- Life has rapidly changed in Kabul after the Taliban seized the Afghan capital.
- Taliban fighters told CNN reporter Clarissa Ward to stand to the side because she’s a woman.
- One Taliban commander told Ward that “everything is under control, everything will be fine.”
Taliban fighters ordered CNN reporter Clarissa Ward to stand to the side because she’s a woman, in one of many signs that life in the Afghan capital of Kabul has changed overnight since the militant Islamist group retook the city on Sunday.
“They’ve just told me to stand to the side because I’m a woman,” Ward said, noting that while some Taliban fighters on Kabul’s streets have appeared “friendly” the “welcoming spirit only extends so far and my presence soon creates tension.”
Ward said that it was “utterly bizarre” to find Taliban fighters behaving in a relatively amicable way as they could simultaneously be heard chanting “Death to America!”
One Taliban commander told Ward that “everything is under control, everything will be fine” and “nobody should worry.” The commander’s message to America was that it already spent “enough time in Afghanistan” and needs to leave. “They already lost lots of lives and lots of money,” the commander said.
Some of the Taliban fighters held US weapons, Ward said, adding that she has seen “far fewer women” than usual on Kabul’s streets and those she has encountered “tend to be dressed more conservatively than they were when they were walking down the streets of Kabul yesterday.”
—New Day (@NewDay) August 16, 2021
The Taliban’s rapid seizure of the Afghan capital, as well as other major cities in recent days, has stunned the Biden administration and led to widespread criticism of how the US has handled the withdrawal of troops from the country.
The US has evacuated its embassy in Kabul, and sent in 6,000 additional troops to help. But the situation on the ground remained uncertain and chaotic on Monday, with Afghans who helped the US during the war desperate to leave the country — leading to harrowing scenes at the Kabul airport.
The Taliban said it would grant amnesty to all those who helped the US or the US-backed government, but history provides many reasons to be skeptical of this claim.
“Thousands of Afghans at serious risk of Taliban reprisals — from academics and journalists to civil society activists and women human rights defenders — are in danger of being abandoned to a deeply uncertain future,” Amnesty International said in a tweet on Monday.