World Women's rights activist recounts pain of leaving Afghanistan
Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America's longest war
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war. Hours ahead of President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline for shutting down a final airlift, and thus ending the U.S. war, Air Force transport planes carried a remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport late Monday.
DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Zarifa Ghafari was a shining example of the new Afghanistan that many of the nation's people hoped would emerge after years of Taliban rule: a young female mayor appointed in a country where women's rights were suppressed under the hardline Islamist group.
Now the 29-year-old is sitting in a German hotel after having fled her homeland along with thousands of other Afghans who fear the Taliban's renewed takeover puts their lives at risk.
Save the brave women of Afghanistan
If we do not evacuate them, they will be sitting ducks for the Taliban. Our involvement in Afghanistan deteriorated very slowly, even imperceptibly to the vast majority of the public. It just took a few compromises with warlords, a couple of suspect elections left uncorrected, some wedding parties bombed based on faulty intelligence, and the steady grind of corruption starving the Afghan forces of weapons, ammunition, and food. The rot set in, the hope drained away, and a country that had proudly thrown off the Taliban was subjugated to them once again.And early reports from the Taliban's rule are chilling.
In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Ghafari spoke about the pain she felt as she and her family prepared to fly out of Kabul following a harrowing effort to reach the airport.
“I am not sure my tears will be able to explain it,” she said. “The fear, the feeling, the pain that I have and I had at the moment.”
Ghafari became the mayor of the central Afghanistan city of Maidan Shahr in 2018, at the age of 26, She said she loved the job because it posed new challenges every day. Later, she moved to a position within Afghanistan's Defense Ministry helping veterans and their families.
Her father was killed last year, she says by the Taliban. Ghafari herself survived repeated assassination attempts. Last year, she received the U.S. State Department’s 2020 International Women of Courage award.
Taliban special forces bring abrupt end to women's protest
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban special forces in camouflage fired their weapons into the air Saturday, bringing an abrupt and frightening end to the latest protest march in the capital by Afghan women demanding equal rights from the new rulers. Also on Saturday, the chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, which has an outsized influence on the Taliban, made a surprise visit to Kabul. Taliban fighters quickly captured most of Afghanistan last month and celebrated the departure of the last U.S. forces after 20 years of war. The insurgent group must now govern a war-ravaged country that is heavily reliant on international aid.
Two days after arriving in Germany, she criticized the U.S. military pullout from Afghanistan after 20 years and the likely end of evacuations by the United States and others by Aug. 31.
Video: Taliban push Americans to leave quickly, Afghans to stay (NBC News)
“It is the worst decision anyone can make," Ghafari said, adding that many Afghans who worked for the country's defeated government and foreign militaries will be at the mercy of the Taliban She Now she fears many Afghans who stood in the Taliban’s way will be targeted,.
“They’re just searching for people and they are going to their houses,” she said. “They have a long list of blacklisted people and they are killing everyone.”
Ghafari dismissed thethat they won't seek retribution but said she was willing to speak to its leaders, insisting they would never get Afghanistan to recover from two decades of war without bringing the country's women on board.
At least three babies have been born during US evacuation efforts from Afghanistan
Three babies have been born amid evacuation efforts from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, U.S. officials confirmed.Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Tuesday one of the babies was born on a C-17 military aircraft, and the other two were born in a hospital at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
“They need to have women," she said. "If they are not, I’m sure they won’t be successful.”
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The Latest: Pakistan says Afghanistan in crisis helps no one .
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s foreign minister says it is the collective responsibility of the international community to help Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian crisis. In a statement Friday, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that despite having limited resources, Pakistan a day earlier sent a plane carrying food and medicines to Kabul. Qureshi said more such aid will be dispatched to Afghanistan via land routes. Qureshi made his comments ahead of the visit of his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares, who was expected to arrive in the capital, Islamabad, later Friday, for talks on Afghanistan.