States and the international community.
A call for compromise
Three days of international meetings in Doha, Qatar, ended Thursday without significant progress. In a joint statement, the United States, Pakistan, the European Union and China said they would not recognize any government in Afghanistan “imposed by force”.
The Taliban may not be inclined to compromise at all, as the authorities offered them on Thursday in a disaster “to share power in exchange for an end to the violence,” according to a government negotiator at the Doha talks, who demanded anonymity. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has so far rejected calls for the formation of an unelected provisional government including the Taliban.
In Washington, President Biden finds himself under pressure from the opposition, as the scheduled evacuation of diplomatic personnel brings back painful memories of the fall of Saigon, Vietnam, in 1975. “Afghanistan is heading for a huge disaster. , predictable and which could have been avoided, “lambasted the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell on Thursday.