Afghans don’t believe Taliban’s softer rhetoric and are desperate to flee the country with the chaotic scenes from the Kabul airport best describing the despair, former CIA intelligence officer Shannon Spann told Fox News in an exclusive interview.
Spann, widow of the first American service member killed in combat in Afghanistan, also CIA officer, says that images of people clinging to the landing gear of aircraft attempting to get away from Afghanistan is haunting reminder of people’s fear of Taliban being back in power.
She also believes that the Taliban is painting a false narrative by claiming Afghans who helped the US would not face retaliation and that women’s rights would be guaranteed within the framework of Shariah, as Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claims, as reports of executions, killings and forced marriages continue to flow.
Spann expressed deep disappointment in President Biden’s defiant stance Monday with regard to the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan despite growing Taliban menace pointing that he failed at keeping people bigger than the problem, something every excellent leader does.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, EU lawmakers expect as many as a million displaced Afghans to end up in Europe within the next month and they’d be mostly from the urban elites and middle class since rural Afghans are those who support the Taliban.
French MEP Thierry Mariani, special French envoy to Afghanistan in 2009-2010 sent by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, believes that the ‘Taliban Season 2’, as she calls it, will be quite different from the first but says the danger of a new migrant influx had been acknowledged even by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Belgian MEP Tom Vandendriessche and from nationalist party Vlaams Belang member, also belives most desperate to leave Afghanistan are the people who do not trust the mercy of the Taliban, but warns that traditional ‘welcoming attitude’ of Germany for the asylum seekers and the ‘open borders’ offer by EP socialist President David Sassoli send the wrong signal to the Afghan population.
Yet, both Mariani and Vandendriessche remain optimistic about the possible developments in Afghanistan pointing to the good communications Taliban learned from Qatar that despite being accused of supporting terrorism, is maintaining good relations with France and other Western countries.