The Straits Times says

Lessen the pain from Taleban's takeover

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The thousands of Afghans camped outside Kabul airport hoping for passage out of the country speak volumes about their fear and distrust of the Taleban, the ultraconservative group that has gained control over Afghanistan amid a chaotic withdrawal by the United States after a 20-year war. Memories of the group's brutal rule from 1996 to 2001 - marked by harsh punishments for crimes and the denial of almost all access to education and employment to women - as well as fear of retribution for having worked for the fallen Afghan government and foreigners, are driving the exodus. While the Taleban tried to allay fears by claiming it will form an inclusive government, pardon those who fought against it and allow women and girls to go to school and work, things look different on the ground, fuelling scepticism. There are credible reports of abuses, including summary executions of civilians, restrictions on women's rights and recruitment of child soldiers.

A humanitarian crisis is forming as the economy is tanking amid the chaos, and millions of internally displaced Afghans are in need of food and shelter. There is also concern that the Taleban in power will continue to harbour terrorist groups, whose Sept 11, 2001 attacks on America triggered the US invasion.

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