By Devin Watkins
Evacuations from Afghanistan are gathering pace, with more than 2,200 diplomats and other civilians flown out of the country as of Wednesday, according to a Western security official cited by Reuters news agency.
Civilian flights have been halted, but foreign governments are working quickly to get their citizens and Afghans who worked with them out of Kabul after the country fell to the Taliban over the weekend.
The Taliban, meanwhile, is promising to respect the rights of women “within the framework of Islamic law”, according to the group’s spokesman at a press conference on Tuesday.
Reports from the ground indicate that local Afghans are unsure of their prospects for a bright future.
Uncertain future in Afghanistan
One medical doctor in Kabul, speaking anonymously to Vatican News, said local lives are at risk, adding that most people are being prevented from leaving Afghanistan.
He cited news reports as proof that foreign governments understand what the future holds under Taliban rule, as they seek to evacuate their citizens and Afghans who worked with them. “It means there is a lot of pressure on them,” he noted.
“Thousands of people are waiting in front of the airport without passports or visas,” he said. “They are taking them out of Kabul and all of Afghanistan.”
Britain has announced plans to settle up to 5,000 Afghans within a year, most of whom will be women, girls, and religious minorities. Around 20,000 Afghans will be welcomed to the UK over the coming years.
Germany says it is considering evacuating up to 10,000 people, including Afghan support staff and human rights activists.
Plea for help to flee
The Kabul doctor also expressed doubt about his future prospects.
“I think it will be worse for me,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure on me, my family, and everyone here.”
He said he hopes to flee Afghanistan, and has asked colleagues for help doing so.
When asked what he wants to tell the world, there is no hesitation in his voice.
“Please support us!” he said. “I think the world knows what the future holds for us. You have to help people get out of here!”