Afghanistan: Tugendhat says ‘this is what defeat looks like’

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Gulafroz Ebtekar became a prominent female figure in the nation after becoming the first woman in Afghanistan to graduate from a police academy with a master’s degree. She then worked her way up to become deputy head of criminal investigations in Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry. However, Ms Ebtekar, who is reported to be aged 34, was attacked by the Taliban during their takeover at the gates outside Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul, where she had been spending five nights in the hope of securing a place on an evacuation flight.

She recalled fleeing after the beating and finding some US soldiers who she believed would help her, but she claimed they took her to a crowded street where there was a terrorist atttack.

Ms Ebtekar said: “We got to the refugee camp where the Americans were stationed.

“When the American soldiers were already near, I exhaled, I thought we were finally safe.

“I speak a little English. I explained that it was not safe for us to remain in Kabul. They checked our documents. I had my ID, passport, and police certificates with me.

“We were asked: ‘Where do you want to go?’ I replied: ‘It doesn’t matter, to a safe country where there is a chance we may survive’.

“They looked at me and answered quite impudently: ‘Okay’. And they asked one soldier to show us the way. I thought they would escort us to a plane or provide security.

“We did not want to leave, then the soldier raised his weapon: ‘Get out of here’. So we went out onto the road. At that moment, I didn’t want to live anymore.”

Ms Ebtekar, tried to seek help from the Moscow embassy as she had studied for a masters degree at a police academy in Russia, but she was refused help as she didn’t have a Russian passport or residency.

She told Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets: “I had dreamed of changing life in Afghanistan. First, when it comes to women in the police. And I did it.

“When I returned to my homeland, I got a job in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and soon got a rather high position.

“I became Deputy Chief for Criminal Investigations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban has quickly started to crackdown in Afghanistan after holding mock funerals for US, British, French and NATO forces yesterday.

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Streets were lined with coffins draped with the US, UK and French flag as well as NATO’s insignia in the Khost region.

And in Kandahar, thousands of people also gathered waving white Taliban flags to celebrate what the group has called its “independence day”.

People also celebrated with fireworks and gunfire in Kabul after the final American troops boarded an evacuation flight out of the country.

It comes after celebratory scenes in Kabul overnight, where fireworks exploded and gunfire rattled through the air moments after the final US jet departed.

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Speaking from the runway at Kabul airport this morning, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: “It is an historical day and an historical moment…. we liberated our country from a great power.”

He also warned the last 20 years should be remembered as a “big lesson for other invaders [and] a lesson for the world”.

Meanwhile, UK officials and the Taliban are currently in talks over how to secure a “safe passage” out of Afghanistan for British nationals and Afghan allies.

Downing Street confirmed Sir Simon Gass, the Prime Minister’s special representative for Afghan transition, has travelled to Qatar and is meeting with “senior Taliban representatives” to stress the importance of allowing people to leave Afghanistan.

The news emerged as the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced 15 crisis response specialists are being deployed to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to assist British diplomats in their work to allow people to escape Afghanistan over land borders and reach the UK.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has described the continuing evacuation efforts as “Dunkirk by WhatsApp”.

Former minister Nusrat Ghani also said she does not believe the Taliban have changed following the news of Ms Ebtekar’s beating.

The Conservative MP for Wealden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Their ideology is the same. They’re engaged in a never-ending war against unbelievers and apostates, and their one desire, and their one desire only, is to establish a caliphate that has no room for women and girls.”

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