Taliban says it won’t allow Afghans to reach Kabul airport as UN warns of ‘credible’ reports of executions

People struggle to cross the boundary wall of Hamid Karzai International Airport to flee the country after rumors that foreign countries are evacuating people even without visas, after the Taliban over run of Kabul, Afghanistan, 16 August 2021. STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • The Taliban said it won’t allow Afghans to reach Kabul airport.

  • A spokesperson said their skills are needed to rebuild the country.

  • The UN has warned that the Taliban is committing serious violations, including summary executions.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Taliban spokesperson on Tuesday said Afghans will be prevented from going to the airport in Kabul because their skills will be needed to rebuild the country.

“We are asking the American please change your policy and don’t encourage Afghans to leave,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said.

This came as the Taliban said it would not accept any extensions on the Biden administration’s August 31 deadline for evacuations, though US allies have said they’ll need more time.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights chief on Tuesday warned of credible reports of “summary executions” of civilians and surrendering Afghan forces, among other grave violations, per Reuters.

Biden participated in virtual talks on Afghanistan and on the ongoing evacuations with G7 leaders on Tuesday. The president was expected to make an announcement on whether to extend the August 31 deadline, which the Taliban has marked as a red line for evacuations.

CIA Director William J. Burns on Monday held a secret meeting with the Taliban’s top political leader, the Washington Post first reported, in what represented the highest-level sitdown between the Biden administration and the militant group since it took over Afghanistan in mid-August. Burns’ meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was remarkable on multiple levels, as the Taliban leader was once captured in a CIA-Pakistani operation that landed him in prison for eight years.

This is not the first time the Taliban has ruled over Afghanistan. It controlled the country from 1996 to 2001, instituting laws based on a strict interpretation of the Quran – enforcing the rules in a public, brutal fashion.

The Taliban has sought to present itself as a changed, more moderate entity since regaining control of the country. It’s vowed to extend amnesty to Afghans who worked with the US and the former government. But the militant Islamist group’s history offers many reasons to be skeptical.

Thousands of Afghans have scrambled to leave the country since the Taliban took over, prompting chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport. Over 58,000 people have been evacuated by the US military since August 14.

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