Prospective refugees are just about the only people seen moving around Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, trying to procure passports and visas in order to have a place to flee to.
They fear the Taliban may close down the city and clamp down on the airport any time. The other set of people moving in the bylanes towards the near highway out of the capital is the citizens who cannot afford to fly and have to cross the border on foot.
The most poignant movement of refugees is currently on in Afghanistan, the like of which was in the recent past seen in the Rohingya march out of Myanmar. What galls these Afghans is that their President fled the country to safety while the Americans are in the process of leaving once and for all. They are literally stranded today as the world looks on, with no one extending a helping hand.
The only silver lining is the call by some countries to not turn away Afghan refugees. Seventeen years after it was established under the benevolent eye of the United States, the Islamic Republic is, for all practical purposes, dead. The Taliban, but for an unforeseen circumstance, are intent on the return of the Islamic Emirate and its regressive ways of social order.
Women have begun to face the brunt of the Taliban already, with reports of women employees in offices and banks asked to go home and not to return. Parents have stopped sending girls to schools before any such Taliban diktat is announced.
Those who gained prominence in the previous regime or were known to have helped the nationalist forces against the Taliban are simply awaiting their fate if they have not managed to flee. The only peace in the region exists on a piece of paper called the Doha Agreement former President Donald Trump signed along with the Taliban in Qatar. His successor, President Biden, would have to answer if he was aware this would be the catastrophic result of his decision to withdraw the US troops.
He would also be asked about the quality of training and equipment given to the Afghan defence forces, given the fact that the Taliban ran through them easier than a knife through butter. Were they even trained to defend their nation or merely to handle emergency situations? Was it the war on terror the Americans came to Afghanistan to finance two decades ago or was it to ensure that the democratic values the Afghans for the first time learnt to enjoy in this period were sustained and protected? Afghanistan’s neighbours, particularly Pakistan, would be called upon to answer for how long they plan to deny their role in aiding and abetting the Talibani attempts to take over Afghanistan.
The next few days will see how the Taliban set up their Government. The onus will then be on the world community whether to recognise the Taliban Government or ignore the anti-democratic fervour they stand for.