The pace and scale of the losses have left Western officials scrambling to update already grim assessments of the duration of Ashraf Ghani’s rule. There are fears that the Taliban could now step into Kabul within days.
On Friday evening, it was announced that Canada would accept 20,000 Afghan refugees, with families of interpreters already installed being a priority.
Denmark and Norway announced on Friday that they were closing their embassies and evacuating their staff. Finland will evacuate up to 130 local Afghan workers. However, his embassy will remain open for the time being subject to further security assessments.
The UN is assessing the security situation in Afghanistan “hour by hour” and moving personnel to the capital Kabul, but is not evacuating anyone from the country, the UN spokesman said on Friday.
Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that the UN had “a very small footprint” in some areas taken by the Taliban. It has approximately 3,000 national and approximately 300 international staff on the ground in Afghanistan.
The British Defense Secretary has warned that al-Qaeda will “probably” make a comeback given the Taliban’s gains.
Ben Wallace said the Taliban created “momentum” after making a “rotten deal” with Donald Trump’s White House that paved the way for the withdrawal of American troops, and with them British soldiers.
“We are all, as an international community, going to pay the consequences, but when the United States as a framework nation made that decision, the way we were all configured, the way we entered meant that we also had to leave, ”he told Sky News.
“I am absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for these types of people – which is why I said I thought it was not the right time or the right decision to make because, of course, al-Qaeda will likely return … Failure states around the world lead to instability, lead to threat to our security and interests. “
He added that he was “concerned” about the prospect of new terrorist threats “but we have the capacities to protect ourselves”.
Johnny Mercer, former defense minister and Afghanistan veteran, said Joe Biden made a “huge mistake” in completing the withdrawal, but the UK did not have to follow suit and could have rallied support from other NATO allies.
“This idea that we cannot act unilaterally and support the Afghan security forces is just not true,” he told the BBC. “The political will to see through lasting support for Afghanistan has not been there, and a lot of people are going to die because of it, and for me that is extremely humiliating.”