As I was getting ready for my office, my mother told me to wear a hijab. I smiled at her and said that there is nothing to worry about. Even when I was at my office, my mother kept sending me text messages showcasing her concern for me, but I replied with happy emojis. Not only me but all the female staff at my office were not expecting the Taliban to enter Kabul and take over the president's office.
While I was checking Kabul's security page showing the Taliban entering the city, our boss suddenly came to us and said, it's your responsibility to go or stay.
While people belonging to higher positions were leaving by government vehicles, the public doors were closed, meaning we had to stay inside the office.
People waiting in long lines outside the Kabul Bank to withdraw money. (Pic Credit: Rahmat Gul/AP)
No one was letting us out, and as the US dollar reached 100 in exchange, people were afraid that outsiders might enter the bank. We all were worried, just stressing what would happen? All our staff and security guards were inside, but I stayed and asked them to let me go. My friend was outside trying to get me out because everybody was going home. My friend was shouting outside and sent many security guards from the outside gate to let me go out, and finally, they let me go.
Afghans rush home at the end of the day in Kabul. (Pic Credit: Victor J.Blue/ Washington Post)
Outside was even worse! Roads were blocked, and people were rushing to airports. I just ran to my friend's car and tried not to cry and stay strong. We were in traffic for more than two hours, and more than ten calls were received on my phone. All in my mind was that as a government employee being a female dressing official if I face the Taliban, what should I do then. I just was shocked, and no blood was moving through my body hearing Taliban is near, reached there and entered the presidential office. Our president escaped to Tajikistan.
Taliban fighters raise their flag at Ghazni provincial governor’s house in Ghazni, Afghanistan. (Pic Credit: Gulabuddin Amiri/AMP)
My father was standing on the street, and he just saw me and asked why didn't you wear a hijab and all hopes were gone and died in me.
No Afghan would sleep because this country now doesn't have any security force to care for us. Everybody is just praying that nothing happens to them, me too. I destroyed all my official documents as I heard Talibs are searching homes.
I am completely lost and have no hope for the future.
The Taliban’s terrifying victory in Afghanistan
For many years, with only a few thousand troops sustaining few casualties, America had succeeded to maintain a standstill among the Afghan government and the Taliban, mainly because of airpower.
However, last year, when Trump was president, America finalized a settlement with the Taliban. In exchange for a commitment from the militants not to cherish international terrorists, it offered to depart from Afghanistan effectively.
The Taliban fighters rambled into the marbled halls of the presidential palace, their grimy shoes and slippers trampling on the fine carpets. With their beards and capes, and an AK-47 on the table, they took up a somber posture at the desk of the departed president, Ashraf Ghani.
A few miles away, a more wearisome scene was playing out at the international airport. American marines secured the perimeter, seeking to evacuate international civilians, but inside was chaos. Desperate Afghans thronged military transporters and tried to climb up airport gantries to fight their way onto last flights out. Commercial flights were cancelled.
Talibani Fighters sitting on their vehicle (Pic Credit: Stringer/EPA-EFE)
"The Taliban won the victory in the judgment of sword and gun, and they have [the] responsibility to protect the honor, prosperity and self-respect of our compatriots. They tied our hands from behind and sold the country. Curse Ghani and his gang." said Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Afghanistan's acting defense minister.
Aug 16: People trying to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul (Pic Credit: Stringer/Reuters)
A rejuvenated Taliban emirate will not just damage Afghans; it will spread suffering around the region. Afghanistan is already the world's largest yielder of heroin, a business the Taliban happily tax. It also exports millions of refugees, notably to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Extremist violence is another exportation. An offshoot of the Taliban killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis during a bloody terrorist campaign that took years to quell. America's humiliation may be pleasing to some in the region, but the pleasure will be short-lived.
Taliban fighters took control of the presidential palace after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. (Pic Credit: Zabi Karimi/AP).
The embarrassment of America and its Western allies could hardly be more critical. Once the evacuation of their nationals—and of those few Afghan workers lucky enough to get a ticket out—is over, Western governments will have a slight excuse but to accept that the Taliban are in power.
In the late 1990s, the Taliban government was recognized, notably Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In late July, a delegation of Talibs met China's foreign minister. Russia's embassy has declared that it will not evacuate from Kabul. The European Union has promised to "confine" the new government if they grab authority by violence. That seems less and less credible by the minute.
Afghan people climbing on top of a plane as they wait at Kabul Airport (pic Credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP)
When the Taliban last ran the country in the 1990s, they gripped girls out of school, restricted women to their homes and beat anyone who listened to music or wore the wrong clothes. They have not changed much since then. In areas under control, they are murdering civil servants and NGO workers and ordering families to hand over single women to "marry" their troops.