Taliban using gunfire, whips,
sticks to control Kabul airport

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KABUL: The Taliban is using gunfire, whips, and sticks to control thousands of Afghans looking for a way out of the war-torn country at the Kabul airport, ANI has reported from Kabul.
A photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday captured graphic images of wounded Afghans after Taliban fighters used lethal weapons to control the crowd at the airport. “Taliban fighters use gunfire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control over thousands of Afghans who continue to wait for a way out, on airport road. At least half dozen were wounded while I was there, including a woman and her child,” tweeted Marcus Yam.
Yam captured harrowing photos of the violence near the Kabul airport, which he described as “indiscriminate.” He said he saw one Taliban fighter fire into “the crowd, smiling at another Taliban fighter as if it were a game.”
He said Afghans were waiting outside the airport to “try their luck” and get on a flight out of the nation, which is now under Taliban control.
The Taliban swept into Kabul and seized power on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani left the country, bringing an end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform Afghanistan.
Earlier, the Taliban pledged to protect the rights of women and minorities and assured that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would not pose a threat to any country.
Political experts say that it might not be as plain as that and doubt whether the terror group which is yet to moderate its “draconian views” on justice will stand by its promises.
The Taliban had ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 and in those five years, they imposed Sharia Islamic law in the country, introducing punishments in line with their strict interpretation of the law – publically executing convicted murderers and adulterers and carrying out amputations of those found guilty of theft. Men were required to grow beards and women had to wear the all-covering hijab.

Chaos at Kabul Airport

Taliban agree on formation of inclusive govt

Afghan Taliban’s top leadership which met in Doha has finalised the future government structure including cabinet positions and name for Presidency in Afghanistan.

“The government in Kabul would be an inclusive government having representation of key political powers in Afghanistan”, a Taliban source told The Nation on phone from Doha yesterday.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar, the Deputy Political Chief of Taliban political office in Doha, is expected to announce the plan upon reaching Kabul.

A top Taliban leader from Doha Amir Khan Muttaqi, who arrived in Kabul along with his delegation, held meetings with former president Hamid Karzai and Chairman High Peace Council Abdullah Abdullah and discussed the future political setup.

The sources said during consultations, the cabinet details were finalised including the positions of first vice president and vice presidents in the new government.

Credible sources told The Nation that Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar before reaching Kabul met with US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad and assured that Taliban would not harm US interests and soldiers in Kabul.

The sources said the Taliban deputy political chief made it clear to the US representative that the US should withdraw its forces after evacuating its diplomatic staff from Kabul.

Mullah Bradar demanded that the US forces should remain limited to its diplomatic mission and should not stay beyond, which would be considered a violation of the agreement.

“There is no need for any US soldier in the streets of Kabul”, a source quoted Mullah Bradar as having told the US representative.

Mullah Bradar assured the US that the new government in Kabul would respect human rights including rights of minorities and women. “We have already announced general amnesty for everyone in Kabul’’, Bradar said.

He also held a meeting with the Qatari foreign minister and thanked the government of Qatar for hosting them for a long time.

However, the sources said families of Taliban leaders would remain in Doha and would not travel to Kabul due to the security situation.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kanddhar

The Taliban’s deputy leader and co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrived in Kandahar Tuesday, landing in the insurgent group’s former capital just days after they took control of the country.

 A Taliban spokesman said on Twitter that Baradar and a high level delegation “reached their beloved country in the afternoon” from Qatar.

Pakistan consulted Taliban Deputy Political Chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar before his departure to Kandahar where he arrived after 20 years.

Highly credible sources told The Nation that Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq contacted Mullah Baradar on phone and discussed with him the latest situation in Afghanistan including the formation of new government.

The sources said Pakistan extended an invitation to Mullah Baradar to visit Pakistan, which he accepted.

However, the sources said dates of his visit are being worked out in consultations with the Taliban leadership. Mullah Baradar assured that he would visit Pakistan as Islamabad played a vital role in making peace and political progress in Afghanistan towards a great success.

Mullah Baradar, according to the sources, assured Sadiq that the Afghan soil would not be allowed to be used against Pakistan. “Taliban would act against terrorists and their safe heavens in Afghanistan”, Mullah Baradar was quoted as saying by a source.