By Isabella Brady
Sunday, August 15th marked the end of the two-decade U.S. campaign to amend Afghanistan, as Taliban fighters swept into the capital. Having previously claimed nearby urban centers, the group gained executive command following President Ashraf Ghani’s exile; wielding the collapse of political order.
The rapid domination of the Sunni-Islamist national group left U.S. troops with little time to evacuate, and the Afghani capital gripped in fear. Troops hastily destroyed documents, as evacuation plans materialized; ending the “forever war”. In one of the largest airlifts in history, western forces successfully evacuated 120,000 people, yet left many panicked citizens behind. Afghani citizens, desperate to escape, emptied bank accounts in hopes of reaching safety abroad, while lower socioeconomic groups were left to gather in public locations. Dire circumstances led to violence in Kabul’s international airport, as civilians stormed the U.S. evacuation mission, some hanging from the sides of airplanes in flight —plummeting to their deaths.
Today, Afghan citizens are concerned for the decline of women’s rights which will likely ensue with the takeover, and many are fearful for their lives. The brief evacuation period left many Afghans who collaborated with the U.S. in their prior conflict with the Taliban. Thus, the extremist group possesses biometric resources which contain the eye scans, fingerprints and biographical information of these citizens and their families; in danger of Taliban retaliation.
Concern has arisen regarding the military resources left behind. With an estimated 85 billion dollars worth of equipment left behind, the Taliban proves more powerful than decades ago. Some question if they will sell the valuable materials to U.S. rivals China and Russia, while others speculate the airplanes, helicopters, and powerful weapons among other resources, might prove efficient for promoting Taliban control and ideology in coming weeks without foreign intervention, perhaps even on U.S. soil.