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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 15, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm BST

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines: the rush to leave kabul, as the taliban make rapid advances, right to the edge of the afghan capital. the advancing taliban forces have set free prisoners from kabul�*s jail, but there are no confirmed reports of fighting within the capital itself afghanistan's interior minister says negotiations are taking place to ensure a peaceful transition of power and the city will not be attacked. taliban militants have rolled through the entire country in a matter of weeks. in a bbc interview, a spokesman says women will be safe if they wear the hijab. the policy is that women can have access to education and to work and of course, they will observe the hijab, that is it. here in the uk, the prime minister
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has convened a meeting of the government's emergency committee to discuss the situation in kabul. parliament has been recalled for one day on wednesday. welcome to bbc news if you're watching is in the uk around the world. taliban fighters have reached the outskirts of the afghan capital, kabul — after a lightning advance across the country. the militant group now controls all the other major cities in afghanistan and look to be on the verge of toppling the afghan government, although president ghani is yet to formally step aside. these pictures filmed by the bbc in kabul show people attempting to leave the city. the taliban said they are in talks with senior officials in president ashraf ghani's government on a peaceful transfer
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of power. and in the last hour, these images have emerged of us embassy staff being helicoptered to kabul airport. it comes as the secretary of state antony blinken has insisted the situation is �*patently not saigon�* — referncing vientma — it comes as the secretary of state antony blinken has insisted the situation is �*patently not saigon�* — referncing vientma — and argued the us had succeded in its mission. in a moment, we'll hear from the taliban spokesman who spoke to the bbc today about the group's plans for power. but first, with an update on all the latest developments here's our world affairs correspondent, paul adams. it's the final act, the fall of kabul. with the taliban closing in, those who can are leaving, taking what they can carry. and it's all happening without a fight. translation: the security forces i are in kabul providing security. | the international forces are also there to support us. yesterday the president in a meeting decided to send a delegation to doha
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to reach an agreement there. we will provide security until they reach an agreement. the enemy is spreading rumours. until a peace agreement, kabul will remain secured. and the taliban say they won't take kabul by force. negotiations are under way, their latest statement says, to ensure a safe, secure transition. our forces are instructed to stand at the gates of kabul and not try to enter the city. translation: they want us to avoid bloodshed - and destruction to our properties, the people and not to get a chance for plunderers, looters, who are waiting for sanction, moments to loot the properties of the people. but kabul is a place full of fear. tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting elsewhere are living on the streets, telling stories of abuses at the hands of the taliban.
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translation: the taliban came into our village in the night. - after a few days, we managed to escape as they were murdering the men and boys. they accused them of being in the army or the police. they were taken out of their homes and murdered because they worked for the government. away from the capital more success for the taliban, taking over the eastern city ofjalalabad bringing control of the vital road connecting afghanistan with pakistan. far to the west, they are cementing control over another strategic city, herat. in just two weeks, every major city has fallen and most provinces, leaving kabul surrounded and isolated. back at the capital the city's main prison is now in taliban hands. inmates are being let out. it is a pattern repeated across the country in recent days. personally, i hang my head in shame. the words "betrayal"
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and "abandonment", i think you used earlier, yalda, and that is what afghans feel, afghan colleagues, friends, afghans who have worked hard to build a modern afghanistan, worked hard as reliable allies and partners for us over the years. at the border with pakistan, afghans are fleeing. with or without fighting the taliban's takeover looks set to trigger a fresh wave of refugees. paul adams, bbc news. let's speak to our south asia correspondent, anbarasan ethirajan. here with the very latest. i do suggest breaking news. in here with the very latest. i do suggest breaking news. in the last few minutes. _ suggest breaking news. in the last few minutes, we _ suggest breaking news. in the last few minutes, we have _ suggest breaking news. in the last few minutes, we have a _ suggest breaking news. in the last few minutes, we have a hearing i suggest breaking news. in the last i few minutes, we have a hearing from abdullah abdullah, the head of the conciliation, in the peace talks in doha, he has given a message on facebook saying the ex—president has left the country, and that that means president ashraf ghani has left the country. that is what we
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understand, with tullow news, a respectable tv channel in afghanistan, saying that ashraf ghani with his talk team has left the country. so we are getting from two different sources, we have not heard anything from the palace about it, but it is coming from mr abdullah abdullah, he is part of the negotiations with what is going on in doha. so it looks like this is probably, that we do not know if he has resigned, still, to his left, but all we know is that calling —— according to mr abdullah, mr ghani has left the country. it is according to mr abdullah, mr ghani has left the country.— has left the country. it is only the one day since _ has left the country. it is only the one day since ashraf— has left the country. it is only the one day since ashraf ghani - has left the country. it is only the one day since ashraf ghani told . has left the country. it is only the i one day since ashraf ghani told the people of afghanistan where we will ensure your security, my priority is to re—mobilise the military to mobilise the country and defend the country because it had a this will
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be shocking for the people afghanistan, even the people of kabul, because there were chaotic scenes where people were worried about their future, scenes where people were worried about theirfuture, in scenes where people were worried about their future, in the reports of taliban on the outskirts, that led to people rushing to the airport, rushing to passport offices, rushing even to stop at food and worried about the safety and security. this food and worried about the safety and security-— and security. this is even a time for looters _ and security. this is even a time for looters to — and security. this is even a time for looters to have _ and security. this is even a time for looters to have a _ and security. this is even a time for looters to have a free - and security. this is even a time for looters to have a free day. l and security. this is even a time l for looters to have a free day. the government never came out and people at that point, it took a couple of them a few minutes before the ministers came out, talking about the transfer of power, and ashraf ghani was also was sure that the security of kabul, this is a city of 5 million people and the country of afghanistan itself. if it is true, if it is confirmed, this would be a big issue for the people, may be wondering about many different questions being raised and even if there is a transfer of power, it
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must be orderly. from the presidential palace about its departure, but mr abdullah abdullah who has part of the negotiations is saying that the whole thing is repeating. forthe saying that the whole thing is repeating. for the last ten days, the taliban was taking province after province, provincial capital after province, provincial capital after another, will it have any major figure from the government and coming out and leaving this country against the fight of the taliban militants, so the government was acting in accordance with many afghan people, i've been monitoring afghan people, i've been monitoring afghan social media, talking to people, so this will be a bakeshop once again for those in a couple and other parts of the country. —— couple. it other parts of the country. -- coule. ., .,, other parts of the country. -- coule. . , other parts of the country. -- coule. ., , couple. it almost sounds as if the afu han couple. it almost sounds as if the afghan government _ couple. it almost sounds as if the afghan government have - couple. it almost sounds as if the - afghan government have surrendered, and that the tell will take power. that is what the telephone once, they do not want a transitional government, they do not want to be seen that we are now sharing power
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with this government is because you would have to remember, they have never accepted this government of president ashraf ghani, they also said it was a puppet of the western regime, so they would not want to be seen as sharing power with some they do not like, they would even report that during the negotiations in the last few months, they were asking for the resignation of ashraf ghani, because they never liked it, they said that peace talks could continue he resigned, then they would think about it, there also talks of ministers talking about transitioning power and government, but the taliban are not interested of this. they want absolute power. they want to take over, that was the press release, they want to make it very clearly want a peaceful tra nsfer of very clearly want a peaceful transfer of power, they are not talking about transitional government. as we speak, quite a few delegations have reached pakistan, a group of afghan politicians, another group of afghan politicians, another group of afghan politicians, another group of elders who have agreed to
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go tomorrow to doha to see what kind of transfer of power they can have. negotiations are going on, but the taliban seems to be clearly conveying a clear message that they want the transfer of power as early as possible. 50 want the transfer of power as early as possible-— as possible. so who are the key faces or face _ as possible. so who are the key faces or face to _ as possible. so who are the key faces or face to watch _ as possible. so who are the key faces or face to watch indo - as possible. so who are the keyj faces or face to watch indo hard as possible. so who are the key i faces or face to watch indo hard as the taliban tries to assume power? —— in doha. the taliban tries to assume power? -- in doha-— the taliban tries to assume power? -- in doha. ., ., , ., , -- in doha. there have not been any names, -- in doha. there have not been any names. or— -- in doha. there have not been any names. or we _ -- in doha. there have not been any names, or we know— -- in doha. there have not been any names, or we know is _ -- in doha. there have not been any names, or we know is that _ -- in doha. there have not been any names, or we know is that mullah i names, or we know is that mullah baradar is the head, the face of the taliban group, so far in the negotiations he is a very senior leader, but who is going to be the key figures? back in kampl? that will be decided. —— three. there are the senior leaders who have been talking to the international community but if you look at the sequence of what is happening, it looks like the behind—the—scenes talks are happening, we saw the
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taliban on the gate this morning, on the outskirts this morning, and then we were talking about the transfer of power, the ministers, the taliban talking about it too, now we hear about present ghani leaving, so it looks in the next few days that we will see the telephone taking chance. —— resident ghani. will see the telephone taking chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for caettin chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for getting us — chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for getting us up _ chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for getting us up to — chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for getting us up to date _ chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for getting us up to date on _ chance. -- resident ghani. thank you for getting us up to date on an - for getting us up to date on an important moment of the fate of afghanistan. earlier my colleague yalda hakim spoke to taliban spokesman suhail shaheen about what they plan to do now. their properties, their lives are safe, there will be no restraint on anything. we are deserving of the people and of this country. our leadership had instructed ourforces to remain at the gate of kabul, not to enter the city,
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we are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power. when you say peaceful transfer of power, what do you mean? what is actually likely to happen? it means that the city and the power should be handed over to the islamic emirate of afghanistan and then we will have an afghan inclusion, islamic government, in which all afghans will have participation. when you say participation, do you mean one vote, one person? what do you mean by participation? participation means that we will have, in the government,
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other afghans, they will be a part in the future government. but it will fall under the umbrella of the government of the taliban? the islamic emirate, as you describe it? yes, there will be, as i said, an afghan inclusion, islamic government. will there be a delegation going to doha tomorrow to meet with mullah baradar? because there are a lot of rumours that he has arrived in kabul and the current president, ashraf ghani has handed power over to him. can you give our viewers some clarity on that, please? mullah baradar is here in doha, he has not gone to kabul, these are just rumours. there is also a lot of concern from women in afghanistan, in kabul, they have been writing to me, they have been texting me, they are concerned that
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you will reimpose the regime of the 90s back in afghanistan, where women could not go to school, where the girls could not go to school, they could not work. can you give us some clarity on what your plans that? ——what your plans are on that? we have taken already many...of the country, and also, many provinces of the country. there are hundreds of schools for girls in the west. there, the girl students are studying. they are there, there is no sanction on them, they are continuing their studies and they are going to schools, they were going in the past. in herat, for example, women are telling me that when they arrived at the gates of the university yesterday, taliban fighters told them to leave
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and that there would be instructions about whether they could attend university or not. that is what the fighters on the ground are telling the women of herat. what i'm telling is the policy, the policy is that women can have access to education and to work and of course, they will observe the hijab, that is it. when you say, the hijab, do you mean a headscarf on the head or a burqa covering theirface? no, burqa is not the only hijab, there are many types. one of them you can change. let's get more from bbc afghan service reporter ismael saadat who's in london. we are hearing reports that ashraf ghani has left afghanistan. i do not know if you are hearing the same, and can tell us whether people are really giving up on him. yes.
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and can tell us whether people are really giving up on him.— and can tell us whether people are really giving up on him. yes, i have also been hearing _ really giving up on him. yes, i have also been hearing the same - really giving up on him. yes, i have also been hearing the same and - really giving up on him. yes, i have also been hearing the same and on| also been hearing the same and on top of that, another taliban have said that they have told their men to enter kabul city, to fill the gap that has been left by the security forces. so it means that now the taliban are officially entering kabul city. this is after the statement this morning that they will wait at the gates of kabul and they will give time for the transition of power to take place peacefully. but it now looks like the afghan government side will not hold until this transition happens. is it your impression that this is a telephone orderfrom on high for
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fighters to enter the city or that it is just happening fighters to enter the city or that it isjust happening bit fighters to enter the city or that it is just happening bit by bit, sporadically? it isjust happening bit by bit, sporadically?— and they shared it with the media outlets, i think they say that there is because people willjust start plundering and looting, possibly private properties and the reason that they have ordered their forces to enter the city is to stop their plundering and looting of public properties. plundering and looting of public ro erties. ., plundering and looting of public preemies-— plundering and looting of public ro erties. ., ,., ,., , properties. there are some reports of shooting — properties. there are some reports of shooting being _ properties. there are some reports of shooting being heard _ properties. there are some reports of shooting being heard in - properties. there are some reports of shooting being heard in the - of shooting being heard in the streets of kabul, but that report is not necessarily from bbc sources. i do not know what you are hearing about the relative calm or otherwise? s, about the relative calm or otherwise?—
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about the relative calm or otherwise? �* ., ., ., , otherwise? a lot of rumours as the scenes were _ otherwise? a lot of rumours as the scenes were described, _ otherwise? a lot of rumours as the scenes were described, complete l scenes were described, complete state of panic and confusion from that morning, some of the opportunistic elements, they use the opportunity to come out and enter some of the government installations, some of the security posts, and i was told that in one security post, use of thugs, they entered and the security reporters... there is so much confusion, that no one knows exactly what is happening and... people have no idea. that was the presidential palace, they have just kept quiet, no statement has been issued, the head of the national defence installation, abdullah abdullah has
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asked the security forces and also the taliban to maintain some sort of law and order and before that, the former president posted a video message, together with his three daughters in order to assure the citizens of kabul that things will be ok and he called the taliban, on the afghan security forces to do their best, to maintain the law and order to give some sort of insurance to people. the interior ministry and the defence ministry also had a statement issued that kabul will be transferred peacefully, the power in kabul and the taliban will not enter, but the reality is that people are so scared, lots of panic there, the spread across the city,
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there, the spread across the city, the security forces and most of the outposts, they have been left their posts, the outposts have been abandoned. local people in some of those who wanted to use the opportunity to get what they get. thank you, we know you are in constant touch with people on the ground, thank you for bringing us up to date and bringing us that important line and it seems the taliban fighters are now going into the city, was at south asia editor is chasing this as well, so two very important and it's coming up in the last few minutes that ashraf ghani may have left afghanistan, that of course has been rumoured for a while now. and that's the taliban may have given orders to its fighters to say you do not have to stay at the city gates, you can enter the city. we are chasing those and we will bring you more on it. so much happening, something else we want to bring for you now, the uk foreign minister,
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dominic raab hasjust you now, the uk foreign minister, dominic raab has just tweeted this, saying he is sharing his deep concerns about the future for afghanistan with the foreign minister, may be a foreign minister who is on the way out, of course, agreeing it is critical that the international currency is united in telling the taliban violence must end and human rights must be protected. the taliban as they have been saying to the bbc today have also been saying that they do not want to take a cab or by force, they want a peaceful transfer of power, but the issue of the protection of human rights and perhaps, especially, the protection of women' —— women's rights is also another matter. we are keeping a cross for you on the ground, and also we want to get you more insight, from people who know and understand very well. jason dempsey served two tours in afghanistan when he was with the us military. now he is with the center for a new american security. jason, thank you for being with us. we are hearing the reports that
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ashraf ghani may have left and that taliban fighters may be entering kabul, but this is moving so fast. what is your emotional reaction first, what is happening? s, what is your emotional reaction first, what is happening? fix, lat what is your emotional reaction first, what is happening? a lot to rocess, first, what is happening? a lot to process. it _ first, what is happening? a lot to process, it has _ first, what is happening? a lot to process, it has been _ first, what is happening? a lot to process, it has been a _ first, what is happening? a lot to process, it has been a long 20 i first, what is happening? a lot to i process, it has been a long 20 years longer for process, it has been a long 20 years longerfor some of i'm calling in from a college town in the midwest united states, and you go down to the breakfast bars is morning and life is going onjust as it has life is going on just as it has for the last 20 years, with american public largely disconnected, from what is happening overseas. not necessarily the fault of their own, but it reflects a lack of engagement in the secondary effect and a lack of scrutiny over what we have been up of scrutiny over what we have been up to that has led us to this moment. up to that has led us to this moment-— up to that has led us to this moment. ~ ,, ., . ~ ., moment. when you say lack of scrutin , moment. when you say lack of scrutiny, what do _ moment. when you say lack of scrutiny, what do you - moment. when you say lack of scrutiny, what do you think- moment. when you say lack of. scrutiny, what do you think should have been realised? that wasn't? many realised long ago and even if
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you read carefully, from the akerson group, we knew that building a house of cards, —— the afghan study group, and if we kept propping up the afghan ministry, that by somehow, by magic, illegitimate government would come into being, that could gain the loyalty of that military, and use it effectively against the taliban. the problem was there was nobody ever working on that, and many of the things we were doing in building the afghan forces was working directly against our ability to build something that was going to last. when you think about the us military and other international forces working to build up the afghan security forces, and then you see how quickly they crumples, i don't know how much you feel condemnation or how much empathy for, i suppose, men and women who may be frightened, rudderless, leaderless? you
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men and women who may be frightened, rudderless, leaderless?— rudderless, leaderless? you nailed it. the challenge _ rudderless, leaderless? you nailed it. the challenge of— rudderless, leaderless? you nailed it. the challenge of the _ rudderless, leaderless? you nailed it. the challenge of the last - rudderless, leaderless? you nailed it. the challenge of the last few i it. the challenge of the last few days was not necessarily a reflection of afghan military competence, that is certainly a question in the way we designed it, but it was largely if you are out there, and you are not hearing from a central government that is giving you a clear and coherent message and is demonstrating the will to fight, then why would you? particularly if you are built and thrown into this hodgepodge military, they are not really sure who runs, because one of the fundamental flaws that we made is that we built a military that looked like hours on paper, but it did not reflect the true power structures behind afghan politics that ran a lot of the decisions of military search, instead of working with that, we in the us military just ignored it because it was too easy to just build something that looks like hours and throw a lot of
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money and fire power assets, and again, somehow it is hoped that by magic, an afghan state that could sustain this military would somehow be worthy and come into being. imilieu be worthy and come into being. when ou be worthy and come into being. when you mention — be worthy and come into being. when you mention talking _ be worthy and come into being. when you mention talking about building something that looked like hours, women's rights, maybe, women's education, judicial rights, education, judicial rights, education, that you mentioned, a lot of the infrastructure is seen in kabul in recent years, that people already start to mourn, that might not have been welcomed by large swathes of afghan people, outside kabul? ., , ., ., ., ., kabul? no. it is amazing how our abili , kabul? no. it is amazing how our ability. our— kabul? no. it is amazing how our ability, our lack _ kabul? no. it is amazing how our ability, our lack of _ kabul? no. it is amazing how our ability, our lack of empathy, - kabul? no. it is amazing how our ability, our lack of empathy, all | kabul? no. it is amazing how our| ability, our lack of empathy, all of us in the united states, everyone in the desert state is struggling with how you balance social change. 0ne how you balance social change. one of the sure ways you don't get it is ijy of the sure ways you don't get it is by taking a foreign military office and penning them into another country and saying hi guess what, we think we will go this direction. and
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so, particularly when you talk about women's rights, the embrace of democracy, all of these things that we would like to see, we absolutely should push for them, but it has to be done on an afghan timeline, and in afghan language, there is respectful of how they are coming. i do not have to like these taliban folks, who are just deathly afraid of women having power, i did have to like them, but i have two recognise what their neighbours will think when faced with foreigners telling them how a woman should live, when you have a crazy uncle who just happens to be a bit more extreme has an opinion on how women should live. the local will always win and so, a lot of this was about us wanting to impose change that we would not even accept in our countries on a foreign country, instead of building gradually, and within the reality of that country. you gradually, and within the reality of that country-— gradually, and within the reality of that count . ., ., , . that country. you have seen so much effort and money _ that country. you have seen so much effort and money and _ that country. you have seen so much effort and money and life _
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that country. you have seen so much effort and money and life given - that country. you have seen so much effort and money and life given it - effort and money and life given it to the cause of reshaping afghanistan. how would you feel about your country, your white house, dealing with the taliban if they are in power, do you think could make you think would you have to work with them? we could make you think would you have to work with them?— to work with them? we kind of have two, and part _ to work with them? we kind of have two. and part of— to work with them? we kind of have two, and part of the _ to work with them? we kind of have two, and part of the reason - to work with them? we kind of have two, and part of the reason we're i two, and part of the reason we're here is that previous administrations kept kicking the can down the road, they sold the american people of this promise that we can have everything and if you just kept avoiding an endgame, then you could just pretend, well, perfection is right around the horizon, let's not deal with failure or shortcoming now, there is a real reckoning that has to be taken here, both among the american military and the american people, about the limits of our ability to reshape foreign countries in our image. and foreign countries in our image. and if we aren't— foreign countries in our image. and if we aren't talking about limits and boundaries, what is the new red line for the us? is it the taliban harbouring internationaljihadists
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again? i harbouring international 'ihadists auain? ., harbouring international 'ihadists auain? ~ , , ., harbouring international 'ihadists auain? ~ , ., harbouring international 'ihadists auain? ~ , i. ., ~ again? i think beyond that, i think what i again? i think beyond that, i think what i would _ again? i think beyond that, i think what i would like _ again? i think beyond that, i think what i would like to _ again? i think beyond that, i think what i would like to see and - again? i think beyond that, i think what i would like to see and hope | again? i think beyond that, i think l what i would like to see and hope to see is, again, a lot of my comments should be dismissive of those in kabul, in this great generation of true afghan patriots, that are trying to build a better life, my heart goes out to them, that is the saddest part of it, they failure to truly serve them, but now we have to resort to tools other than the us military to promote those things. we have to work with international diplomacy, use aid money, instead of just setting it on fire for ridiculous construction of military projects and we might want to hold onto it and use itjudiciously as a little bit of care for the taliban, that there are things that they will and won't accept. we should know that there are... they don't want any of our money, but they are going to do what they are going to do, and we should create them as a pariah state and a wet red light —— red line there, as you allude, goes back to whether or not they are upfront
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to whether or not they are upfront to make fostering international terrorist with the interest of harming in a social democracy. —— international democracy. here in the uk, the government's emergency committee is meeting right now to discuss the situation in afghanistan, while parliament has been recalled for one day on wednesday. the mp tom tugendhat is chair of the uk's foreign affairs select committee. he's been telling us his concerns about the situation in afghanistan. it is heartbreaking. these are people that i and many other british soldiers, sailors and airmen served alongside for many years. i lived in afghanistan for four years and these people showed enormous courage in standing up and fighting alongside us. these are not foreigners, these are our brothers and sisters and seeing this destruction is absolutely heartbreaking, particularly when it was so unnecessary. 10,000 nato soldiers were maintaining a force of some 400,000 afghan troops,
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but, as we left, we stripped them effectively of their combat power and convinced them that there was no tomorrow. and, in doing so, we abandoned the afghan people and this is the result. this is the decision that president biden and other nato leaders have taken. 0ur political correspondent tony bonsignore is here. a cobra meeting now and parliament being recalled and a lot of talk about the uk's responsibility. yes. about the uk's responsibility. yes, and ou about the uk's responsibility. yes, and you heard _ about the uk's responsibility. yes, and you heard from _ about the uk's responsibility. yes, and you heard from tom _ about the uk's responsibility. 1a: and you heard from tom took on at a very emotional response as to what is happening there. he served in afghanistan and is not the only senior is happening there. he served in afghanistan and is not the only senior conservative is happening there. he served in afghanistan and is not the only senior conservative mp is happening there. he served in afghanistan and is not the only senior conservative mp to is happening there. he served in afghanistan and is not the only senior conservative mp to do is happening there. he served in afghanistan and is not the only senior conservative mp to do that. the chair of the commons defence committee is saying this is the chance for britain to step up and be brave and act, and if we don't, tobias ellwood said, history will
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judge the uk very harshly. you will hear lots of those sorts of contributions on wednesday in the house of commons, it will be a very emotive debate i think because of the extraordinary events of the past few days and because of what is at stake. i think the government will face difficult questions about the journey that has led us to hear, about the events of these few days in terms of getting people out safely, but also what is the longer term strategy to try and protect, as far as we possibly can, the people of afghanistan?— far as we possibly can, the people of afghanistan? there is a question about notjust _ of afghanistan? there is a question about notjust getting _ of afghanistan? there is a question about notjust getting out _ of afghanistan? there is a question about notjust getting out british i about notjust getting out british civilians, but the many afghans who have helped them. how many people should come? there will be a wider question as well about refugees. yes, and that question was brought up yes, and that question was brought up by the likes of tom tugendhat, lisa nandy, the shadow labour foreign secretary making that point today. but there are an awful lot of people, even though they are not uk nationals, who have supported the uk
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in the past two decades and who have been integral and now need supporting as a matter of urgency over the next few days. that is a point she made today, and i imagine a point that will come up on wednesday and beyond that. to hear someone like tobias ellwood say today that this could be a humanitarian disaster and in terms of what this will mean for refugees, how this will impact countries around the world, again something mps here in the uk, but across the world, policy makers across the world, policy makers across the world will be trying to grapple with it right now. world will be trying to grapple with it right now-— a reminder of the major developments in afghanistan. taliban militants say they are now entering teh capital kabul after a lightning advance across the country. the president ashraf ghani has left afghanistan and the taliban look set to take some form of control within days. roads out of kabul have been packed with people fleeing the taliban. the militant group has told the bbc
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they will respect the rights of women and allow a free media. as well as taking every major city, the taliban have captured more territory, including the former us airbase at bagram. the us has has begun evacuating staff from its embassy with chinook heliopters soon flying over the city another very symbolic vision today. earlier i spoke to michael 0'hanlon, senior fellow at the brookings institution in washington. he has written extensively on afghanistan. 0sama bin laden famously kept a book by michael on his book shelf. well, it is remarkable at one level. the whole thing is mind—numbing, even for those of us who have been following this and knew the possibilities and remember how fast the taliban fell 20 years ago. so we know afghans don't like to fight in a losing cause and therefore it's not entirely surprising that much of the government security forces would collapse like this. but given that they have, you wouldn't necessarily
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expect the taliban to negotiate over anything. i am still sceptical that they will. but it is fascinating. we are processing information as fast as it comes in and, as you just reported, the developments are happening by the hour at a pace that even in the annals of rapid military conquests and war is quite something. so i obviously hope and pray that somehow there could be an agreement whereby the taliban decided to basically say, we will at least make the effort to bring other voices into this government, to grant amnesties. it is more than i would have hoped for, frankly, and i am still not quite sure that it is going to happen, but i guess that is where we have to go now with our aspirations. the role of washington here, the united states, there is a huge amount of condemnation of the speed of the withdrawal of us troops. president biden is being very firm, that he saw no other option.
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he said give it another year, another five years, what difference would it make? how would you describe opinion in washington about that? well, i think first of all you are right to capture the debate in those terms. there is a lot of criticism of the biden decision. i think it was the wrong decision and also executed far too quickly. but also i think we are alljust processing what is happening. and some people who defend the president will say the fact that this whole house of cards has collapsed so fast has proved it really was a house of cards, which would seem to lend support to mr biden's view, that there was no point in keeping on with the mission that obviously was only building a shell of a government and security force. others of us would say afghans don't fight in a losing cause and if you pull the rug out so quickly and with so little warning and planning, which is what has happened in the last four months,
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then you increase dramatically the chances of this sort of catastrophe. i really think that, president biden's response notwithstanding, this is obviously not going to be a feather in his cap. the only question now is going to be about damage limitation. how do we show the world that in fact this president can be resolute on other problems and be a good ally on other problems when he, in myjudgment, was not resolute and was not a good ally in regard to afghanistan? michael, our reporterfrom ground zero on 9/11 knows as we all do what this has meant to people in the united states, but what you seem to be saying is that to a large extent the us mission of the last 20 years is revealed as a mirage? well, i'm afraid that these are debates that have happened elsewhere around the world. you know very well in britain,
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britain worked so hard and lost so many people in helmand province in afghanistan and basically decided a few years ago, sort of like what president biden has decided this year, that the effort was really not worth sustaining at that same kind of level. so i'm afraid this is not a debate that is unique to the united states and, you know, the issues are palpable and they are clearly before us, but i also think that, you know, there was a good case to keep doing what we were doing as of a year or two ago. 12,000 total nato troops was down more than 90% from the peak. it was enough to give the afghan forces some backbone. it was enough to allow a peace process to begin and over time, i think, there was a chance that the peace process could be resolved in a more favourable direction. so i think this will go down as a very sad and tragic day and also a bad decision by nato writ large. the united states is taking the brunt of it now, as we should,
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but other nato countries have been wrestling with the same questions, made some of the same kind of decisions, but on the whole an alliance that stuck for so long is coming out of this with a mission that may have kept terrorism at bay for 20 years, but obviously did not achieve its goals for afghanistan itself. let's look at that wider goal, to keep terror at bay. i was just talking to the former british defence secretary liam fox, and the first thing he had to say was remember the taliban harboured internationaljihadists, they could do so again. in terms of washington's interest right now where we have got to? will that be at the forefront of their minds in the white house and the pentagon? how many foreign fighters arejoining this cause and being harboured by them? yes, absolutely. and i think here we do have a number of tools that are different and much better from where we were 20 years ago. we have first of all showed the world we, nato, collectively, have showed the world that we are pretty good at responding even if the mission itself has not produced an afghanistan state
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that can hold together, we have shown 20 years of perseverance going after extremist threats. we decimated al-qaeda in the tribal areas of pakistan and in the parts of afghanistan where they had previously holed up. we showed a willingness through thick and thin to keep at this even when the mission had been unpopular, meaning that if we are struck again from afghanistan, i have no doubt that the united states and many nato partners will go back to do what is necessary to target the source of that violence. it doesn't mean we can build a state that will make it permanently stable and safe in afghanistan, but if there is an extremist sanctuary that develops again, our intelligence assets have a good chance of finding it and certainly our strike power is up to the job of going after it. i am sure that message will be delivered and reiterated and i think it is correct. michael 0'hanlon in washington. i can confirm to you now what we broke at the top of the hour with our
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correspondence, president ashraf ghani has fled the country. in a video message the chairman of the new delegation, abdullah abdullah, has confirmed that he has left the country, saying god will hold him accountable and the nation will also judge him. these are pictures of ashraf ghani earlier this week. just a day or so ago and he was telling the country that the security forces will hold them save and he meant to re—mobilise the military. now he has left the palace, left the city, left the country. confirming that president ashraf ghani has left afghanistan. we have been talking to people in afghanistan and from afghanistan throughout the day about what this means to them. mariam wardak, is a co—founder of the her afghanistan organisation which campaigns for gender inclusion in the country. here she is speaking earlier.
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i think that the public reacts, the negativity that is spreading across social media, is causing more of a concern to others around the world, more so than how the people are handling it on the ground. as you heard previously from your former speaker, she mentioned that some people were asked to return to their shops and stay and things would be back to normal. however, the fear, which is a normal reaction to what is happening, is what is causing the star more so than anything else. could the taliban have moved so fast with such success if they weren't supported by large numbers of people? supported by large numbers of --eole? ., , supported by large numbers of --eole? . , ., supported by large numbers of n-eole? . , . . . people? that is the main topic that i am so people? that is the main topic that i am so glad _ people? that is the main topic that i am so glad that _ people? that is the main topic that i am so glad that you _ people? that is the main topic that i am so glad that you brought - people? that is the main topic that i am so glad that you brought up. | i am so glad that you brought up. there is acceptance amongst the people for the taliban, and more so in the rural areas because of the
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tribal way they have approached the elders. afghanistan is a very tribal society and elders are the ones who make the decisions and are pretty much the architects of the future. that is why when you hear in some provinces the taliban are allowing schools, it is because of the pressure that the village elders have placed on the local taliban commanders that our girls must go to school. i think the influence of the elders is quite important on how it is going to structure the future. irate is going to structure the future. we are hearing now that a delegation of afghan elders will be going to doha for these talks with the taliban about how afghanistan will be run, what power will look like. do you have concerns about a generational difference? the gender difference here? as afghanistan's fate is decided again?— decided again? first, this delegation, _ decided again? first, this delegation, who - decided again? first, this delegation, who is - decided again? first, this delegation, who is part i decided again? first, thisj delegation, who is part of decided again? first, this - delegation, who is part of the delegation? is it a political delegation? is it a political delegation or is it the elders from
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the provinces? those who have made the provinces? those who have made the decisions and worked with the taliban were two and there are those who have also supported the government. when it comes to the representation of women it is obviously not there. the fact that ashraf ghani's administration did not send female, islamic scholars to speak to the afghan taliban is what the concern is. theological arguments are what have to take place in order to bring any type of freedom and progress to women because it is the religious narrative narrative that the taliban have been taking forward and one has to speak in their language. [30 have been taking forward and one has to speak in their language.— to speak in their language. do you think this is _ to speak in their language. do you think this is somewhere _ to speak in their language. do you think this is somewhere where - think this is somewhere where international pressure can help, where you are talking about education for women and girls? 0r might it prove counter—productive if the taliban is rejecting what the west stands for culturally? i think education for _ west stands for culturally? i think education for all _ west stands for culturally? i think education for all is _ west stands for culturally? i think education for all is very _ west stands for culturally? i think education for all is very importantj education for all is very important and i think that is a fact that
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afghan taliban one representation by the international community, that the international community, that the international community can sway them to allow education, to allow women to work. there is a huge society that has changed from a patriarchal society to a matriarchal society because of the number of men who have died. you also questioned me earlier about the generation transition, the generation transition, the generation transition is not only with the afghan population, it is also with the afghan taliban. the afghan taliban who ruled in the 1990s is not there any more. they have both evolved in certain ways and they have both got things they must negotiate on. the afghan taliban have to give up on certain things and so do the afghan people. if they want to live in a peaceful society. this may not work out to the benefit of those who have been able to experience the past 20 years of democracy, especially in kabul. but
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kabul has been quite disconnected from the rest of the country for the last 20 years and it is quite evident, especially with women, how quickly the provinces had handed over to the taliban. another aspect that we need to look at is what is the negotiation aspect? the international community should also not be involved in the superficial aspect of conversation, how women are dressed. this is articulated in religion and how they want to move forward. yes, there are certain questions about being chaperoned, especially when women don't have any more males in theirfamily especially when women don't have any more males in their family due to what happened, and the question of them being able to have economic independence and autonomy, that is a serious concern because i don't think women want to hold at their hand for any support from others. they are independent, strong, educated, and i believe they can move the country forward better than how the men have operated in the
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past 20 years. how the men have operated in the past 20 years— how the men have operated in the past 20 years. some of the themes she was touching _ past 20 years. some of the themes she was touching on _ past 20 years. some of the themes she was touching on were - past 20 years. some of the themes she was touching on were also - she was touching on were also brought up by a bbcjournalist from afghanistan. she has been talking to residents in kabul, many of them young women. very hard to digest what is going on in afghanistan for people. i've been speaking to one mother this morning, whose son has been working in the military and front line, injalalabad, which was taken over yesterday by the taliban, and she was telling me that she is trying hard to connect with her son by phone, but he is not answering. she called another relative who is working in the same place, in the military and he answered, he only said that we are ok, but we are not allowed to talk,
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so she does not know where her son is, how he is. she said that she lives near kabul airport and says that every minute they have an aeroplane going overhead, over the house, and it means a lot of people are leaving afghanistan and these people are left with nothing. no hope, no proper explanation of what is going on, no call of support for them, for mothers like her. remember she is a woman whose husband worked in the military, then her two sons are in the military, and this is just chaos and she is totally heartbroken. it has been very, very hard for many otherfamilies. i've spoken to friends in kabul and one was in the bank this morning, and she said suddenly chaos started and people started running away, getting out of cars and running away to a safe place. they were told that the taliban had just arrived and they needed to go to safety. she is a young woman who wanted to get money from the bank, she said the bank told them that they are empty, there is no money, just to go back home. streets are empty, many of the other people i have spoken to,
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who were working with the kabul police, were told to burn all the documents they have and leave their uniform and go home. it's a situation where people don't know how to make sense of it, it is total confusion, fear and worry. very much so, i am hearing very similar things. people are being told to take off your uniforms, burn your documents and go home. yes, go home. and these are people who have worked so hard in the last 20 years. one woman who i was speaking to said, "i spent the best years of my life that i could look after my kids, i could be with my kids but i spent it to build this country." what we are seeing now is fear of the regime coming in to stop us from work. as we know from other provinces, women have been told to go home and stay with their male relatives. we don't know what is going to happen in the next few days
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or the next few months. a lot of women don't know what is going to happen to them, but there is definitely a feeling of fear and worry in afghanistan. no one expected it to be so fast and so quick. i think that was what was so shocking for so many people. you speak to so many people who don't have passports, for example, because theyjust didn't expect that they would need it. one of my other friends who has been trying to leave afghanistan because it is not safe for him, he said he has been going to the indian embassy to get a visa for three days and the queues are so big that he cannot even talk to an official. what is going on? are they going to get a visa or not? and he said that they have been told that the taliban have told them they are free to go, but he says, "i don't know where to go, i don't trust what is coming and i don't have a way of escaping."
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so it is just like a feeling of desperation in afghanistan. no—one expected it like this. it is just everyone is waiting for the next minute, what is going to be announced, what is going be done. no—one knows what is going to happen next? no, no—one knows and all they want... i have some family members injalalabad which fell peacefully. there was no fighting. they said that we were told we could come back to our shops, but we are scared, i don't know how to go and open my shop, i don't know what is the next minute going to bring. it is just like that in kabul now. kabul is in a total mess. everyone is talking about it. one woman i was speaking to said, "if you look at afghanistan today, if you look at kabul, if you hear our residents, just remember we trusted the americans.
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do not trust americans when they say they are going to liberate you, they don't, they leave you in the middle of the night and they abandon you." that is how they feel. i think one thing we shouldn't forget and we need to point it out, is the gains of the last 20 years. so while people talked about a weak, corrupt government, there were so many women, extraordinary people, who took the freedoms and opportunities and made something of it. yes, you know, you go to afghanistan quite frequently, more than me, and you saw all the progress that women made, the progress that girls made, the progress that young men made. i remember 20 years ago when we were broadcasting from the bbc there were hardly any english speakers, but now we have an army of english speakers. this means in the last 20 years there was a thirst for education and they grabbed it and they learnt and they digested it and they made such progress, they went abroad, they got education, they went back home to build their country and now
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suddenly all of those people i know arejobless, all of those people i know are sitting at home waiting for the next minute what to do. not trusting the politicians, not trusting the americans, not trusting the other international community that was there. i am seeing kids on the street crying because they don't have milk, they don't have proper food. it is just a heartbreaking situation and ijust don't know how to, myself personally because i am afghan and i have worked for women and girls so hard, it is just so heartbreaking. with so many displaced people already struggling on the ground, here's an update from unicef�*s chief of field operations and emergencies in kabul — mustapha ben messaoud, talking about his concerns for people in afghanistan.
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i think we have been quite vocal about the humanitarian concern and needs affecting afghanistan right now. you have seen and heard about the 360,000 people that have been pushed on the move because of the conflict. we have also reported on the number of children killed since the number of children killed since the beginning of the year and that number is unacceptable, standing at more than 500. but at the same time we have been having discussions and meetings with the taliban leadership in the various towns that are now under their control. the latest engagement that we had with them, this morning injalalabad, where we discussed how humanitarian, especially unicef in this case, will be able to resume their activity and those activities are really life—saving interventions at this stage.
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life-saving interventions at this sta . e. ~ life-saving interventions at this state. ~ ., life-saving interventions at this state. ~ . , ., life-saving interventions at this state. . , ., ., , ., stage. we have 'ust had a statement from the uk — stage. we have just had a statement from the uk foreign _ stage. we have just had a statement from the uk foreign office _ stage. we have just had a statement from the uk foreign office saying i stage. we have just had a statementj from the uk foreign office saying we have reduced our diplomatic presence in response to the situation on the ground. 0urambassador in response to the situation on the ground. 0ur ambassador remains in kabul and uk staff are working to provide assistance to british nationals and afghan staff. we are doing all we can to enable remaining british nationals who want to leave afghanistan to do so. that is from the british foreign office. also speaking at the last few hours, we have heard from the us secretary of state, anthony blinken. he has said, this is not saigon, in reference to vietnam in 1975. he said the us had succeeded in its mission and he said the evacuation of american staff from the us embassy in kabul was being done in a safe way. he added it was in america's interests to no longer be in afghanistan. that is what is going to be debated both in washington, in the uk parliament when it is recalled for a one—day debate on afghanistan this
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wednesday, politicians, diplomats, the experts looking back at what the last 20 years has been about, the mission has been accomplished, what has been done in terms of security and in terms of an element of nation—building in afghanistan. and now, of course, everyone is dealing much quicker than expected with a new reality. as we have heard in the last few minutes, ashraf ghani, the president, has left the country. just to remind you of the major developers we have been seeing. taliban militants say they are now entering the capital, they have been asked to stay back at the gates of kabul, but they are now entering the capital. the taliban has said it is not interested in fighting, it does not interested in fighting, it does not want a violent takeover, it is looking for a peaceful transition of power over the next few days. what we are hearing is the afghan president has left the country, key talks will take place outside
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afghanistan in doha with the taliban in the next 2a to 48 afghanistan in doha with the taliban in the next 24 to 48 hours, the idea being there will be a peaceful transition of power in afghanistan to the taliban within the next few days. we will keep you up—to—date on bbc news. i know it is time for a look at the weather. hello, warmth and sunshine does not feature very much in the forecast for the week ahead, certainly a cool start to the new week as we pick up a north—westerly wind. for much of the week, it could be mainly dry, but often cloudy and that is certainly the situation today. we have these slow—moving frontal systems across the uk, bringing a lot of cloud and also further outbreaks of rain. heavy and frequent showers across the north of scotland. further south across scotland and northern england, we have this zone of patchy rain which will be sliding its way southwards, some sunshine there as well. and across wales and south—west england, we have clouds and showers and those are likely
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to stay this afternoon. further east, drier, but we can't rule out some showers and the best of the sunshine is further east and the highest temperatures too. this evening and overnight, much of the rain across england and wales will ease. we still see some showers pushing their way across scotland, perhaps into northern england, sometimes, but with a variable cloud elsewhere. the clearer skies across eastern are scotland where we could see temperatures dipping down to around 6 degrees. further south in the uk, temperatures get to 12—14 c. the new week starts off like this, the area of low pressure pulls away into scandinavia, the area of high tries to build across the atlantic. notice the wind direction, a north—westerly wind, a cool wind at any time of the year. it will feed in lots of cloud and some showers. most will be dry but after a cloudy start, some sunshine develops across eastern counties of scotland and england. in the sunshine, 19—21 , where we have the cloud, just 15—17. with a north—westerly wind,
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it will feel cool as well. through tomorrow evening we'll see some more persistent rain pushing across parts of western scotland, northern ireland and into the far north of england. tuesday, little change in the pressure pattern we still have this area of low pressure in scandinavia, the high across the atlantic and the cool north—westerly wind. spells of rain across east anglia and into the morning those will clear away, lots of cloud again, maybe one or two showers. most will be dry, but i think sunshine in limited supply. temperatures typically in the range of 16—20. not much change in the week ahead, quite quiet, often cloudy, but may be some showers developing towards the end of the week.
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this is bbc news — our top breaking story this hour for viewers watching in the uk and around the world: the rush to leave kabul as taliban fighters enter the capital of afghanistan. president ghani has fled the country. the taliban say they want to prevent looting in kabul. there are reports of shooting in several parts of the city. the militants have rolled through the entire country in a matter of weeks. in a bbc interview, a spokesman says women will be safe, if they wear the hijab. the policy is that women can have access to education and to work. and of course, they will observe the hijab, that is it. helicopters ferry us diplomats from their embassy, but the us secretary of state says the two decade long
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us military operation in afghanistan was a success.

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