Thousands of Afghans were trapped Thursday, August 19, at Kabul International Airport between Taliban checkpoints and a barbed wire fence put in place by the US military. They have been trying to flee Afghanistan since the radical Islamist movement took power on Sunday after a lightning military campaign that allowed it in ten days to enter the capital without a fight.
These Afghans, who still remember their previous regime, between 1996 and 2001, and their catastrophic record in terms of respect for human rights, have no confidence in the multiple assurances given in recent days by the Taliban. They have sought to present themselves in a more benevolent light, promising not to seek revenge and even saying they have pardoned former government officials.
If the Taliban let US citizens access the airport, it looks like they “ prevent Afghans who wish to leave the country from reaching the airport ”, lamented Wendy Sherman, the number two of the US State Department. Washington expects them to“They allow all US citizens, all third country nationals and all Afghans to leave if they wish, safely and without harassment.”, she added.
The United States sent 6,000 troops to secure the airport and remove some 30,000 Americans and Afghan civilians who worked for them and feared for their lives. Other Western countries have also carried out evacuations.
The first Afghans brought to safety by France arrived at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle
The first Afghans brought to safety by France arrived Wednesday at the Parisian airport of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle aboard an air force plane, which was carrying more than 200 passengers. The airlift via the United Arab Emirates continues, with the arrival scheduled for Thursday of a new flight with 120 people, again mainly Afghans.
France will be “At the asylum meeting” for threatened Afghans, assured Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune.
Wednesday, Jean-Baptiste Dulion, the boss of the RAID (Research, assistance, intervention, deterrence – the elite intervention unit of the national police), explained on RTL behind the scenes of the operation which allowed the exfiltration of French and Afghan refugees at the French embassy in Kabul. He explained that he did not have “No other choice” that of ” to negotiate “ with the Taliban to organize this operation.
The route between the embassy and the airport was “Mounted” with a member of the Taliban authority, “Someone with whom we could discuss and who had real power”, continued Mr. Dulion, who followed the operations from Bièvres (Essonne), the headquarters of the RAID. “We have taken all measures to secure our convoy, our buses, to have the best possible transport to the airport, with armored vehicles from everywhere and external buses that we have secured to embark as many Afghan nationals as possible”, he detailed.
Asylum request for Afghan judges, former employees of the French army stranded
The Union Syndicale des Magistrates (USM) has asked Emmanuel Macron to grant asylum to Afghan judges, who are particularly threatened, announced Thursday its president, Céline Parisot, on Europe 1. “Women who exercise a profession of power, for the Taliban, it is completely intolerable”, underlined Mme Parisot.
According to Europe 1, a hundred employees of the French army are still stranded in Afghanistan and fear being killed by the Taliban. “We are abandoned, we have nothing, not even a visa”, testifies one of them, a father who was a translator for four years for the French soldiers, continuing: “I hope France will help us. It’s urgent. If she doesn’t help us now, it will be too late, we will be killed by the Taliban. “The Taliban go through every house, if they find someone who worked with the French army, they kill him. They are animals, they only know how to kill, and especially women ”, adds a doctor who worked for the French army.
Taliban to be judged “on deeds” by international community
Very criticized in the United States and abroad for its management of the withdrawal of American troops after twenty years of war, considered hasty, the American President, Joe Biden, estimated, Wednesday, that a certain form of “Chaos” was inevitable anyway.
Tuesday, a spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, assured that they had learned of their first exercise of power, before being driven out in 2001 by a coalition led by the United States, and that there would be of “Many differences” in their way of administering their country. They then imposed an ultra-rigorous version of Islamic law. Women, in particular, could neither work nor study.
The Taliban seem to receive a less hostile international reception than two decades ago when only three countries (Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia) had recognized their regime. So far, China, Russia, Turkey and Iran have sent them opening signals. But Western countries – Germany, the United States, France and the United Kingdom in particular – are more reluctant and wait to judge “On acts”.
The Taliban, whose co-founder and number two, Abdul Ghani Baradar, returned to Afghanistan on Tuesday, held political consultations in Kabul on Wednesday with prominent Afghan figures. They released footage showing former Afghan President Hamid Karzai with Anas Haqqani. He is the brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, whom the Pentagon presents as the real military leader of the movement and the strong man of Taliban power. They also met with former vice-president Abdullah Abdullah.
These negotiations were welcomed by former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled Sunday for the United Arab Emirates. “I wish the success of this process”, he said in a video message posted to Facebook, claiming to be “In talks to return to Afghanistan”. But the United States considered that Mr. Ghani, who had succeeded Hamid Karzai in 2014, is not “No longer a person who matters in Afghanistan”.
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