Taliban Blocks Roads to Kabul Airport for Non-Foreigners
14:09 GMT 24.08.2021 (Updated: 14:54 GMT 24.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulTaliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.
© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
Apart from the evacuation nationals stuck in Afghanistan, NATO forces have been engaged in extracting local Afghans who used to help in the operations of the alliance’s troops and who now fear retribution from the Taliban*. The terrorist group earlier promised to let everyone willing to leave the country do so.
Taliban* forces have blocked the road leading to Kabul Airport, the terrorist group's spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, has stated. The spokesperson added that from now on, only foreign nationals will be allowed to travel to the airport – the only way out of the country not involving crossing Taliban checkpoints. He added that all evacuations carried out by Western countries have to be completed by 31 August, after which the Taliban will no longer allow Afghans to leave the country freely.
Mujahid called on Afghanis, who had flocked into the Kabul airport, its premises and even airstrip in hopes of escaping Taliban's rule, to return home. "We guarantee their security", he added. The Taliban spokesman further urged Afghans, especially those employed in the spheres of health care, education, and traffic regulation, to return to their work with the exception of women, for whom the group is planning to issue a set of rules they will have to follow in order to have jobs.
© REUTERS / US MARINESA US Marine passes out water to evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 22, 2021
A US Marine passes out water to evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 22, 2021
The Taliban spokesperson also condemned US calls for Afghans to leave the country, urging Washington to stop encouraging such behaviour. Mujahid specifically addressed Afghan interpreters who used to work for NATO and now fear Taliban retribution and who hope that the departing troops will evacuate them. The spokesman assured that the interpreters will not be harmed.
The insurgent group previously promised after seizing the country's capital, Kabul, to give all people wanting to leave Afghanistan an opportunity to do so. The capture of the capital, which apparently came as a surprise to NATO troops, which are now frantically trying to evacuate their country's nationals from the nation by the 31 August deadline. Some countries have announced an intent to negotiate a postponement of the deadline, but the Taliban has so far refused to consider such a move.
24 August 2021, 10:24 GMT
Apart from evacuating their citizens, some NATO countries, namely the US and the UK, have pledged to take along some of the Afghans who were in danger of facing Taliban retribution. However, the process of their extraction from Afghanistan did not start until several media outlets published stories about Afghans who were at risk of being killed by the Taliban before they could flee the country. They filed for special visas to immigrate to the US in return for the help they provided the troops with, but would not likely receive approval in time. Due to the late launch of the evacuation effort, NATO countries risk not being able to help every special visa applicant by the end of the 31 August deadline.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia