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Fears Rise About Safety of Afghan Airport as U.S. Warns Americans to Stay Away

Fears Rise About Safety of Afghan Airport as US Warns
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On Saturday, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, wrote on Twitter that the Taliban had set up a three-member committee to “address media problems in Kabul.” He did not elaborate.

A Taliban official said Saturday that the group’s co-founder, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had arrived in Kabul for talks aimed a forming a new government. On Tuesday, Mr. Baradar, who oversaw the signing of a troop withdrawal agreement with the United States in Qatar in February 2020, arrived to a hero’s welcome in Kandahar, the Taliban’s spiritual birthplace.

Mr. Baradar was expected to begin talks with former President Hamid Karzai and other politicians.

“The negotiations are going on right now,” said Ahmadullah Waseq, deputy of the Taliban’s cultural affairs committee, who confirmed Mr. Baradar’s arrival. For now, he said, Taliban officials are largely talking among themselves in preparation for the negotiations.

Taliban leaders have not provided details on the type of government they envision, beyond saying that it would adhere to Islamic values, a clear indication the militants intend to impose their strict interpretation of Shariah law.

Witnesses at the airport described continued scenes of chaos and panic. Mike, the former translator, said he helped Taliban fighters carry two Afghan women who had fainted in the morning heat.

“The women and children were screaming to the Taliban, ‘We’re going to die!’” Mike said. “They brought us a water hose.”

One young family in Kabul said they were growing increasingly frightened after camping for three days outside an airport compound. The crush of people was so great that they had not been able to reach the gate to submit their names. They had been cleared for evacuation and told by British officials to come to the compound, they said, but had ended up sleeping in the open with small children — with no idea whether they would be admitted.



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