Afghan Killed In Firefight At Kabul Airport As Resistance Forces Prepare For Showdown In Panjshir
Another guard was killed Monday outside the International Airport in Kabul when a firefight broke out, leaving one member of the Afghan National Army dead, and three others wounded. Some members of the now-dissolved Afghan military are helping to guard the airport.
News of the killing was revealed by the Germany military, which announced it via twitter early Monday morning in the US. No German soldiers were harmed in the skirmish, fortunately. It doesn’t appear that any other NATO forces were harmed either. The firefight was instigated by unidentified gunmen.
The withdrawal from the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan has been a disaster, with polls showing a majority of Americans no longer see him as “competent or effective”.
AFP reports that at least 8 people have been killed in gunfire outside the airport during the chaotic scenes that have emerged since Kabul fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15.
VIDEO: @AFP on the ground at Kabul airport.
Terrified Afghans continue to try to flee the country after the Taliban takeover, overwhelming the evacuation operation at the airport and leading to tragic scenes in which at least eight people have died pic.twitter.com/ZZCjy2M7ab
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 23, 2021
Of course, it’s not only Americans who are leaving the country via airlift, as the AFP reminds us with what appears to be the first full accounting of post-takeover evacuations. NATO forces have evacuated about 30K people in total.
As he insisted during a press conference on Sunday, Biden, who has redeployed thousands back to Afghanistan to oversee the evacuations, insists that he wants to end the US military presence and the airlifts by Aug. 31 (a timeline that has been dictated by the Taliban). The EU and Britain have said completing the airlift in that time would be impossible, leaving Biden with a difficult choice to make. Talks are reportedly underway about the possibility of extending the deadline.
Meanwhile, the last pockets of resistance inside Afghanistan have continued to gather in the Panjshir Valley, historically a hotbed of anti-Taliban resistance. The Taliban said Monday that their fighters had surrounded resistance forces holed up in the valley, but were looking to negotiate rather than take the fight to them. Taliban fighters “are stationed near Panjshir”, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid via tweet, adding that the Taliban had the area surrounded on three sides.
An AFP photographer managed to snap photos of members of the ragtag “resistance” forces.
The announcement about the encirclement of Panjshir follows scattered reports of clashes overnight. Afghanistan’s former vice president Amrullah Saleh told the press that resistance forces were holding strong.
One of the leaders of the movement in Panjshir (which goes by the National Resistance Front) is the son of famed anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
While the NRF says it’s prepared for a “long-term conflict”, it’s first and foremost seeking to negotiate with the Taliban about the possibility of an “inclusive” government.