Four months after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the situation in is desperate and about to get worse.
Former government officials, soldiers, human rights workers and journalists are being hunted down and killed. Women remain banned from working, and girls are no longer allowed into secondary schools. Isis attacks have claimed hundreds of lives and the presence of al-Qaeda is growing with the threat of even more violence.
The economy is in free fall, medical facilities are close to breaking down and, as winter conditions worsen, there is the spectre of famine across the land. The Taliban Prime Minister Mohammed Hassan Akhund has declared that starvation “is a test from God after people rebelled against him.”
Tens of thousands of people who have reasons to fear persecution remain trapped in the country, some in hiding. Many of them who were judged to be vulnerable under the Taliban by the British government were not saved, we have been told, because of chaos, disorganisation and lack of resources allocated in London.
The devastating revelations by a whistleblower from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Raphael Marshall, were followed by MPs from the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee condemning what they called “ lack of leadership, urgency and adequate resourcing” during the evacuation, adding “ it is deeply painful how badly we have left Afghanistan down”.
Not only was the then Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on vacation as the Talibs were sweeping across Afghanistan, the Permanent Under Secretary, Sir Philip Barton, did not return from his holidays for 11 days after Kabul fell.
Kim Sengupta, the Defence and Diplomatic Editor of The Independent, has been reporting from Afghanistan for more than twenty years. He covered the fighting in the last summer, the fall of Kabul, the Taliban takeover and the violent turmoil surrounding the evacuation.
He will be available to answer your questions on Monday, 13 December at 4pm GMT during an ask me anything event being held in the comments section of this article.
If you have a question about the current situation in Afghanistan, submit it now, or when Kim joins you live at 4pm.
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