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Hundreds of thousands flee Taliban rampage as UK plots mass evacuation from Kabul

HUNDREDS of thousands of refugees are trying to escape from rampaging Taliban fighters as the UK plans to evacuate up to 4,000 British nationals, contractors and staff.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson held an emergency Cobra meeting today as 600 UK personnel were dispatched and a new embassy is being hurriedly set up in a compound in Kabul airport for a skeleton staff.

Many fear the return of the harsh laws imposed when the fanatics were in power from 1996 to 2001
Credit: AP

Tens of thousands of people have been heading to the Pakistan border
Credit: EPA

City after city has been falling to the Taliban and it’s feared the capital could soon fall
Credit: AFP

The exodus is growing by the day as the Taliban campaign to regain power gains momentum

Taliban forces are surging across the country at an alarming rate after Western forces abandoned the nation after 20 years of war and seemingly futile attempts at rebuilding it.

Its fighters were marauding through the city of Herat, western Afghanistan today in a lightning offensive that is gradually encircling Kabul.

The fanatics now control two-thirds of the country, with the country’s second-largest city, Kandahar, falling to them.

Meanwhile, the UK has ordered 600 troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade to evacuate the British Embassy.


Only a skeleton staff of diplomats led by the ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow will remain in a temporary embassy on the Kabul airport military compound.

Denmark and Germany are also shutting their embassies.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled their homes amid fears the religious fanatics will again impose a brutal, repressive government, all but eliminating women’s rights.

Under the Taliban’s 1996 to 2001 rule, women could not work, girls were not allowed to attend school and women had to cover their faces.

They also had to and accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes.

The United Nations begged for neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to allow people to escape.

Images emerging today showed fleeing Afghans entering Pakistan after the country re-opened its Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing for people who had been otherwise stranded in recent weeks.

The crossing is a major gateway between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is reported to be under Taliban control.

Juma Khan, the border town’s deputy commissioner, said the crossing was reopened following talks with the Taliban.

It comes amid growing concern over the Taliban’s lightning offensive that is gradually encircling the capital Kabul only weeks before the full withdrawal of Allied armed forces.

US intelligence assessments concluded this week that the Taliban could isolate Kabul within 30 days and take it over in 90.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he feared multinational terror network al Qaeda, the group behind atrocities such as the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, would “probably come back” as Afghanistan de-stabilises once again.

Afghan military and officials leave Kandahar city during fighting between the Taliban and security personnel, in Kandahar, southwest of Kabul
Credit: AP

A Taliban fighter holds a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) along the roadside in Herat
Credit: AFP

Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces take refuge in a public park Kabul
Credit: AP


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