Taliban near Kabul ; The first U.S. troops arrived in Afghanistan to help communications workers leave, as many countries opposed the evacuation of civilians and civilians during the immediate Taliban.
- On Friday, troops captured Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Loghar province, just 50 miles [80 km] from the capital, Kabul.
- A UN official said the situation was beginning to get out of control and the consequences for civilians were high.
- More than 250,000 people have been forced to leave their homes so far.
Taliban near Kabul
Taliban advancement comes as the US and other foreign forces withdraw after 20 years of military service. The war has allayed fears that human rights abuses since the military’s ouster in 2001 could be reversed.
Life under the Taliban in the 1990s saw women forced to wear an all-inclusive burka, education banned by girls over the age of ten, and brutal punishments including murder.
city in Kandahar
Also on Friday, the Taliban seized the second largest city in Kandahar and the nearby city of Lashkar Gah, and Herat in the west. They now control about a third of the provincial capital of Afghanistan.
- Pentagon spokesman John Kirby called the latest developments “deeply concerned”, but dismissed any suggestion that Kabul was in immediate danger of the party.
- Most of the 3,000 troops sent to help relocate American workers will enter the weekend. The US aims to fly thousands of people a day to Kabul.
- Recent intelligence surveys in the US indicate that troops may attempt to advance to the national capital within 30 days.
The U.S. ambassador to the United States informed the workers that there is a heating system and other equipment to destroy sensitive items, including documents and equipment such as flags that can be used in propaganda.
deport British people
The UK, which is sending 600 troops to help deport British people and Afghan workers, said its embassy staff would be reduced slightly – as Germany did.
- Denmark and Norway closed their embassies completely.
Afghan war – foundations
- US-led forces overthrow Taliban: In 2001 US-led forces overthrew Afghan Taliban rulers following a 9/11 attack by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was based there.
- Two decades of service and military action followed: The US and its allies watched the election and formed security forces in Afghanistan, but the Taliban continued to attack.
- The US finally made an agreement with the Taliban: They would have left if the military had agreed not to hold terrorist groups.
- But talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have failed. The US-led forces withdrew this year and the Taliban have taken over much of the country.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the Taliban to end the war and called on the international community to make it clear that military action is unacceptable.
more for women and children
“Every day the conflict consumes more and more for women and children. The ongoing urban war will mean continued massacres of civilians at a high cost,” he said.
Food and medical supplies are declining and critical infrastructure including schools and clinics have been destroyed, he said. The UN has called on neighboring countries to keep their borders open, so that people can access security.
- More than 1,000 people were killed in Afghanistan last month alone, according to the UN.
- Mesheshi camps have been set up in the bush outside the capital, and most of those seeking refuge in Kabul are sleeping on the streets.
- About 72,000 children are among those fleeing the capital in recent days, according to Save the Children.
Zuhal, a 20-year-old student who has been helping the exiles, told the BBC: “Stop the fire, like stopping the war immediately, stop fighting because we can’t wake up one day and see a baby covered in blood, a mother crying for her son – we don’t see that anymore.”
Taliban near Kabul
In a separate development, Canada has said it plans to re-establish more than 20,000 at risk Afghan people including women leaders, human rights workers and journalists.