Seven Afghan civilians killed at Kabul airport amid evacuation chaos
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Seven Afghan civilians were killed around Kabul International Airport as Western forces struggled to evacuate the locals, a week after the Taliban took control.
The deaths came as criticism of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan intensified. Tony Blair, who as British Prime Minister ordered British forces to enter the country 20 years ago, has called President Joe Biden’s justification for the withdrawal “foolish.”
Blair said the pullout was “tragic” and “unnecessary” in his first public remarks since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. He said in a statement that the US decision to abandon Afghanistan had been taken “with all jihadist groups around the world”, adding that the UK had a “moral obligation” to help evacuate and donate refuge for Afghans.
He described the US exit deal with the Taliban signed under former US President Donald Trump as “full of concessions” and motivated “not by grand strategy but by politics.”
Blair’s sentencing followed frantic scenes in Kabul, with Taliban fighters preventing desperate Afghans and foreign personnel from reaching Kabul airport.
Thousands of Afghans desperate to leave the country have gathered around Kabul airport, but are unable to enter the area controlled by US forces. The Taliban, who control the entry points on the civilian side of the airport, set up checkpoints leading to the transport hub and are said to have fired into the air and used batons in an attempt to manage the crowds.
A person briefed on the evacuation process said it was nearly impossible for people to enter the airport unless they had a diplomatic escort provided by Qatar, which maintains relations with the United States and the United States. Taliban. Qatar has transported thousands of people to the airport and resumed operations over the weekend after suspending them on Friday due to security concerns.
Key Taliban leaders, including co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrived in Kabul over the weekend with the aim of forming a new administration.
The speed of the Taliban offensive and the shocking surrender of Kabul exposed foreigners and Afghans associated with Western powers to retaliatory attacks from the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
As the United States issued a warning on Saturday telling its citizens not to go to the airport unless instructed otherwise, officials have warned of the growing risk of terrorist attacks by the terrorist group’s Afghan affiliate. Isis, who launched a rocket attack on the presidential palace in Kabul last month.
In the week following the Taliban seizure of power, Afghans who were part of Ashraf Ghani’s government and security forces, activists and journalists said they were threatened by Taliban fighters, who goes door to door looking for collaborators.
The Taliban recaptured Kabul a week ago after a blitz across the country, regaining control for the first time since being ousted by the 2001 US invasion that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During her tenure, the Islamist group imposed a brutal theocracy, depriving women of their rights and enforcing a form of medieval justice with public executions. It has also enabled extremist Islamist groups to flourish in the country.
Since Ghani fled the country, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah have pushed for an inclusive government that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and to potentially take over roles in the new administration.
Karzai and Abdullah met with senior Taliban officials, including those from the Haqqani Network, a Taliban affiliate with close ties to Pakistani intelligence services, in a bid to strike a power-sharing deal.
Ahmad Wali Massoud, the brother of an Afghan warlord killed in the anti-Taliban stronghold in the Panjshir Valley, has warned of a broad civil uprising if the militants do not agree to a deal. But in the wake of the Taliban’s rapid offensive across the country, analysts say political opponents have little leverage to force concessions and may struggle to mobilize a war-weary population.
Additional reporting by Andrew England and Helen Warrell in London
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