IU Professor with relatives in Kabul talks Taliban takeover and ISIS-K attack

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INDIANAPOLIS — The massive evacuation effort in Kabul continues after two suicide bombings killed dozens Thursday, including 13 U.S. service members.

IU Professor Nazif Shahrani was born in Afghanistan and still has family and friends in Kabul.

“People are fearful, they are uncertain, they are also worried about making a living,” Shahrani said.

He said his family, friends and the entire country is living in chaos right now.

“Taliban have increased searches house to house, people have been hanged, people have been shot,” Shahrani said.

As for the Americans and Afghans who have helped the U.S. and are still trying to get out, there is fear of another attack.

“It is going to be an extraordinarily stressful time for them as these last few days of the evacuation takes place,” said Sumit Ganguly, a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at IU Bloomington

Ganguly said the group claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, ISIS-K, is an offshoot of the Taliban.

“ISIS-K then represents a more radical, extreme form of the Taliban’s ideology,” Ganguly said.

Both Ganguly and Shahrani fear Afghanistan is headed for a conflict with both resistance forces and ISIS-K.

“It could once again plunge this tragic country into the cauldron of yet another civil war,” Ganguly said.

Shahrani said resistance forces are growing in the Panjshir Valley. He said these resistance forces have asked the Taliban for an inclusive, decentralized government and for women to have rights and be unrestricted.

Shahrani is hoping others will step up to help.

“My hope is the international community will stand against the Taliban and will either persuade them or, if possible, put pressure on them to accept an inclusive government and decentralized government,” Shahrani said.

Shahrani said if these demands are not met there will likely be civil war in Afghanistan, and the turmoil of the past decades will continue.

“The country has several times been decimated of its talent, its courageous people in the wars,” he said.

Shahrani said despite President Biden giving up on Afghanistan, there are still people who believe.

“Afghans have not given up and we need to support those who are still aspiring to have an Afghanistan that is free, that is democratic, that respects human rights,” Shahrani said.

President Biden has said the evacuation effort from Afghanistan will end on Aug. 31.

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