Nations are rushing to evacuate their nationals from Afghanistan in a bid to comply with the Taliban’s August 31 deadline for foreign troops to withdraw. However, there are well-founded fears that many people will have a taste of life under the country’s new leadership.
The United States and its allies have evacuated more than 70,000 people in one of the most notable airlifts in history. Evacuees include US citizens, NATO personnel, and Afghans. The operation began on August 14, exactly one day before the Taliban made its boldest statement to date by taking over the capital, Kabul. It marked the definitive end [at least for now] to 20 years of foreign military presence in Afghanistan.
US troops in Afghanistan faced increasing danger, according to President Joe Biden. The looming humanitarian crisis for those who must endure life under the Taliban, has been highlighted by global aid agencies.
While the option to extend the deadline remained feasible, Biden refused to bring allies on board to consider the option. The deadline itself was the handwork of former President Donald J. Trump’s administration in a landmark deal with the extremist moslem group. Biden however said the Tuesday deadline remained possible. In his words, “the sooner we can finish, the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.”
US officials remain increasingly concerned of the possibility of suicide bombings at Kabul airport by ISIS. But, British foreign minister Dominic Raab maintains the deadline for evacuating people includes the last minute of the month.
In an interesting twist, Paris is saying it’ll carry on with evacuations until they become a stark impossibility. Germany is focusing instead on assisting Afghans who worked with its soldiers and aid organizations. Angela Merkel has promised to help them leave after the deadline if it’s their wish to do so.
While the West is at the forefront of evacuation campaigns, every country worth its salt would be doing its best to evacuate as many as possible. Indeed, the Taliban hasn’t come to play.
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