World Meet the Fulbright scholar and former Afghan government lawyer who is lucky she escaped
Fearing Afghan refugee influx, Turkey reinforces border
TATVAN, Turkey (AP) — Fearing a new refugee crisis, Turkey is sending soldiers to reinforce its border with Iran in order to stop a potential influx of Afghans fleeing the Taliban insurgency. Irregular arrivals are already up as Afghans who fled weeks and months ago show up at Turkey's rugged border area after a long trek across Iran. A group of Afghans encountered by The Associated Press near the border said they had deserted the Afghan military and fled the country as the Taliban offensive accelerated.“We came out of necessity.
Henaa Salehi embarked on a journey from Kabul to New York for her Fulbright Scholarship position, but everything changed during the first leg of her trip to Turkey.
Salehi, who worked in the legal office for former Afghan President, boarded her flight on the morning of Aug. 15. By the time it landed, to the . The Fulbright program arranged her flights, she told the Washington Examiner in an interview. She had requested her flight to the United States to take off between Aug. 13 and 16. If they had given her a flight on the later end of that range, she might not have been able to leave.
White House says a 'fair amount' of US military equipment provided to Afghans is now in Taliban hands
"Obviously, we don't have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.WASHINGTON — National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday a "fair amount" of military equipment the U.S. provided the Afghan National Security Forces was seized by the Taliban in the militant group's quick route of Afghanistan.
"I remember I went to the airport at 6 a.m., and it was just another normal day. I used the public terminal for check-in, on-boarding, and everything, and it was like, fully flooded with people," she said, describing the scene at Hamid Karzai International Airport before she departed.
As she prepared for the flight days before, the Taliban launched a successful military offensive against the Afghan forces, who had the support and training from the U.S. military. In saying her goodbyes, several people told her they were “happy that you’re leaving and you’re lucky.” They urged her to “go and focus on your studies” and “don’t think of returning.” At that point, amid the Taliban’s surge, she described “tension all over the air.”
Afghan women are sharing photos of dresses to protest the Taliban's black hijab mandate
Afghan women around the world are protesting the Taliban's new hijab requirement in schools by posting photos of themselves wearing colorful traditional dresses on social media. © From Twitter Dozens of Afghan women have posted pictures of themselves dressed in colorful traditional clothes, in response to a proposed Taliban requirement for women to wear a black hijab in universities. In recent days the Taliban has mandated the segregation of genders in classrooms and said female students, lecturers and employees must wear hijabs in accordance with the group's interpretation of Sharia law.
The Taliban "were taking over the provinces, they were having so many targets with the provinces, but no one would think that Kabul would collapse overnight or within a few hours," Salehi added — though that unanticipated outcome became a reality the morning she left. Once she touched down in Turkey about six hours after taking off, Salehi turned her phone on and had “messages from over 50 people,” who notified her about Kabul’s fall.
She also left her family, not knowing the Taliban would gain control of the country. While Salehi expressed concern for her family's well-being, she declined to share specifics citing the possibility it could put her loved ones in more danger.
She had less than an hour from the time she landed to get to her connecting flight, leaving only a small window to communicate with friends and family before embarking on a transatlantic flight to.
'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.
Back in, many of her colleagues at the National Procurement Authority of Afghanistan went to the office as if it was a normal day — until it wasn't. With the collapse of Ghani's government, her co-workers were left feeling "so unsure," while others were "running out of the office," Salehi said.
By the time Salehi's connecting flight landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, "it was all over," she explained.
During her first week in New York, as Salehi tried to acclimate herself to her new surroundings, she described feeling “frozen" and "in shock." She was "numb to what happened" and hoped for "magic." She came to the U.S. to pursue her master's in international business and trade law at Fordham University, in addition to being a Fulbright scholar.
Before Salehi joined the Afghan government's legal department, she was a commercial lawyer in Kabul and a women's rights activist. She now fears for the rights of Afghan women and girls who will be subjected to Taliban rules about everything from schooling to attire.
‘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.
“Now, we are certainly from all that freedom, democracy, rights. We are going back to the Stone Age,” she said, adding that women will no longer “have any authority over your life.”
The U.S. and other Western countries have said they will decide whether to recognize the Taliban based on how they treat minorities and women. The Taliban expanded their interim Cabinet on Tuesday by naming additional ministers and deputies, though none were women, according to the.
Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid spoke about the possibility of including women in the government, though he did not provide any specific details.
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After two decades and billions spent, Afghan government collapses as Taliban takes Kabul .
The Taliban, which for hours had been in the outskirts of Kabul, announced soon after they would move farther into a city gripped by panic.Embattled President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul, and American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from the U.S. Embassy.