By Jacques Follorou

Posted today at 5:36 am, updated at 6:07 am

Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban on Sunday August 15, almost twenty years after they were driven out by the Americans who wanted to punish them for harboring Al-Qaida. At the end of the day, the flag of the Islamists had not yet flown on the presidential palace, opposite the imposing former headquarters of the CIA, but several insurgent commanders were already posing, seated in the chair of the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, who fled abroad in the morning leaving only a message on Facebook: “The Taliban won. “ In the evening, spokesman for the Taliban political bureau, based in Doha, Qatar, Mohammad Naeem, declared that “The war was over”.

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A few hours earlier, while the Taliban took control of the capital on the ground, helicopters crisscrossed the sky to urgently evacuate Western embassies and transfer their personnel to Kabul airport. Their Russian, Pakistani or Chinese colleagues, showing less fear, remained cloistered in their chanceries. The black smoke seen here and there was not the sign of combat, but that of the tons of documents and archives that the ministries, the security services or the Western diplomats wanted to take away from the new masters of Afghanistan.

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The Taliban greeted by crowds in western Kabul, August 15, 2021.

The few bursts of automatic weapons heard in the city added to a panic that was not helped by the monster traffic jams. The image of Saigon, in Vietnam, evacuated in disaster in 1975, surfaced in many minds. But Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal on Sunday reported an agreement being negotiated in Doha, Qatar, on a “Peaceful transfer of power”.

Extreme weakness of the state and the security forces

The capital, with 6 million inhabitants, will have been preserved from the violent fighting which affected other cities. Against all expectations, she went with an ease that lifts the veil on the nature of a regime held at arm’s length, for twenty years, by Washington. It was enough for the American forces to withdraw from the country, between May and July, for it to collapse like a ripe fruit. The extreme weakness of the State and of the security forces appeared glaring and far removed from official American, Afghan or NATO speeches.

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Now, the Afghan population and the international community are wondering about the future of a country led by a movement that describes itself above all as religious even if, since its lightning defeat in 2001, it has also acquired a formidable political culture. . The insurgents have multiplied reassuring words and wanted to show a realistic face. If abuses were reported from the field, the direction of the movement wanted to limit the slippage. After having conquered the towns, the first insurgent lines withdrew in favor of groups tasked with contacting government and municipal employees to ask them to return to work.

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