Twenty-four hours after the Taliban insurgent takeover, images are circulating on online news media platforms and social media of jam-packed Afghans in US C-17 cargo jets with around 650 Afghan citizens, a cargo jet made for just less than a quarter of what they are currently holding – showing the enormity of last night’s events, Monday 16th August, which saw the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, flee from his office like the rest of his once former people. The not-so-cosy sight would make anyone feel claustrophobic, but desperate times call for desperate measures and now more Afghans will most likely have to travel by land to nearby neighbouring countries such as India and Tajikistan. 10 days before the collapse of Afghan, citizens were already fleeing to Iran and Pakistan, with 30,000 fleeing a day up until before the world shattering event. There is no doubt at all that this will increase 10 fold as airlines are now avoiding Afghanistan’s air space to minimise danger from surface missiles.
Many countries around the world are banding together to give support to those now without most of their possessions, leaving a life once lived, and now needing to seek shelter elsewhere. And it is expected that many refugees will go to Kosovo and Albania having accepted US’s temporary request to host them on Sunday 15th August. With the countries’ swift call to action, it is hoped that others will follow suit. It is also likely they will be sent to these countries via commercial airlines, which may be positive news for the industry if they are are getting government contracts.
Some countries are seemingly procrastinating decision-making though, except for countries like Russia and China that have been quick to assert their positions, China will keep its embassy open in Kabul to work with the Talibans to keep peace and Russia have said they will decide whether or not to accept them as the new ruler based on their conduct.
Europe is slow on the uptake though with no official position until today’s emergency conference when the EU foreign ministers met via video call to discuss serious political matters and make a “first assessment” on the current situation, EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrel, has said.
Meanwhile in the UK, the UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said yesterday the takeover by Taliban insurgents is a “failure of the international community, all of us know that Afghanistan is not finished. It’s an unfinished problem for the world and the world needs to help it,” he went on to add to BBC television. But later that evening he told Sky News that it was “not on the cards that we’re going to go back.” So the future looks bleak for Afghanistan and the days of its dark blue, red and green flag, with its proud emblem, flying above the complex of the Presidential Palace, might just be a thing the past. At least it’s not a thing of the present.
Joe Biden, still hasn’t commented since his comment on Saturday 13th August holding his resolve over withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
Here’s a reminder of yesterdays events with this scene from earlier in the day:
So, what do you think? Is there hope for Afghanistan to return to freedom or is the Taliban now so strong it will have hold in the country for years to come? How will the airline industry adapt to the change in rule? Comment below or tweet us @thetravelradar. We would love to hear your thoughts. You might like to read the breaking news story here our fellow correspondent Jonathan Green who wrote earlier today, or read earlier updates here.