On the same day the footage was posted online by Alinejad, António Guterres, the United Nations’ secretary-general, said in a statement that he was “deeply disturbed by early indications” that the Taliban are already imposing restrictions in the areas under their control – targeting women and journalists in particular.
“It is particularly horrifying and heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them,” he added.
People on Twitter have since responded to the girl’s moving statement:
@AlinejadMasih @Syrians4J Heartbreaking. We gave them the illusion of a future, then we pulled the rug. We should h… https://t.co/ikTnLXbGJ4
@AlinejadMasih This is heartbreaking to listen to , the brutal cruelty this regime will do is unbearable, how can t… https://t.co/eH2fIIx7is
— Stephen young 💙 💚 (@Stephen young 💙 💚)
In a nationwide offensive that has taken just over a week, the Taliban has defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swathes of the country, even though they had some air support from the US military. The lightning speed of the push has shocked many and raised questions about why Afghan forces crumbled despite years of US training and billions of dollars spent.
Just days ago, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under insurgent pressure. However, on Sunday, Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul after promising not to take it by force.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Qatar’s Al-Jazeera English satellite news channel that the insurgents are “awaiting a peaceful transfer of Kabul city.”
He declined to offer specifics on any possible negotiations between his forces and the government, but when pressed on what kind of agreement the Taliban wanted, Shaheen acknowledged that they were seeking an unconditional surrender by the central government.
President Ashraf Ghani later fled the country and insurgents stormed the presidential palace in Kabul, declaring that the war is “over”.
Over in the UK, Boris Johnson had faced calls for a last-ditch intervention to prevent the complete collapse of Afghanistan. The lead elements of the British forces sent to evacuate the remaining UK nationals were understood to be in the capital amid fears it could fall within days or even hours.
In a sign of the speed of the collapse, arrangements were reportedly being made to fly the British ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow out of the country.
It had previously been intended that he should remain in a secure location at Kabul airport along with other international diplomats.
But amid a hurried scramble for safety, helicopters were seen landing at the US embassy to ferry away remaining personnel.
There is now deep anger among many MPs at the way – 20 years after the first international forces entered Afghanistan – the country is being abandoned to its fate.
The chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat said it was “the biggest single foreign policy disaster” since Suez, while Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said it was a humiliation for the West.
Despite the decision of the Biden administration to withdraw the remaining US troops which triggered the collapse, Ellwood said it was still not too late to turn the situation around.
He called for the despatch of the Royal Navy carrier strike group to the region and urged the Prime Minister to convene an emergency conference of “like-minded nations” to see what could be done.
“I plead with the Prime Minister to think again. We have an ever-shrinking window of opportunity to recognise where this country is going as a failed state,” he told Times Radio.
“We can turn this around but it requires political will and courage. This is our moment to step forward.
“We could prevent this, otherwise history will judge us very, very harshly in not stepping in when we could do and allowing the state to fail.”