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More provinces, atrocities for rioting Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan – As the Taliban's white victory flag flies over other provincial capitals of Afghanistan, people across the country are flocking to the capital to escape the escalating war, strain resources, drive up food and fuel prices and the To strain your nerves. The call to flee the country grows as borders are closed and the outflow of people and the influx of vital goods are stifled.

The insurgents have surrounded the country and besieged the cities. They now control most of the inland border passes. Billions of dollars in customs revenue are being lost to the insolvent government. More than a million people have been displaced by fighting and inflation is in double digits.

KABUL, Afghanistan – As the Taliban's white victory flag flies over other provincial capitals of Afghanistan, people across the country are flocking to the capital to escape the escalating war, strain resources, drive up food and fuel prices and the To strain your nerves. The call to flee the country grows as borders are closed and the outflow of people and the influx of vital goods are stifled.

The insurgents have surrounded the country and besieged the cities. They now control most of the inland border passes. Billions of dollars in customs revenue are being lost to the insolvent government. More than a million people have been displaced by fighting and inflation is in double digits.

Assaults and atrocities by the Taliban in the areas overrun by them are spreading terror. By Monday, six of the country's 34 provinces had fallen to the Taliban: Nimroz, Jowzjan, Sar-i-Pul, Takhar, Kunduz and Samangan, in that order since Friday. Helmand's capital Lashkar Gah and the eponymous capitals of the provinces of Kandahar and Herat are threatened, with insurgents being present in all three cities. Social media videos showed the Taliban near Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province. Government security sources would only confirm the fall of Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz, saying the fighting is continuing elsewhere.

Many inside and outside Afghanistan blame the Biden administration for the current catastrophe, as the rapid withdrawal of US forces is mandated in the bilateral agreement that former US President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban in 2020 , as good as complete. As a transitional measure, US air support against Taliban positions in major cities has intensified in recent days, and US President Joe Biden has promised more.

But the problem is closer to home. Combat operations by the US and NATO ended in 2014 and left most of the fighting to the Afghan armed forces for more than five years before Trump's so-called peace agreement was signed. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government did little to prepare, leaving ground forces with no leadership, strategy, or even supplies as the Taliban grew bolder.

"I would like to believe this was a stress test for the government – one it has certainly failed so far," said a domestic charity source who asked not to be named as it was not authorized to join to speak to the authorities media. With its back to the wall, the source expects the government to find new courage. "From then on we will see a turnaround and the government will finally have learned that it cannot hold out its hand and bury its head in the sand forever."

A direct consequence of the Taliban attack is a massive internal exodus. According to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, more than 158,000 families in two dozen provinces were displaced by fighting between April and early June. With an average of six family members, the estimated number of displaced people is more than 950,000 in just three months, said Shaharzad Akbar, the commission's head.

In one presentation Before an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, she described the first half of this year as the bloodiest for Afghan civilians since 2009 1,677 civilians, including women and children, were killed and 3,644 civilians injured. "If the current rate of violence continues, I must be heartbroken to say that there could be a dismal new record of civil damage by the end of this year," she said.

Most seem to be fleeing towards the already overcrowded capital, Kabul, although it is impossible to know how many will flood a city built for 500,000 people and now home to an estimated 7 million people.

“The situation is pretty bad. Day and night people from Mazar, Helmand, Sheberghan from all over the country move to Kabul. Unless there is a truce soon, we will continue to see these scenes, ”Akbar said Foreign policy.

The capital's population could grow by another 3 million people in the coming months, said Qais Mohammadi, an economics professor at Kardan University, with the likelihood of unrest as people protest the lack of services like electricity. Inflation is 10 to 20 percent, he said; Gasoline prices have nearly doubled since May, cooking oil is up 25 percent, and wheat is up a third in the last month. Also the rents are supposedly increasing as population influx affects demand.

“The economic situation will get worse. Prices have increased by more than 30 percent. But it is not measurable in the conflict areas, ”he said. "The supply is difficult, and everything that is available is sold at extremely high prices, so the seller can get out too."

Economic difficulties are exacerbated by a return to the Taliban's worst atrocities of the 1990s. The Taliban resumed their campaign of targeted killings on Friday with the assassination of Dawa Khan Manipal, a former journalist, presidential spokesman and head of the government's media and information center. Almost 100 journalists from across the country are in safe houses in Kabul after they fled the provinces, according to media representatives Death threat.

Many families are sending women and girls to the capital for fear of the Taliban's atrocities after reports from across the country reported that women were being killed because of Forced marriageeffective sex slavery – to Taliban fighters. As the attack on the Nimroz capital, Zaranj, intensified on Thursday, photos and videos of atrocities on the Taliban battlefield, including captured soldiers tortured and maimed, as well as reports of rape, kidnapping and summary executions in many combat zones, circulated.

And the Taliban are returning to the extremist version of Islam they advocated during their rule of the country in the 1990s. An Afghan researcher who recently visited Taliban-controlled districts in Herat province on condition of anonymity said women were forced to stay in their homes and described the insurgents' practice of appearing in large numbers and demanding food . People who resisted were shot, she said.

A letter circulating in Herat, seen by Foreign policy, lists activities banned by the Taliban and reflects their extremist regime from 1996 to 2001. Some of these include girls who have been banned from school, women who have been locked up at home and forced to wear a full hijab, and boys who have been forced to recite the Quran by heart. Other prohibited activities include drug and alcohol use, dog fighting, and women leaving their homes without male relatives.

Hazaras, a widely discriminated Shiite minority, feel particularly vulnerable. A Kabul community source said the city's estimated 2 million Hazaras would begin to arm themselves and predicted large militias would soon be patrolling west of Kabul where they are concentrated. Militias fighting alongside the security forces have sprung up across the country, raising concerns that the stage is being set for civil war.

As the chaos spreads, the US and UK governments have advised their citizens to Leave Afghanistan right away. These public warnings at a time when emigration visas are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain only exacerbate public panic, Mohammadi said.

“The borders with Pakistan, Iran and Uzbekistan are closed. India only issues medical visas. Visa processing for Turkey takes a long time. Diplomatic missions send their citizens to leave immediately. This gives one final blow to the crisis – people believe the country is going to fall apart, ”he said.

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