TOPLINE Saturday was the seventh day that Taliban fighters have been in control of Afghanistan’s capital after the Western-backed government collapsed last Sunday, leading to scenes of chaos and dramatic shifts.
The Taliban rolled into Kabul last weekend after taking just 11 days to seize control of the vast majority of Afghanistan following a U.S. troop drawdown, and declared the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” on Thursday—the same name Afghanistan had under Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001.
Reporters on the ground in Kabul say Taliban fighters are now patrolling essentially every block in the city, prompting concerns of a return to the brutality seen the last time the Taliban was in power, when it enforced an extremely conservative interpretation of Sharia law.
Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban stormed Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday, with some dying after clinging onto the outside of a U.S. C-17 military plane as it took off.
Thousands of U.S. soldiers were ordered into Afghanistan to retake control of the airport, with planes now departing full of Americans and Afghan refugees fleeing the country.
The Taliban claims Afghans’ fears are unfounded, promising “amnesty” for those who worked with the U.S. and saying some of the harsh policies of their earlier rule—like forbidding education for women—will not be repeated.
There are already signs the Taliban is hardening its rule, though, as fighters go on door-to-door manhunts looking for journalists and those who worked for the previous Afghan government.
By Nicholas Reimann, Forbes Staff
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