The world is watching in horror as the Taliban reclaims control in Afghanistan following the hasty U.S. troop withdrawal coordinated by the Biden administration.
As thousands of Americans and allies desperately attempt to escape the war-torn country, there is already evidence that Taliban fighters have resumed their bloody campaign of terror.
“The Taliban is coming”
Several protesters have reportedly been killed across Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s assurances that it now represents a more moderate force within the nation.
Since claiming control on Sunday, Taliban leaders have insisted that they will govern with more tolerance than the group did two decades ago — but many Afghan citizens are not convinced and are struggling to reach Kabul’s international airport in a last-ditch bid to flee.
In one devastating scene caught on camera, a tearful Afghan woman begged U.S. soldiers for help. She can be seen shouting that “the Taliban is coming” as she reaches through a razorwire fence.
Help us Taliban are coming our homes. 💔 pic.twitter.com/U1CBqdcaBE
— Aftab Baloch (@aftabnaseer6) August 18, 2021
Images also surfaced on Monday that appeared to reveal individuals fall to their deaths from a cargo airplane shortly after takeoff.
“Contrary to their public statements”
At least a dozen Afghan nationals have been killed at the airport after being trampled or shot, in some cases by U.S. soldiers guarding the airport. While some individuals have died while attempting to flee, others were killed in protests against the nascent regime.
For his part, President Joe Biden has promised to aid in the evacuation of thousands of refugees as many Americans remain stranded behind enemy lines.
Of course, the White House’s messaging has been less than reassuring for those directly impacted by the chaos. As the Taliban sets up checkpoints in Kabul, the Pentagon has warned that U.S. troops can no longer protect Americans attempting to make their way to the airport.
“We have seen reports that the Taliban, contrary to their public statements and their commitments to our government, are blocking Afghans who wish to leave the country from reaching the airport,” State Department spokesperson Wendy Sherman acknowledged, according to CNBC.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin set his sights somewhat lower than the president, conceding that the American military cannot “go out and extend operations currently into Kabul” but vowing that the Pentagon will “evacuate everybody that we physical can” for “as long as we possibly can.”