Did the US Offer the Taliban Cash to Complete Evacuations of Its Diplomats?

Published August 16th, 2021 - 05:41 GMT
newspaper in Islamabad
Taliban militants entered Kabul on the 15th of August without a fight. (AAMIR QURESHI / AFP)

As the world watched in shock the Taliban militants entering the Afghan capital and taking over the government in the span of hours, social media platforms flooded with news detailing the struggles faced by foreign entities trying to evacuate their members from Afghanistan.

While security and military experts expected the Taliban to take over the country within 90 days, the reality showed that the militant group that governed Afghanistan 20 years ago was able to recapture the country including the capital in just a few days, leaving foreign delegations in limbo.

As soon as news of the Taliban being at the outskirts of Kabul broke out, questions over foreign embassies started to rise, especially that previous statements had confirmed no plans to evacuate anyone since intelligence reports did not warn of an approaching take over by the Taliban.

However, the unanticipated arrival of the Taliban at Kabul on Sunday accelerated efforts to transfer diplomats and embassy personnel to Kabul's international airport on very short notice, which urged western governments to "buy more time" to complete the process.

Some unverified online sources have reported that the US has offered the Taliban "vast sums of cash" so it can evacuate their staff, an offer believed to have been approved by the Taliban.

Overnight, the US, French, German, Saudi, and other diplomatic missions' staff have been able to reach the airport and leave Afghanistan for good, with no attacks by the Taliban.

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