A Journey Through Kabul, Afghanistan on the Day of the Fall-ZellaNews

By early afternoon, it was more and more clear that the authorities had collapsed, that the president and his entourage had gone. The indicators of it had been in the refrain of rumors, the individuals speeding dwelling, afraid to look again in the path from which the Taliban had been mentioned to have arrived. The streets had been emptying.

People moved shortly, looking for security. In an odd coincidence, they handed via mournful streetside commemorations of the eve of Ashura, which marks the day the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson was martyred. There had been gunshots, dashing automobiles and even tanks roaming the streets — nobody knew what belonged to whom. The Taliban later mentioned the vacuum had pressured them to enter the capital, to go off anarchy, somewhat than look forward to a extra gradual transition.

In the days since, Kabul has been a paradox that in some ways is reminiscent of the Taliban’s Nineties rule, regardless of the softer tone of their public statements.

On the one hand, petty crime is down, strolling the streets feels bodily safer, and the Taliban are touting the proven fact that past the airport, casualties of conflict — not lengthy after 50 to 100 individuals a day had been being killed — at the moment are near zero.

On the different hand, there are the scenes gripping the world. Young Afghan males falling to their deaths after clinging to an American evacuation aircraft. Thousands of Afghan households massed exterior the airport, hoping for any rescue in the final days of the Western withdrawal. The carnage of one other suicide bombing, and a promise of chaos to return, even for the Taliban.

Many individuals, together with those that are desperately making an attempt to flee, really feel a direct risk from the Taliban. But that is additionally about one thing larger: It is a few individuals giving up on a rustic.

After 40 years of violence, and so many cycles of false hope and deceptive lulls, what’s gripping the hearts of many Afghans is despair: the worry that this time might be no completely different, until it’s worse.

Mujib Mashal is a world correspondent for The New York Times who coated Afghanistan from 2015 via 2020, and is now based mostly in New Delhi. He is a local of Kabul.