The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, according to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, is "breaking the chains of slavery". The Pakistan-backed group took over Kabul yesterday, setting off concerns about the return of the hardline system which deprived many sections, especially women, of civil rights in terms of education, jobs and marriage.
Talking about English as a medium of education and the subsequent absorption of culture, Imran Khan said, "You take over the other culture and become psychologically subservient. When that happens, please remember, it is worse than actual slavery. It is harder to throw off the chains of cultural enslavement. What is happening in Afghanistan now, they have broken the shackles of slavery".
Panic reigned in the war-torn nation as the Taliban reconquered Afghanistan in the space of 10 days and took control of Kabul on Sunday -- more than two weeks before the August 31 deadline for complete pullout of the US troops.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, conceding that the terrorists have won the 20-year war.
The astonishingly quick collapse of the government, with the Taliban taking over the presidential palace on Sunday night, had triggered panic in Kabul. Last evening, chaos reigned at the Kabul airport, where thousands of Afghans gathered, desperate to leave the country.
Gunshots were heard as the people jostled to get into the few remaining aircraft. The Afghan airspace has been closed.
While most fear retaliation by Taliban, especially in cases of support to the US invasion and occupation, there are concerns about the loss of hard-won civic rights over the last 20 years.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Taliban and all other parties "to exercise utmost restraint in order to protect lives and ensure that humanitarian needs can be addressed," the UN said in a statement.
He was "particularly concerned about the future of women and girls, whose hard-won rights must be protected," the statement added.