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Afghanistan falls to the Taliban

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The government collapsed on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled for Uzbekistan with his wife. 
The insurgents met little resistance as they entered Kabul. The capital devolved into panic and confusion. Inmates broke out of the main prison and Afghans made a mad dash to banks.
 Thousands crammed into the civilian domestic terminal at the airport, desperately seeking flights out. Here are pictures.
Insurgents and Afghan officials assured residents that there would be a peaceful transfer of power.
But the U.S. raced to evacuate diplomats and civilians in helicopter after helicopter. 
A core group of diplomats were moved from the embassy to a compound at the international airport.
 “If the Taliban take over, I lose my identity,” Wahida Sadeqi, 17, said. The group will likely strip women of their rights and crack down on education for girls. 
On Sunday, in Kabul’s city center, people painted over posters of women at beauty salons, apparently preparing for a fundamentalist takeover.

 The northern city of Kunduz , which fell last Sunday after heavy fighting, offers a chilling prophecy for the country. Days after the new insurgent leaders said they had no quarrel with the people, they soon began instilling fear.
 The Taliban started their offensive in May as the U.S. began withdrawing troops, and quickly overwhelmed the Afghan military that the U.S. spent more than $83 billion to support over the past two decades.
 They swept through the country with stunning speed: Mazar-i-Sharif, the last major city in the north, fell just a day before Kabul.
 Rights groups sharply criticized the Biden administration for not moving faster to relocate America’s Afghan allies from a country where they are at risk of lethal Taliban reprisals. Afghan journalists working for U.S. broadcasters also fear backlash.

Courtesy – NYT

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