It’s over. The collapse of the Afghan government is now complete. Ashraf Ghani is in exile, and the Taliban have almost complete control of Kabul. Afghanistan has been declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by its new Taliban leaders. In an exclusive press conference given to al-Jazeera from the captured presidential palace, Taliban leaders explained that their main goal is to create an “open, inclusive Islamic government.” ISIS made similar claims in the early days of its rise and those words were empty of sincerity and meaning. Expect nothing more from these statements by Taliban leaders. Right now it’s about public relations with the group eager to obtain recognition for its new state. Unlike 1996, there will be a handful of nation-states that will be consider recognizing Afghanistan’s new government. China and Iran are the two most recognizable ones.
At Kabul’s airport, the evacuation continues on as additional US forces arrive and the security perimeter there is reinforced and expanded. The main concern at the moment appears to be securing the airport’s runways and facilities. Hundreds of Afghans have already attempted to rush the airfield. The security situation has deteriorated to the point that the Pentagon to double the number of troops assigned to the airport security operation from 3,000 to 6,000. There are also British troops in Kabul, contributing to the operation. Canada had promised to send a contingent of its own troops to Kabul to assist in evacuating the Canadian embassy staff, however I’m unaware if they’re on the ground now or not.
In the coming days and weeks there will be a lot of speculation about Afghanistan’s future and the effect the Afghan collapse will have on US interests in the region and around the world. It’s still to early to provide definitive answers, but the future doesn’t appear bright for the Afghan people under Taliban rule, to say the least. The same holds true for US foreign policy and the Biden administration. Try as he might, Joe Biden cannot deflect blame for this catastrophe onto his predecessor.
As for this blog, Afghan updates will continue for at least another day. Then we’ll move on to events in other parts of the world, and later in the week the North Korean Collapse project will resume.