Closed since Tuesday (31), a day after the United States completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, the airport in Kabul was reopened this Saturday (4) to receive humanitarian aid and carry out internal travel, according to the channel. Jazeera TV Channel.
A team dispatched from Qatar has made repairs to the airport runway in recent days, allowing two flights to depart the Afghan capital for the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar.
The American exit came amid the rapid takeover of power in Afghanistan by the radical Islamic Taliban group. Even though the US evacuated more than 120,000 people from the country in two weeks, thousands more who wanted to flee, fearing life under the rule of extremists, were left behind.
On Friday (3), faction fighters said they had conquered the area of the country that was not yet under their control, the Panjshir Valley, a region 100 km from the capital that traditionally concentrates anti-Taliban forces. However, Ali Maisam Nazary, a spokesman for the resistance who was said to be outside the valley but in contact with the main leader, Ahmad Massoud, said fighting was still intense.
The National Resistance Front, made up of militias and former Afghan security forces, has large arms reserves in the valley, which, according to videos on pro-Taliban Twitter accounts, have been taken.
While resistance leaders deny having been defeated, members of the group now back in power commemorated the supposed achievement with gunfire into the air in Kabul. The celebration ended, according to a local news agency and Tolo News, the country’s main TV, with 17 people killed and 41 injured, prompting criticism from the main Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.
“Avoid shooting into the air and thank God,” he said on a social network. “Bullets can injure civilians, so don’t fire unnecessarily.” Mujahid’s statement is in line with the extremist faction’s promises of moderation, in an attempt to appear more palatable to foreign nations, especially Western ones, as the Taliban will need international support to run the country and get aid.
Even before the extremist group’s conquest, Afghanistan was already heavily dependent on foreign aid, with 40% of its GDP coming from international financing. The UN has warned that there are 18 million people on the brink of a humanitarian disaster and that number could quickly double.
While most of the international community is cautious, there are some hints of interaction. China confirmed that it will keep its embassy in Kabul open and invest in improving relations, depending on “a moderate domestic and foreign policy” and a break “with all terrorist groups”.
China, Middle Land
The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, for his part, announced on Friday that he will travel to Qatar next week for talks about the Afghan crisis. The secretary will also go to Germany to organize, with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, a virtual 20-nation meeting on Afghanistan.
The countries of the European Union (EU), on the other hand, decided to coordinate to maintain a presence in Kabul, to facilitate the withdrawal of those who wish to leave the country, if security conditions allow.
The United Nations announced the resumption of its humanitarian flights to some cities in the country, while the United Arab Emirates sent a plane with “urgent medical and food aid”.
The expectation was that the Taliban announced on Friday the formation of the new government. The cabinet’s announcement, that the Taliban promises to be representative and tolerant, however, should not happen until at least this Saturday (4), according to a spokesman for the movement to the AFP news agency.