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What Kabul Looks Like 2 Days After The Taliban Took Control

"Kabul was a bit better compared to yesterday," said a journalist based in Afghanistan's capital city who sent a message to NPR on Tuesday.

For the person's protection, we are not naming the journalist, who said there were signs suggesting a gradual return to some semblance of normalcy two days after the Taliban launched a lightning assault on Kabul, forcing out the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

"I have seen some more traffic police out in duties. I have seen some clinics, small markets and shops inside Kabul were open," the journalist said. "I saw a woman at the same time I saw young Afghans with Western style of clothes walking around in the city."

Still, many Afghans continue to fear for their lives and wonder what the future holds in a country under Taliban control — even if the group known for brutality claims it will be different this time.

Referencing the international airport in Kabul, where masses of people thronged departing airplanes on Monday in a desperate bid to get out of the country, the journalist said, "Still there was a bit of rush of people."

The person said there were shots fired, too — into the air. "I think it was just giving a message to the Afghans to go back home."

Pentagon officials said Tuesday that the airport is secure and that the pace of evacuations is expected to increase. Some 700 passengers were evacuated overnight, and officials have a goal of evacuating up to 9,000 per day.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that U.S. military commanders at the Kabul airport are also in communication with Taliban leaders who control the perimeter of the airport.

Throngs gather outside the international airport in Kabul on Tuesday.
/ AP
Throngs gather outside the international airport in Kabul on Tuesday.

This piece first appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.