Correspondent in New York
There are barely two days until the last US military plane leaves Kabul and it is a fact that tens of thousands of Afghans who collaborated with the US, others who are at risk and their families will remain in the country, with the threat of the Taliban in power.
Yesterday, the governments of a hundred countries, led by the United States and with the presence of Spain, signed a joint statement in which they claim to be “committed to ensuring” that these Afghans, in addition to the nationals of their countries, who can remain in Afghanistan, they “can travel freely to destinations” outside the country.
The truth is that that commitment is in the hands of the Taliban, who have controlled practically all of Afghanistan for two weeks and who from the beginning have assured that they will give “free rein” to whoever wants to leave the country. That contrasts with reports of retaliation by the Taliban against political enemies and house-to-house searches.
According to the signatories, the Taliban have given “guarantees” that all those with “authorization to travel from our countries” will be able to do so and that they will continue to “issue travel documentation” for Afghans.
This whole process is in doubt. It is not clear who and how the Kabul airport will be operated – the Taliban have held talks with Turkey and Qatar to do so – what kind of controls will be in place to access it and how Afghans who wish to do so will be able to access their travel permits. .
Without diplomatic representation
The US, for example, while promising to facilitate the trip has confirmed that there will be no diplomatic representation in Afghanistan as of Tuesday, the day on which the deadline for the departure of its troops closes. He assured it yesterday in an interview with ABC News. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which reiterated that it will not make a US diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and that it will only recover “in the coming weeks or months” depending on the behavior of the Taliban.
The US has insisted that it will continue the evacuation task until the last moment, although this has slowed down a lot, with the military planes also dedicated to the withdrawal of the 5,800 contingent that the Biden Administration assigned to leave Afghanistan.
Thirteen of those soldiers died in the terrorist attack last Thursday in Kabul and yesterday the US president, Joe Biden, approached Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, to receive their coffins. Biden was accompanied by Blinken, as well as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin; the Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley; and the first lady, Jill Biden.
Biden watched the coffins, covered with the US flag, be moved with his hand over his heart. Eleven of them belonged to the Marine Corps, one from the Navy and one from the land army. It was the first time that Biden was witnessing the arrival of Americans who died on a military mission. Before the transfer, Biden had an encounter with relatives of the dead soldiers.