Has ISIS tried to breakup the Taliban and Western nation’s efforts at communication?
U.S. military and chartered aircraft have evacuated 101,300 people from Kabul, and almost 96,000 of those were airlifted out in just the last 12 days.
However, the number of U.S. military aircraft taking off had dropped significantly as of Thursday: 17 Wednesday compared to 42 the day before. The number of people getting off the ground is also falling each day: 13,400 on Wednesday compared to 19,600 the day before.
On Wednesday, the Taliban directed that no more Afghans could leave the country, and a security scare that night at Hamid Karzai International Airport led the State Department to send a security alert that “U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”
The sheer number getting rescued has created a secondary challenge: At staging bases throughout the Middle East, such as Al Udeid in Qatar, thousands of evacuees must wait in three-digit temperatures to be processed.
The military is planning to be completely gone from Kabul airport as of Aug. 31. To get all the weapons, helicopters, vehicles, and approximately 5,000 U.S. troops out safely by that date, the last few days of the operation will have to focus on retrograde, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Wednesday….
Hundreds of Afghans desperate to flee the Taliban continued to crowd Kabul’s airport Friday, even after one of the deadliest bombings in the country’s history, as the death toll from the previous day’s blast neared 200 with hundreds more wounded, keeping the city’s hospitals grimly busy all day….
American and Taliban officials have been consulting for days about security around the airport, and at times cooperating to help groups gain entrance. But the bombing brought changes in the Taliban’s methods, in particular, on Friday. At its southern and eastern gates, Taliban gunmen said that almost no one was allowed to come close, and that all entrance gates were closed. Reports about any new entries to the airport at all were sparse, and unconfirmed.
Further, State Department officials have warned people to stay away from the airport and shelter in place because of new terrorism threats….
Dr. Zakhilwal, an economist who was sharply critical of the government of President Ashraf Ghani in the days before it fell, said the country was “in a very depressed economic situation.” An acute cash shortage has led to skyrocketing prices. Few ATMs are functioning.
So far, the worst fears about the Taliban appear not to have been realized, Dr. Zakhilwal said. “By and large, their treatment of the population is not as bad as expected,” he said. “They are not very visible. You don’t see a heavy presence of them in the city.”….