A Lost Chance
It was too good to be true
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Thousands of Afghans rushed to the Kabul airport last Wednesday, with those scenes reminding of the August 2021 evacuation. Among them there were men, women and children that had heard there were aid flights to Turkey and Syria, hit by an earthquake last February 6th.
People were waiting outside the airport during three hours, but they went back home when the Taliban told them there were no aid flights to Turkey. The Taliban also asked Afghans not to disrupt public order with such lies.
The main road leading to the airport was blocked with vehicles and pedestrians by 8 pm. Salahuddin, a 19 year old resident of Kabul that had tried to reach the airport with his father, stated that the Taliban hit cars with batons and pushed back pedestrians that went to the airport. This was the second lost chance by him to get out of Afghanistan in order to get to Turkey since 2021.
“I heard that Turkey is taking out people, so I thought that I can go and help people in need”, said Abdul Ghafar, a 26 year old man from Kabul.
“Also, this can be an opportunity for me to find a way out of the country”, he added.
The Taliban will send around $165,000 in aid to Turkey and Syria in response to the earthquake. This comes at a time when Afghanistan is facing a severe economic and humanitarian crisis since August 2021, with its banking sector facing sanctions. No capital has recognized the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The earthquake that took place in Gaziantep, Turkey, on February 6th, 2023, at 4:17 am has already killed more than 20,000 people. Rescuers have tried to aid survivors out of rubble in a harsh time against winter. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and been injured, left in frozen temperatures.
Those scenes of Afghans trying to get to the Kabul airport brought back memories from 2021, when thousands of Afghans attempted to flee in airplanes from the return of the Taliban. They even tried to climb over the wings of the planes back then.
Life in Afghanistan has become more complicated under the draconian Taliban rule. Restrictions on human rights have increased, creating harsher conditions for Afghans. This has become worse on winter, since in the latest weeks thousands of Afghans have died due the bitter cold and economic crisis.
NGOs have recently suspended operations in Afghanistan due a Taliban rule that banned female aid workers. This has left many agencies unable to operate in the country. Western diplomats have stated they won’t recognize the new government if there is no change towards women’s rights.
Guillermo is a journalist, writer and independent international analyst. If you like what you read, please support him by donating:
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Excellent article!! Worth the read in full!
Keep up the excellent work!!