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Taliban fighters sit over a vehicle on a street in Laghman province on August 15, 2021. The group has now entered the Afghan capital, Kabul Image Credit: AFP

The Taliban appears to have completed their takeover of Afghanistan as new reports say the militant group’s fighters have entered the capital, Kabul, with little resistance.

The group’s capture of major cities was expected all along, ever since the US announced it was withdrawing its troops, but the speed in which those cities fell to the Taliban surprised even the most sceptic experts.

The capital will most probably surrender in the next few hours. It is possible that the Afghan government officials, who are still in Kabul, are now negotiating with Taliban commanders the terms of surrender. Credible reports said that in the last few days, following the fall of major cities like Ghazni, Herat, Qala-i-Naw and Lashkar Gah, some Taliban fighters have been engaged in abductions and reprisal killings.

Taliban has denied these reports but witness reports — from civilians who fled to Kabul and its surroundings in the last few days — have confirmed some of those allegations.

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The international community has practically given up on the Afghan people, including the United States, which is currently engaged in talks with the Taliban to ensure that its embassy is not attacked and has sent 5,000 troops to evacuate the embassy staff and other US citizens.

The threat of mass killing is thus credible and present. History of Taliban shows that they have in the past murdered opponents and others of different ethnic groups. Therefore, the world must step in, at least diplomatically to ensure the safety of the Afghan population — since there seems to be no will in standing up militarily to the Taliban advance by Kabul’s allies or neighbouring countries.

Responsibility of neighbours

Regional actors, mainly Russia, Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia, Central Asian states and China all have different levels of ties and open communication with the Taliban. They have a responsibility to leverage their influence to prevent mass murder and avoid the otherwise expected military take over of Kabul, which will certainly be bloody.

Nations may take time to chart future relations with the extremist group. Today, the priority is to save the lives of the Afghan people, as government forces seems to have either surrendered or run away. The Americans are leaving in hurry without looking back.

Afgainstian is in a human and economic crisis. If Taliban persist on their military course, hundreds of thousands more will be displaced inside their country or flee to neighbouring countries creating further problems to the region. It is in the interest of Afghanistan and its neighbours to prevent this otherwise imminent catastrophe.