An Air India flight AI244 carrying 129 passengers from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul landed in Delhi on Sunday. Among them was a woman who expressed despair over the state of affairs in Afghanistan and broke down while speaking to the media at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The woman said, “I cannot believe the world abandoned Afghanistan. Our friends are going to get killed. Taliban are going to kill us. Our women are not going to have any more rights.” The passengers of the Air India flight also included some common citizens, several Afghan politicians, diplomats and security officials posted in the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
#WATCH | "I can't believe the world abandoned #Afghanistan. Our friends are going to get killed. They (Taliban) are going to kill us. Our women are not going to have any more rights," says a woman who arrived in Delhi from Kabul pic.twitter.com/4mLiKFHApG— ANI (@ANI) August 15, 2021
“This is murder by incompetence,” said US Air Force veteran Sam Lerman, struggling Sunday from his home in Woodbridge, Virginia, to find a way out for an Afghan contractor who had guarded Americans and other NATO forces at Afghanistan's Bagram air base for a decade.
Massouma Tajik, a 22-year-old data analyst, was among hundreds of Afghans waiting anxiously in the Kabul airport to board an evacuation flight.
“I see people crying, they are not sure whether their flight will happen or not. Neither am I,” she said by phone, with panic in her voice.
Educated Afghan women have some of the most to lose under the fundamentalist Taliban, whose past government, overthrown by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, sought to largely confine women to the home.
Taliban forces moved early Sunday into a capital beset by fear and declared they were awaiting a peaceful surrender.
Some big political names that have landed in India since Friday include Wahidullah Kaleemzai, MP from Wardak; Abdul Aziz Hakimi, MP from Parwan; MP Abdul Qadir Zazai; Senator Malem Lala Gul; Jamil Karzai, former MP and second cousin to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai; Baghlan MP Shukria Esakhail; Mohamamd Khan, Senator Engineer; Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, former finance minister; Mohammad Sharif Sharifi, brother of former Vice-President Younus Qanooni; MP Mariam Solaimankhail; Qais Mowafaq, Senior Advisor to Afghanistan’s Upper House.
The situation in Afghanistan worsened further later on Sunday night and with Ashraf Ghani stepping down as president of the country, the Taliban has taken full control of the war-torn country as well as the presidential palace. As per reports, President Ashraf Ghani along with National Security Adviser Hamdullah Muhib and head of the administrative office of President Fazel Mahmood Fazli left Afghanistan for Tajikistan.
Earlier in the day, the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul, and an official with the militant group said it would soon announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace a return rich in symbolism to the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by US-led forces after the 9/11 attacks.
Reacting to the grave situation of Afghanistan, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres briefed the media and said, “Deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and urge Taliban and others to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and ensure humanitarian needs can be met. UN remains determined to contribute to a peaceful settlement and promote human rights of all Afghans.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on leaving the presidential palace
Soon after leaving the country, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took to social media to make a statement. His Facebook post, said that from now on, the Taliban will be responsible for the “honour, wealth and preservation” of Afghanistan’s people. Ghani said he was faced with a “hard choice” between the “armed Taliban” or “leaving the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting the past 20 years”.
He added that the terrorist group had won a “trial of sword and guns”, but could not win the hearts of the Afghan people. “If left unchecked, countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be devastated, resulting in a major humanitarian catastrophe in the six-million-strong city,” he said.
With inputs from agencies