The night before the fall of Kabul was very short. Helicopters that skimmed the sky every two or three minutes left little room for a semblance of nocturnal calm. The Taliban were already at the gates of Kabul, a few dozen kilometers away. At around midnight local time, after the news of the fall of Jalalabad (east) to the Taliban – and this without any fight – the slim hopes that government forces might have a chance to face evaporated.

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All night long from Saturday August 14 to Sunday August 15, on the Clubhouse application, a network of discussions and audio debates, Afghan women explained their fears of a return to power by the Islamist insurgents. “We are not dead, we are still breathing”, “What fate awaits our daughters? “, “We need help, please! “ So many distress messages from the Afghan capital … “I’m waiting for a miracle to happen. I want someone to come wake me up and tell me it was just a nightmare. Wake up ! It’s finish !, tweeted a young Afghan journalist. Like many others of her generation, she grew up and became a journalist thanks to the fall of the Taliban in 2001, after a military intervention led by the United States. Now she is risking her life.

At 2 a.m., the explanations of the first Afghan vice-president, Amrullah Saleh, assuring, against all evidence, that the Taliban had not taken the Pul-e-Sharki prison (the largest detention center in the country) n ‘have hardly helped. In recent days, the more reassuring officials of President Ashraf Ghani’s government, the less Afghans felt in good hands, as their assurances had turned out to be false. News of the hasty evacuation of US Embassy workers – in less than 36 hours – added to the general panic: the Taliban were about to enter Kabul and the situation could deteriorate. quickly. “The Americans got it all wrong”, many Afghans said to each other.

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Endless lines

Kabul woke up with a hangover feeling. As early as 6 a.m., large crowds were waiting in front of the banks, seeking in vain to withdraw all their assets. Distributors have little reserve and also reject customer requests. On the way to Kabul airport, a long line of cars waits to pass the many security checkpoints.

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