/ 16 August 2021

Afghanistan’s government has collapsed

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Officials have confirmed that President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country for Tajikistan after the Taliban entered the capital Kabul through its 4 main gates yesterday morning local time. Since then, the Islamist militants have seized the presidential palace and are now set to take control of the nation. It’s been 20 years since they were booted out of power by the US and coalition forces, including Australia, for providing safe-harbour to terror groups like al Qaeda.

WHOA THAT HAPPENED QUICKLY…
It sure did. Just last week, reports cited US intelligence that said the Taliban would have control of the capital within 3 months – and that was alarming… It’s been a dramatic few days in Afghanistan with the Taliban seizing the key strategic cities of Jalalabad in the east and Mazar-i-Sharif in the north. These maps show how much things have changed in 3 months, and the events of the last 7 days were described as “the single most stunning week in 2 decades of war”. And then came the events of the last 24 hours when the Taliban’s lightning-quick advance on Kabul has caught many locals and the world by surprise. Reports say that little force has been used by Taliban fighters. “We want to enter Kabul with peace, and talks are underway,” said spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
It’s all unfolding now, so a lot. Doha, Qatar is where the main players are – talks between the US and others with the Taliban’s leadership convened there last week. Reports this morning say government members are on their way there now to discuss “the orderly transfer of power”. Yesterday morning, PM Scott Morrison said arrangements were being made to get Aussies and locals we want to protect out, but a lot has happened since then… As for the US representatives there, it’s been a scramble likened to the fall of Saigon in 1975. Blame for the collapse is already being levelled at US President Joe Biden. He is copping heat at home and abroad despite broad understanding that the recent withdrawal of US troops was bringing an end to America’s “forever war”. It’ll be a big day ahead, so watch this space…

Image source: The New York Times

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