In Kabul threatened by the Taliban, residents “seek to liquidate their entire lives before leaving the country”

By Ghazal Golshiri

Posted today at 6:41 am, updated at 9:41 am

Kabul is plunged into a deceptive torpor on Friday August 13th. It is the afternoon, and already the end of the weekend in Afghanistan, but the concern of the inhabitants of the capital is palpable. It is reflected in conversations, but also in the stalls of shops in a city now under direct threat from the offensive of the Taliban – who have just seized Pol-e Alam, the capital of the province of Logar, in only 50 km south of Kabul.

A few days ago, passers-by hardly noticed the second-hand shops in the Taimani district, located in the center. But recently they are rushing there. The major capitals of the Afghan provinces are falling one after the other into the hands of Islamist rebels – already 18 out of 34 – and more and more Afghans are selling their belongings at low prices before fleeing.

“They seek to liquidate their entire life before leaving the country. People are very afraid ”, explains Omar Afzali, one of the traders. Sitting on a chair in front of rows of worn objects – vacuum cleaners, suitcases, dressers, rugs, mirrors, mattresses, curtains, fans, wooden wardrobes and sofas – he says no “To twenty or thirty people” every day : “There are a lot of sellers and I can’t buy everything. ”

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The fear gripped 22-year-old Omar Afzali just as much as his clients. His fiancee lived in Herat, the country’s third largest city, which was conquered Thursday August 12 by the Taliban. “I called her two hours ago. She told me that she had left Herat and that she was now in a camp somewhere, I don’t know where ”, explains this young man with the thick black beard. Her fiancée, she fears above all that the Taliban will capture her to force her to marry one of the combatants. “My heart burns with worry”, concedes the young Afghan, using an expression in Dari, the Persian language of the country. The young man is also worried about his sisters, who live in a district in northern Kabul: “There are many Taliban there. It keeps me from sleeping at night. “

“These people are ruthless”

Examples of the cruelty of the Taliban are circulating among the population. “These people are ruthless”, says Omar Afzali, who tells the story of a man living with his wife and daughter in Herat. Surprised by the Islamists at home, he assured them that they were both his wives, polygamy being allowed, in an attempt to save them from a forced marriage. The ace. The Taliban allegedly took his wife from him, telling her that one wife was enough for him.

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