Thousands evacuated

Afghanistan Kabul Airport 1 450x250 1
People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021.

Around 2,200 diplomats and foreign officials have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban seized Kabul on August 15

A Western security official has said that they “are continuing at a very fast momentum, logistics show no glitches as of now, and we have been able to remove a little over 2,200 diplomatic staff, foreign security staff, and Afghans who worked for embassies.”

It is unclear when civilian flights will resume, flights that would evacuate women under threat of the Taliban’s restrictions against women. Women in the region have made great strides in gaining back their rights since the Taliban’s initial fall in 2001, and now that work has been put into jeopardy by the regime’s new climb to power

Have things changed?

Taliban takeover
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021.

One of the Taliban’s co-founders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has returned to Afghanistan for the first time in ten years. Does his return mark a new era for the Taliban?

The Taliban’s leading spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, went on record saying that they “don’t want any external enemies.” Women will “be very active in society but within the framework of Islam.” It remains unclear what tangible steps the Taliban has taken to ensure a more progressive rule. 

Afghanis are doubtful

Afghanis themselves doubt that anything has changed. The Taliban ordered many women to leave their jobs, and Taliban workers painted over ads depicting women after the Taliban advanced into Kabul

Scarred by the rebels’ previous violent rule, Afghanis believe that the Taliban’s initial behavior speaks louder than their conciliatory words. It remains doubtful that the Taliban will disprove the populace’s fears. 

Hope in the Vice President?

President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani
President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan president, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country as the Taliban seized Kabul. First Vice President Amrullah Saleh claimed the position of “legitimate caretaker president” in the face of the rebels’ power grab. 

Saleh criticized NATO and the US, whose pulling out from Afghanistan triggered the Taliban’s rise to power. He said that in the wake of the chaos that has overtaken the country, the Afghani people have not “lost spirit & see enormous opportunities ahead.”