Afghanistan: United States and United Kingdom call on their nationals to leave the territory immediately
Stephen A. Cook
After the capture of two provincial capitals by the Taliban, nationals of the United States and the United Kingdom are called to leave the country, because they cannot guarantee their safety.
After London, Washington is worried about the fate of its citizens. “In view of the security conditions and reduced numbers” in Afghanistan, the United States Embassy in Kabul on Saturday, August 7 urged all its nationals to leave the country immediately using the commercial flight options available.
A “worsening security situation”
In that communication , the embassy argued that given the situation, its ability to “assist US citizens in Afghanistan” has become “extremely limited” . An explanation similar to that given the day before by the British Foreign Office. On its website, it called on its national citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately because of the “worsening security situation” as fighting with the Taliban escalates in the country.
Because three months ago, the Taliban have regained their strength. Taking advantage of the withdrawal of international forces – which must be completely completed by August 31 – and an Afghan army whose morale is at its lowest, they seize larger and larger areas. After having conquered vast rural territories in the Afghan countryside, it is now the big cities that they are attacking.
The provincial capital of Jawzan, Sheberghan, fell into their hands on Saturday, according to Qader Malia, vice-governor of that province. According to his testimony to AFP, “the (Afghan) forces and officials fled to the airport”. A decision that marks a new setback for the government, which recently called on former warlords and various militias to try to stem the advance of the insurgents.
No safe place
Because this one is very fast. This capture indeed represents the second provincial capital to be captured by the Taliban in less than 24 hours. They thus made themselves masters, on Friday, of a first provincial capital, Zaranj. It was the first time they had won a capital since the start of their offensive in May. A decision which was made there too without meeting “any resistance” , according to the testimony to AFP of Roh Gul Khairzad, the deputy governor of the province of Nimroz.
Why so little resistance? Because the Afghan forces were already busy defending several other provincial capitals across the country. And because morale is lacking. “The Afghan security forces are losing morale because of the constant propaganda of the Taliban,” a senior Nimroz official told AFP, who requested anonymity. “Even before the Taliban attacks, many Afghan forces lowered their weapons, removed their uniforms, left their units and fled,” he said.
The United States and the United Kingdom have accused the Taliban of “war crimes” in the southern town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, alleging that dozens of civilians were “massacred”. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has presented a security plan to challenge the Taliban onslaught before the country’s parliament, but its details have not been made public.
The Afghan army has said three provinces in southern and western Afghanistan are facing “critical” security situations as fighting intensifies between the Taliban and Afghan forces. Fighting in the war-torn South Asian country has escalated as US and NATO troops plan to complete their withdrawal by August 31 after 20 years of war. The Taliban is trying to seize provincial capitals after already taking smaller administrative districts in recent months.
The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 1267, creating the so-called al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which links the two groups as terrorist entities and imposes sanctions on their funding, travel, and arms shipments. The UN move follows a period of ascendancy for al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, who guided the terror group from Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan, in the late 1980s, to Sudan in 1991, and back to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. The Taliban, which rose from the ashes of Afghanistan’s post-Soviet civil war, provides al-Qaeda sanctuary for operations.