Under the wing of the plane about something Kabul – Newspaper Kommersant № 145 (7107) from 17.08.2021

by time news

Afghanistan survived the first day after the flight of President Ashraf Ghani and the entry into Kabul of the forces of the Taliban terrorist movement banned in Russia. The center of events was still controlled by foreign troops in the capital’s airport, where crowds of people wishing to leave the country had accumulated. Not without casualties: people clung to the planes taking off and crashed, falling on a concrete strip. Others died in a stampede at the airport or were shot by American soldiers. Meanwhile, the Taliban, according to Russian diplomats, “are behaving decently so far”: there is supposedly more order in the country than it was under the previous “puppet government.” However, Moscow, like other world capitals, is in no hurry to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government.

You can’t just take and leave Kabul

On Monday morning – the first day after Afghanistan came under the full control of the Russian-banned Taliban movement – shocking footage from the Kabul airport named after ex-President Hamid Karzai began to circulate on social networks. Its territory turned out to be the only place in the whole country where foreign troops still remained and from where it was possible to fly abroad. Therefore, despite the cancellation of all commercial flights, Afghans simply ran out onto the tarmac and rushed to any plane – most often they were American military transporters. The most desperate tried to get into the luggage compartment or cling to the chassis. According to the Afghan agency Khaama Press, three people died as a result, falling from a great height. Reuters, in turn, reported on the deaths in the stampede at the airport, and The Wall Street Journal – on those shot dead by the US military while trying to break the cordon. At the same time, in the photographs from the cabins of the planes taking off, it was clear that the Americans did not even try to take on board more than the required number of people.

Informed sources told The Associated Press that the evacuation process was coordinated with the Taliban. It is reported that in Doha, the head of the US Central Command, Frank Mackenzie, met with representatives of the movement, at which the general allegedly asked not to try to take control of the airport.

It is the American contingent that plays a key role in the protection of the airport. Moreover, on Monday evening it was reported that US President Joe Biden had ordered another 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division to be sent to Kabul. Thus, 7,000 American troops will be deployed in Afghanistan. In addition, Turkish forces, as well as 120 Azerbaijani peacekeepers, continue to guard the Kabul airport.

The Afghans who broke into the Kabul airport did not care where to fly – as long as they were away from the Taliban

Photo: ANADOLU AGENCY VIA AFP

Concurrently, the Kabul airport now also performs the functions of the US embassy. While most of the embassy staff have already been evacuated, attorney Ross Wilson himself and several other key diplomats continue to work from there. The complete evacuation of personnel was also reported by the embassies of virtually all US allies, from the Netherlands to Japan. Even diplomats left Saudi Arabia, although this country is considered an example of a state built on the norms of Islam.

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The situation in Afghanistan also affected the post-Soviet countries. Although Georgia completed the evacuation of its military contingent from Afghanistan a month ago, it became known last Sunday that 23 Georgian citizens, including former military personnel, remain in Kabul. As it turned out, they returned to Afghanistan to work as bodyguards or employees of private security companies. The Georgian Foreign Ministry agreed with Ukraine on the export of its citizens on a Ukrainian plane, but they were unable to reach the Kabul airport due to shelling. On Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Alexander Khvtisiashvili told reporters that the Georgians would be taken away by the Turkish military, and they would be brought to the airport in armored vehicles.

In turn, the embassies of Russia and China, as well as their allies, feel completely calm. Moreover, as Zamir Kabulov, director of the second department of Asia of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on the air of the radio station Echo of Moscow, representatives of the Taliban even took the Russian embassy under guard, cordoning off the perimeter.

Against the background of the problems of foreign colleagues who literally live at the airport, the problems of Russian diplomats seem to be much smaller. Talking to the Interfax news agency, embassy press attaché Nikita Ishchenko lamented that due to the cancellation of civil flights, some of the employees could not fly on their planned vacation, while others, on the contrary, could not come to start work. “We are now looking for technical and logistic ways to ensure their departure,” he said.

“Elected doubtfully, ruled badly and ended shamefully”

Although more than a day had passed since President Ashraf Ghani’s departure from the country, his exact location by Monday evening remained a mystery. Earlier, we will remind, it was reported that Mr. Ghani flew to Tajikistan. Then many media outlets, citing sources, said that he was in Oman. At the same time, Ashraf Ghani managed to convey a message about the reasons for his decision. “The Taliban have made it clear that they are ready to carry out a bloody attack on Kabul and its inhabitants in order to expel me. To prevent bloodshed, I decided to leave, ”he said.

True, Russian diplomats on Monday decided to share completely different details of President Ghani’s departure. “Four cars were full of money, they tried to shove another part of the money into a helicopter, but not everything fit … And part of the money remained lying on the take-off field,” – assured press attaché Nikita Ishchenko. Zamir Kabulov, speaking on the air of the Zvezda TV channel, also gave the lowest assessment to Mr. Ghani: “I did not leave, but ran. And he ran in the most shameful way. This is a man who the day before yesterday, speaking with a televised address to the Afghan people, claimed that he was ready to lay down his life to the last. Here and in fact: he was elected dubiously, ruled badly and ended shamefully. I have no other definition in relation to this person. He deserves to be brought to justice and accountable by the Afghan people. ”

Then, already on the Russia 24 TV channel, Mr. Kabulov decided to assess the Taliban. “Please note that all these administrative capitals were captured peacefully, without firing a single shot, which gives us satisfaction. So far, the Taliban and the new government are behaving decently. We will judge not by words, but by deeds, ”the Russian diplomat said.

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Zamir Kabulov called on the parties to the conflict “to abandon selfish egoism and begin serious negotiations on a future coalition transitional state.” Recall that even on the eve of ex-President Hamid Karzai announced that in a vacuum of power, he personally, as well as the Chairman of the Supreme Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah and the leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan Gulbeddin Hekmatyar formed a council whose goal is “to prevent chaos, suffering people and manage the peaceful transit of power ”. On Monday, Messrs. Karzai and Abdullah confirmed that they are negotiating with the Taliban leadership.

However, in fact, everything depends only on one side, which so far, it seems, has not finally decided on its position. On Monday, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy head of the movement’s political office in Doha, said the Taliban are trying to pave the way for a coalition government. “And all of us Afghans will take part in it,” he assured. However, an unnamed senior Taliban official told The Times at the same time that there was no talk of a coalition.

«We did not fight in order to share power with anyone, ”the source said.

And he made it clear: the Taliban are not planning to include representatives of other political forces in the interim government and will only agree to “full power.”

“Good impression”

The Taliban insist that their fellow citizens have nothing to fear. “No Afghan should worry about anyone who worked in the previous government. We will serve our country. Be it the civilian or the military sector, and no one will lose their privileges, ”said Abdul Salam Hanafi. And he called on all civil servants to go to work calmly (though women – only in a traditional Muslim headscarf).

“The girls began to wear long skirts instead of jeans, although my sister was taking an exam at school today – and no one demanded to change the usual uniform for something more strict,” – Afghans Yaama Hakimi shared with Kommersant about his impressions of the arrival of the Taliban. who has lived in Russia for many years and even received citizenship, but returned to his homeland in July to get married. Now Mr. Hakimi is confused: even if the Russian embassy helps him to leave the country, his wife, who has only Afghan citizenship, will need a visa, which is practically not issued now.

According to Yaama Hakimi, in the morning, when he and his father went to the market for groceries, the cars were stopped by armed men, but after several questions they were released. At the same time, the security of his prestigious residential complex simply disappeared. “Nobody slept at night – there was panic,” says the Russian. “But there is also something good: usually, from five in the morning to five in the evening, our electricity was cut off, but now it is around the clock. Apparently, the substation workers also fled ”.

«Although we have heard the statement that you can go to work without fear, people do not trust this yet. Turkish films are shown on TV, where religious topics are raised, ”the source told Kommersant.

On some channels, entertainment programs were replaced by religious programs and the recitation of suras from the Koran.

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“I remember that in accordance with our legal system, they (the Taliban – “B”) are a terrorist organization. But I judge about the first days of their control over Kabul: the impression is good. That is, now the situation in Kabul is better than it was under Ashraf Ghani, ”Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov told Echo of Moscow.

According to another Russian diplomat, Zamir Kabulov, only the UN Security Council, which at one time gave them this status, can exclude the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations. “First, all members of the Security Council must make sure that the new government is ready to behave conditionally, as we say, in a civilized manner. When this point of view becomes common for everyone, then the procedure will begin, ”he said.

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Afghanistan took place on Monday evening, but no sensations were heard in its public part. “I call on the Security Council and the international community as a whole to unite, work together and act together – and use all the tools at its disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan and ensure that fundamental human rights are respected there,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres … Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ghulam Isakzai, in turn, assured that no rights are currently being respected and called on the Security Council “to state unequivocally that it does not recognize the restoration of the Islamic Emirate” and any other government that will not be inclusive. After that, the parties retired for closed consultations.

Kirill Krivosheev; George Dvali, Tbilisi

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