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Afghan civilians fear what Taliban rule will mean for women

 

There is bedlam at the airport in Kabul, with thousands of Afghans struggling to get on the next plane out, a day after Taliban fighters took control of the capital.

The Taliban’s sudden capture of Kabul – less than 20 years after U.S. forces overthrew their government – has shocked the world. Many observers compare the scenes to the fall of South Vietnam in 1975.

At least five people have been killed in the chaos. By evening yesterday, President Ashraf Ghani – who only the day before had vowed to keep fighting – fled the country. He said he left to avoid bloodshed. His countrymen are calling him a coward.

Much of the population is in hiding, afraid of what’s next.

Bedlam at the airport in Kabul, as Afghans fleeing the Taliban scrambled to climb onto a C-17 taking off. Sudhir Chaudhary/Twitter

 

Taliban fighters soon declared an end to the war, from the comfort of the presidential palace, hours after strolling into Kabul – just 11 days after launching an offensive, and overwhelming U.S.-trained Afghan forces in cities across Afghanistan.

Correspondent Roxana Saberi is in Kabul where, she reports, the desperation is undeniable.

Saberi said no one expected the Taliban to reach Kabul so fast. In the past few days the Taliban have taken city after city. Afghans fleeing the fighters stormed Kabul’s airport, where this morning there was more chaos, as gunfire rang out. Unable to get on a flight, Saberi and her crew decided to stay.

CBS News has learned there is a temporary halt to flights from the airport.

The U.S. is deploying 1,000 more troops to the airport, as Washington scrambles to evacuate Americans from the country.

Eight-year-old Sharifa told Saberi she wasn’t afraid when she lost her leg in a Taliban attack on her village four months ago. When asked what she is afraid of now, Sharifa replied, “Not being allowed back to school,” adding she dreams of becoming a doctor.

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Sharifa, an eight-year-old Afghan girl who lost a leg in a Taliban attack, hopes to become a doctor one day, but is afraid the Taliban will no longer allow her to go to school. CBS News

 

Pashtana Durrani was helping educate girls in Kandahar, until the Taliban seized the southern city last week, and she went into hiding.

Saberi asked her, “What do you think would happen to you if the Taliban found you now?”

“I don’t want to just assume all they’re going to come and murder me,” Durrani said. “But I would really like for them to accept for a fact that we are just the same people from the same country, right? I just have different views when it comes to girls’ education.”

The Taliban have pledged not to harm civilians and to respect women’s rights under sharia law.

Saberi asked Durrani, “We met a little girl who wants to be a doctor one day. What do you think her future will look like?”

“I’m afraid about all those girls, including the girl that wants to be a doctor, because for that you have to go to a school,” she replied. “And can she go to school in this regime? Can she? I’m not sure.”

One Afghan who worked for the now-fallen government told Saberi the Taliban came knocking on his door last night, looking for him. He called us, terrified, begging for help.


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