Grace Cloughton & Lauren McGaun
The speed at which the Taliban advance has swept across Afghanistan has worried and captivated the world’s attention over the past few days, leading many to question how they have been able to reclaim territory with such ease, with many citing a significant failure of western forces. Grace Cloughton and Lauren McGaun report on the escalating conflict.
The UK and the US launched a large-scale rescue mission
While the former Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has vowed to remain in Kabul, it has now been announced that the current president, Ashraf Ghani has left the country, with some reports stating he is bound for Tajikistan. In a Facebook post addressed to his people, the decision to leave was made to ‘avoid bloodshed’. Negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan Government are said to be ongoing. It now seems he will surrender to a peaceful transition of power, either stepping down as president, or moving towards a figurehead position in an attempt by the Taliban to create a facade of respectability to the outside world. This news comes after reports of their seizure of the presidential palace.
Today, the UK and the US launched a large-scale rescue mission, to evacuate their citizens still living in the country’s capital. Most recently, the German foreign minister announced military aircrafts will be heading towards Kabul to evacuate German and Afghan support staff, while a small team plans to stay to aid further evacuations.
An update on the situation in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/26BtPrlic4— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 15, 2021
Sturgeon has committed to providing support to those leaving the country
Eyewitness reports described scenes at Kabul airport as ‘chaos’ as many Afghans scrambled to leave the country and find refuge elsewhere. Many civilians have fled to bordering Iran which has set up temporary refugee camps along its border provinces. All commercial flights have now been suspended, allowing only military aircraft to operate.
As the refugee crisis escalates, Nicola Sturgeon has committed to providing support to those leaving the country. “I hope the UK government offers as much refuge for vulnerable Afghans as possible,” the First Minister has said.
The First Minister’s open support for Afghan refugees stands in contrast to the Home Secretary Priti Patel’s response, who is yet to offer outright asylum for those fleeing.
Meanwhile, Parliament has been recalled for one day on Wednesday to discuss the situation in the region, whilst some insist this has come too late.
Many now worry for the safety of the remaining Afghan citizens, particularly the threats to young women’s education and human rights abuses, during the supposed peaceful transition of power. The Afghan Education Minister Rangina Hamindi has stated that she will continue to work and ‘will not give up the fight for women’s education’. The transition of power now threatens her position as a government minister. Her statement adds to the trepidation felt worldwide for Afghan girls.
“If we survive this, of course, I will do everything and anything in my power to continue fighting.”
“I’m in shock and disbelief… I did not expect this from the president who I trusted fully.”— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) August 15, 2021
Afghanistan’s Education Minister responds live to reports president Ghani has left the country. pic.twitter.com/0Bxfx1oaxj
Questions are now being raised about the effect this will have on the Afghan refugees and the implications of mass migration in its neighbouring countries.
Fear increases around the hardcore conservative imposition of Sharia Law
Blame for the escalating situation has been pointed in many directions, but the vast majority are critical of NATO’s failed approach in the region, especially that of US President Joe Biden. Many believe that their failed exit strategy has placed thousands of innocent Afghan civilians at risk, and meant that British and US troop involvement in the country was all in vain.
As the capital has fallen to the Taliban, fear increases around the hardcore conservative imposition of Sharia Law and the worldwide implications of Taliban rule.
Grace Cloughton and Lauren McGaun
In-article video 1 courtesy of @BorisJohnson via twitter.com. No changes were made to this video.
In-article video 2 courtesy of @newschambers via twitter.com. No changes were made to this video.
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