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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Taliban Tightens Control of Afghanistan Capital


The Taliban strengthened control of Afghanistan’s capital Tuesday, as a senior official from the Islamist movement arrived for contacts with political leaders from the fallen Afghan republic. 

Indeed, thousands of Afghans employed by Western embassies in Kabul were stranded in the city, unable to board evacuation flights. 

Airport access remained difficult for U.S. troops because of Taliban checkpoints at the entrances. Because of this, some evacuation flights left the country close to empty. 

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Taliban members continued searching offices and homes of Afghans affiliated with Western governments to collect evidence. They even inspected Afghan’s smartphones for illegal content and any English communications.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, former chief peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah and former Islamist warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who initially allied himself with the Taliban but then reconciled with Kabul, all stayed in Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani and most of his government fled the country on Sunday.

In an interview, Hekmatyar said the Kabul-based politicians wanted to talk about sharing power with the Taliban, but didn’t have any details about how that would work. 

The Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said he would hold the group’s first press conference in Kabul later Tuesday.