WORLD NEWS – The Taliban banned Afghans from Kabul airport on Tuesday. The move jeopardises attempts by the United States and other countries, including Spain, to remove their local collaborators and other vulnerable citizens from Afghanistan.
At a press conference, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed they can no longer guarantee their safety. This is due to the large number of people crowding there. And consequently, has asked them to return to their homes.
“No Afghan is allowed to go to the airport. (…) The crowd must return to their homes,” said the Taliban spokesman according to local news reports and social media. From now on, only foreigners will be able to access the airfield. He continued, “we have not agreed on any extension and all evacuations of foreigners must end on August 31”.
Since the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, thousands of Afghans flocked to the airport in the hope of accessing an evacuation flight before the United States concludes its withdrawal. Many of them have a seat on these planes because they have worked for Western embassies or armies for the past two decades. However, many others come with no hope, and often without a passport.
Women allowed to work
Mujahid called on the United States not to take away the Afghan professionals. “Do not encourage our engineers, our doctors, we need them,” he claimed. The Taliban are trying to get officials back to work to prevent discontent over the lack of services from growing. They also try to convince technocrats to collaborate with the “new Islamic system.”
They now assure they want to include women. “We want them to work, but in a safe environment,” Mujahid responded to an Afghan journalist. According to some information, they are preparing a framework for this. But there are no indications as to whether their model will be segregation as it was in force in Saudi Arabia until recently. Or, as in Iran, to respect the hijab and to cover head and body shapes.
Healthcare and education
The country they have conquered is very different from the one they ruled after the civil war. For one thing, the population has nearly doubled and is approaching 40 million. Also, despite dissatisfaction over corruption and unfulfilled promises from previous governments, Afghans have, to some extent, enjoyed the benefits brought after the intervention of the United States.
Access to healthcare and education has expanded. Although progress is not evenly spread across the country, Afghans now live 10 years longer on average than in 2001 and there are many more children in school (8.2 million), according to data collected by the World Bank. Furthermore, the penetration of mobile phones and the internet has irreversibly connected them to the outside world. The Taliban themselves, who banned television during their dictatorship, are now turning to social media to get their message across.
US set to withdraw within days
With America set to withdraw troops within the next few days before the August 31 deadline, the UK government has said they will only remain a further 24-36 hours. Spain has offered itself as a hub to take in Afghans who have worked with western powers.
The eyes and hearts of the world look on helplessly as the situation unfolds daily.