The Taliban officially held their first news conference in Kabul on Tuesday as traumatic scenes flooded the internet of civilians desperately attempting to flee the country. Thousands desperately stormed the Kabul airport, some going so far as to cling onto the outside of evacuating air transport, plunging to their death. Bodies have even been reported to have been found in the wheel wells of military planes.
The Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said “we don’t’ want any internal or external enemies.” The Taliban claimed they will not seek retribution against former soldiers and those who helped the United States and other western countries in the past two decades.
“Nobody is going to harm you, nobody is going to knock on your doors,” said Mujahid; a statement the world does not seem to hold in high confidence if history is any indication. Mujahid also addressed another global concern; the treatment of women under Taliban rule.
Women will be allowed to work and study and “will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam,” said Mujahid. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jack Sullivan said Tuesday in a press conference that the Taliban have agreed to allow “safe passage” from Afghanistan for civilians attempting to leave Kabul with U.S. air transport.
In the same press conference, however, Sullivan acknowledged reports that civilians were “being turned away or pushed back or even beaten” as they attempted to get to the Kabul airport.
The Associated Press reports the State Department “said it was sending John Bass a former ambassador to Afghanistan, to manage the evacuation operation in Kabul, and the Pentagon said it will send Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donohue, a special operations officer and current commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, to take command or airport security operations.”
The White House also stated 13 flights on Tuesday had airlifted 1,100 U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their families from Kabul, claiming more will continue throughout the week. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officers were speaking with Taliban commanders “multiple times a day” about avoiding conflict as they attempt to complete evacuations.
Afghan Journalists Release Photos After Being Severely Beaten by Taliban for Covering Women’s Protest
Two Afghan journalists, photographer Nematullah Naqdi and reporter Taqi Daryabi were severely beaten by the Taliban for reporting on a women’s protest in Kabul. The two were battered after being beaten with batons, electric cables and whips. The beating occurred after being detained for several hours by Taliban fighters a day earlier.
The two men, who work for Afghan’s media outlet Etilaat Roz, released photos of their bruised bodies once back in their Kabul office, after being released from Taliban custody. Naqdi told Agence France-Presse “One of the Taliban put his foot on my head, crushed my face against the concrete. They kicked me in the head…I thought they were going to kill me.”
Daryabi added “we were in so much pain that we couldn’t move.” Naqdi said he was told “you are lucky you weren’t beheaded” when asked why they were being beaten. When covering a protest on Wednesday outside a Kabul police station calling for an end to Taliban violations of women and girls, Naqdi said a Taliban fighter immediately tried to grab his camera when he began taking photos.
The Taliban were also rounding up anyone filming or taking photos of the demonstration, added Naqdi. The two say they were taken to a nearby police station where the beatings took place, only to be released after several hours.
The New York Post reports dozens of Afghan reporters have been beaten or accosted in recent weeks since the Taliban has recovered control of Afghanistan. The Taliban, however, claims that they will uphold press freedoms under their new regime. As has been proven time and time again, not much faith, if any, can be placed into anything the Taliban says or promises.
Raw Footage from Marine’s Helmet GoPro Shows ‘Two Straight Weeks of Worsening Conditions’ in Kabul
The Blaze got ahold of raw video taken from a Marine’s GoPro which shows the true chaos endured by those in Kabul as U.S. evacuations took place at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Marine Cpl. Mike Markland strung together the video clips from his helmet’s GoPro camera. The footage “captured the grittiness and desperation of the hurried evacuation” and reveals “two straight weeks of worsening conditions” on the ground, as seen from the viewpoint of the Marine from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
The 7-minute video has been saved on a YouTube page and shows U.S. service members disabling American military equipment and vehicles. It also shows stacks of AK-47s, PK machine guns, M-16s, and other weapons likely abandoned by the Afghan military after the country collapsed. The end of the video pays tribute to the 13 U.S. service members who died in the suicide bombing in Kabul.
Markland originally posted the video to his Instagram account, but it has since been deleted. The Blaze reports Task & Purpose published the video, as well as Markland’s comments on social media before the video, had been removed.
“I hope this answers questions but also provokes you to ask more,” Markland captioned the since-deleted Instagram video. “To my brothers and sisters who were there I made this for you and your family. When you have the lack of ability to explain all that happened in those two weeks, show them this. Stand tall and wear the last two weeks on your chest.”
“I haven’t found a way to explain it with any words I know,” the Marine admitted.
“Many of us joined because we liked fighting and were good with adversity and conflict,” Markland reportedly wrote. “Two weeks in Kabul at HKIA put all of that to the test. I can’t say enough how proud I am of the Marines I serve with.”
“Odds were stacked against us. Circumstances undeniably out of our control, but we never let it deter our tenacious approach towards our mission at hand. Adversity and challenges happened 24/7,” Markland said.
The Marine noted that “almost all had no predesignated plan.”
“We did our absolute best and remained stoic through the sleepless nights and round-the-clock work with minimal food and water,” he continued. “Staying up for two or more days straight at a time grinding but remaining intensely vigilant.”
The Blaze writes of the footage, “Markland’s video paints a far more shambolic Kabul exit than the sanitized photos and videos provided by the Department of Defense.”
The Blaze continues and details the footage:
The Afghans are densely packed into small areas with barbed wire fences at the borders of the holding area outside the Kabul airport. Marines shoot crowd munitions to attempt to calm the frantic masses. When crowd munitions aren’t effective, Marines are seen firing off warning shots from their firearms in an attempt to control the large crowds.
Babies are seen being handed to the Marines for safety. Lacking medical equipment, wounded people are taken to get treatment on a ladder. Men and women are seen bursting into tears. In one clip, a man in civilian clothes bashes another person with the stock of his AK-47.
Despite the sheer inhumanity of the bedlam, there are moments of hopeful humanity as Marines give fist bumps to smiling Afghans.
Marines bond in a circle as the song “Halftime” by Nas blares in the background. They pass around the camera, make silly faces, throw a pineapple at each other, and enjoy friendly bicycle races.
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