The Dutchwoman in Kabul: “It is heartbreaking to leave everyone behind” | The Taliban advances in Afghanistan

Isabelle Langrac will leave the Afghan capital of Kabul in a few days, if her scheduled trip continues to go ahead. The Dutch woman is very worried about the Afghan friends and colleagues she left behind. “I’ll be fine, but there’s such a mixed feeling that I can leave and she can’t,” it sounds on the phone. Langrak worked in the country for nearly five years as a project manager for the British organization Afghan Aid. “It’s heartbreaking to have to leave them behind.”

Dutch says that the Taliban’s encirclement of the capital was not noticeable from a military point of view for a long time. “I was in the office this morning. Everyone there was very nervous because the Taliban was clearly coming. When it was rumored that they were already in town, chaos broke out. Traffic came to a standstill and there were long queues in front of banks and stores.”

Langrak has helped women become economically independent in recent years. The organization I worked for also taught women and men women’s rights and human rights. “From an Islamic perspective,” she adds.

There were long queues for the seats. © AP

“Many women cry”

For many Afghan women, the immediate future appears bleak. Langerak refers to messages about women, for example, that they are no longer allowed to leave the house on their own. “I’ve spoken to many women who have shed tears.”


Doesn’t look good on women

Isabel Langrac

Everyone on her team, which is mainly made up of Afghan women, is nervous about what the future will hold. In several provinces, the Taliban said the work of NGOs could continue, but they wanted to limit the content. It doesn’t look good on women.”

Much faster than expected

The seizure of power in the country is happening much faster than anyone in Langrak’s environment might have expected. When the provincial capitals began to decline, it was clear that the same thing would happen to Kabul at some point. But we thought we still had some time. When Herat and Kandahar fell to the Taliban on Thursday, it was a shock. Everyone thought those cities would last longer.”

Langrac hopes to leave the country next week on a commercial flight. “We tried to get on the evacuation flights today, but it didn’t work. Now we’re packing and we’ll have to wait and see.

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Denton Watson

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