New Delhi: Embassies in Kabul and savvy netizens are pushing out important information to people stuck in Kabul as the Taliban tightens its grip over Afghanistan’s capital city through checkpoints and by launching door-to-door searches for its ‘enemies’.
Netizens are using open source intelligence (OSINT) to forewarn travellers about the situation in Kabul city.
Besides updated information about movement within Kabul, and commuting to the airport, tech-savvy bloggers are uploading maps of Taliban militants’ check points in Kabul.
The Taliban takeover of Kabul has jeopardised rescue efforts. Even though the US controls the airport, it is finding it difficult to fly out its own citizens and Afghan allies as they are unable to reach the airport. OSINT experts have also made public the entry points to the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA).
Sporadic violence has been reported from the airport and its vicinity. The British forces alleged today that seven people were killed in the melee around the airport. Many similar incidents where innocent people lost their lives have happened since the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15.
Just yesterday, Sikhs and Hindus proceeding to catch a flight to Delhi were stopped by the Taliban and many were sent back.
Even the mighty US has told its citizens that they should travel to Kabul only when they find it is safe to do so as the Taliban fighters are controlling the highways. It has also refrained people from coming to the airport without prior intimation.
Other Western embassies too are putting out information for their nationals and friendly Afghans. One of these is that people waiting to exit Kabul have to provide exact coordinates of their locations so that the security personnel can extricate them quickly.
Other instructions include bringing as few belongings as possible and certainly no pets for the simple reason that people are the priority and not luggage.
With a severe threat to the safety of people being evacuated, the western embassies have advised that even those who have to be rescued shall not arrive at the HKIA till they have been clearly asked to come to the airport. Also, the military section of the airport does not have much food and water.
In the fear and chaos that has gripped Kabul, embassies have also requested people to arrive before 9pm, as the curfew remains from 9 PM-6 AM. This has become important as the Joe Biden administration has advised people to recognise the Taliban as the local authority.