Afghan police have redeployed at checkpoints around Kabul airport alongside Taliban forces, for the first time since the movement took control of Afghanistan, two policemen said on Sunday.
The police had withdrawn from their positions, fearing the reaction of the movement when the “Taliban” invaded Kabul last month and overthrew the government. But two members of the security apparatus said that they returned to work, Saturday, after receiving calls from leaders in the “Taliban”.
On Sunday, an AFP correspondent at the airport saw border police deployed at several checkpoints outside the main airport buildings, including the domestic flight hall. “I went back to work yesterday (Saturday) after more than two weeks of staying at home,” a police officer told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
Another said, “I received a call from a senior Taliban commander asking me to return,” adding, “Yesterday was a wonderful day, and we are very happy to serve again.” The hardline Taliban says it granted a general amnesty to everyone who worked in the previous government, including the army, police and other security services.
Taliban officials indicate that they want to integrate the other forces, but they have not explained how this will happen or how they will deal with a security apparatus of about 600,000 members.
Kabul airport was severely damaged during the evacuation of more than 120,000 people, which was overshadowed by chaos and ended with the withdrawal of US forces on August 30. The “Taliban” movement, which entered Kabul after the defeat of government forces on August 15, is working to restart the capital’s airport with Gulf technical assistance.
Since the US withdrawal, the UAE has established an air bridge to deliver tons of aid to Afghanistan, where planes have transported hundreds of tons of medical and food supplies. An airport employee who handles security and works for a private company confirmed that border police have been around the airport since Saturday, telling AFP: “They share security duties with the Taliban.”
Qatar Airways has operated flights from Kabul in recent days, mostly carrying foreigners and Afghans who were not taken during the recent evacuations. An Afghan airline resumed its domestic flights last week, while Pakistan International Airlines is expected to start flights from Islamabad to Kabul in the coming days.