Monday, August 8

Aziz Ullah, Afghan refugee in Spain: “We feel completely abandoned, the United States and NATO have betrayed us”

The takeover by the Taliban of the city of Kabul, capital of Afghanistan and home to almost four and a half million people, has been the final touch to the spectacular collapse of the Afghan government, which began to rush just ten days ago before the offensive of the fundamentalists. Therefore, two decades of international intervention with the United States at the head end in the worst possible way and many doubts arise. What use have been the billions of dollars of the American taxpayer invested according to Joe Biden himself? Why have the more than 240,000 victims of the conflict died?

Another key question, perhaps the most, is what will happen now to the Afghans who, until a week ago, lived under the umbrella of the Afghan Government and the International Community. The images of the hundreds of people crowded on the runways of Kabul airport, desperately trying to get on a plane to escape the country, give an example of the panic of what is to come. However, these people represent only a fraction of the population, that of those who have been able to afford to pay for the plane ticket. Behind, millions of men and women remain abandoned to their fate.

Aziz Ullah arrived in Spain on November 2, 2007, after fleeing Afghanistan across the border with Iran. From there he crossed to Turkey, then to Greece, Italy, France and finally reached Valencia, where he currently resides. In his case, he was forced to leave the country due to problems related to his brothers and uncles being part of the Government. Aziz knows what it is to be a refugee and is clear about what the coming to power of the Taliban means.

“Life will change for everyone, mainly for women and young people. Women will lose the rights that they had gained, the Taliban do not want women to work in public, they want them to stay at home and they will not allow them to leave there at all. We know that the Taliban are beginning to look for girls who have already reached twelve years (marriageable age for them) and widows, to give them in marriage to their members and soldiers. Everything will start as soon as nobody looks, “says the Afghan.

Through their networks and the recently captured television studios in Kabul, the Taliban insist on sending a message of forgiveness and security towards those who, until hours ago, were their enemies. For Aziz, however, it is only a matter of time before the fundamentalists show their true faces. He explains that the Afghans think that nobody is going to help them, and that the Taliban will tighten the siege little by little until, once they secure themselves in power, “they will begin to impose their justice.”

Just three months after the start of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was leaving the country to “avoid bloodshed.” According to the spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Kabul, Nikita Ishchenko, Ghani’s entourage consisted of “four cars full of money and they tried to put another part in a helicopter. It did not have enough capacity and some of the money was thrown on the track” .

“The army did not negotiate, it was the president who surrendered for them,” says Aziz. “Basically, it has taken everything it could. With all the money that has entered Afghanistan … if that money had entered any other country, there would no longer be poor people. But in Afghanistan 80% of the population lives in poverty. “, he laments. One of the biggest dramas, he explains resignedly, is that many people were against the government because there was “too much corruption.” But that the population lived “trapped between a corrupt government and the Taliban.”

During the last hours, however, the fence has been completely closed and the options are reduced to that “on the tracks the Americans will kill you, but if you go outside the Taliban will shoot to get you back inside.” Notes with threats of imminent punishment from the fundamentalists begin to arrive as the helicopters take off.

“We Afghans feel completely abandoned, the United States and NATO have betrayed us. Twenty years have passed in Afghanistan to end up handing over power to the Taliban. Not that it was okay so far, but you could live. Now they are leaving us. a country destroyed and they abandon us. Everyone is desolate and desperate, “laments Aziz.

The storm is approaching Europe

Amid a storm to try to evacuate diplomatic personnel from Kabul airport, European governments are already setting their sights on the more than likely looming refugee crisis. Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, countries bordering Afghanistan, have been preparing for days to face a flow of immigrants that, from the International Organization for Migration, is estimated at more than 30,000 refugees a day.

Earlier this month, despite the already dramatic situation, the interior ministers of Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece or Belgium, sent a joint letter to the European Commission asking not to stop the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers. rejected because it would send a “wrong signal”.