World Once inmates, Taliban now in charge in a Kabul prison
Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport
Biden added the deadline depends on Taliban cooperation, and added that he has asked the Depts. of State and Defense to prepare contingency plans.His remarks from the White House came the same day the Taliban said it would stop Afghans from trying to go to the Kabul airport and told women to stay home to stay for a time to stay safe, fueling worries about how the Taliban will treat women.
KABUL (AP) — Once, Kabul’s main prison was crowded with thousands of Taliban captured and arrested by the government. On Monday, a Taliban commander strolled through its empty halls and cell blocks, showing his friends where he had once been imprisoned.
It was a sign of the sudden and startling new order in Afghanistan after the militant group swept into the capital nearly a month ago and threw out the crumbling, U.S.-backed government it had fought for 20 years.
Taliban promise to uphold rights for women and US allies, but White House is skeptical
The Taliban said they won't hurt women. U.S. military commanders work with the militant group to allow Americans and some Afghans to evacuate.Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, women virtually had no rights under the fundamentalist Taliban's oppressive rule. Most were forced to quit their jobs and stay at home, denied access to education and health care, enduring high rates of illiteracy and maternal mortality.
The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, a sprawling complex on Kabul’s eastern outskirts. After capturing the city, the fighters freed all the inmates there, the government guards fled, and now dozens of Taliban fighters are running the facility.
The commander, who refused to give his name, was on a personal visit to the complex with a group of his friends. He told The Associated Press he had been arrested around a decade ago in eastern Kunar province and was brought to Pul-e-Charkhi, bound and blindfolded.
“I feel so terrible when I remember those days,” he said. He said prisoners suffered abuses and torture. He was imprisoned for around 14 months before he was released. “Those days are the darkest days of my life, and now this the happiest moment for me that I am free and come here without fear.”
'Nobody should be surprised': Why Afghan security forces crumbled so quickly to the Taliban
Analysts say there were signs the Afghan military – unmotivated, disorganized and plagued by low morale – would struggle against the Taliban. "They were evident for a long time," said retired Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a twice-deployed veteran of the war in Afghanistan. "Nobody should be surprised by these outcomes if they had been paying attention." More: A timeline of the US withdrawal and Taliban recapture of Afghanistan Unmotivated to fight for 'corrupt' government The U.S. pumped more than $80 billion in equipment and training into the Afghan security forces since the start of the war in Afghanistan, which the U.S.
Many Afghans as well as governments around the world have been alarmed by the swift Taliban seizure of power, fearing the movement will impose a similar, harsh rule as they did during their first time ruling in the 1990s. But for the Taliban fighters, it’s a moment to savor a victory after years of grueling fighting — and to see a city few of them have entered since the war began.
For some of the Taliban guards accompanying the AP, it was the first time they’d entered the abandoned cell blocks. They looked with curiosity through the cells, still littered with things the last inmates left behind — fabrics hanging from the walls and windows, small rugs, water bottles.
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On Monday, I feared the worst. I had messaged Omid Mahmoodi, who worked as an interpreter for the U.S. military. But nothing. And then I had messaged Omid Mahmoodi, who worked as an interpreter and cultural adviser for the U.S. military for three years during the war.
Video: Taliban enter Kabul as US embassy in Afghanistan is evacuated (The Independent)
One fighter exchanged his sandals for a better pair he found in a cell. Then he found yet a better pair and exchanged again. Others played with the former prisoners’ makeshift weight bars.
Pul-e-Charkhi had a long, disturbing history of violence, mass executions and torture. Mass graves and torture cells were uncovered dating from the Soviet-backed governments of the late 1970s and 1980s. Under the U.S.-backed government, it was more known for poor conditions and overcrowding — its 11 cell blocks were built to house 5,000 inmates, but were often packed with more than 10,000, including Taliban prisoners and criminals.
Taliban prisoners often complained of abuses and beatings, and there were regular riots. Still, they kept up their organization behind bars, winning concessions like access to cell phones and longer time outside their cells.
‘No possible life’ under Taliban rule: Afghan women fear murder, oppression after US withdrawal
"If the Taliban returns to power, I along with other women who work in the government will either be stoned to death or executed in public."These memories are invariably the stuff of nightmares.
Some of the Taliban now guarding the site were former inmates. The government guards have fled and don’t dare return, fearing reprisals. Though the facility remains largely empty, one section holds around 60 people imprisoned in the past few weeks, who the guards said were mostly accused criminals and drug addicts.
Taliban resume some flights, press assault on final holdout .
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's Taliban rulers resumed some domestic passenger flights to and from Kabul on Sunday, as the religious militia's fighters stepped up an assault on the last remaining pocket of resistance being led by fighters opposed to their rule. The anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir province, north of the Afghan capital, are being led by former vice president Amrullah Saleh, who has appealed for humanitarian aid to help the thousands of people displaced by the fighting. A senior Taliban spokesman tweeted Sunday that Taliban troops had overrun Rokha district, one of largest of eight districts in Panjshir.