Final stretch: Westerners being blocked, beaten by Taliban amid last-ditch evacuation efforts

DM

Taliban fighters beat an Australian man bloody and fired gunshots at a checkpoint near Kabul’s airport in a new video that gives a dramatic glimpse into the desperate struggle to pass militant roadblocks. The footage was published just a week before President Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw US troops, which has triggered a mad dash to the airport by Western citizens and Afghans who aided them. “I’m an Australian citizen. They hit me,” said the man with blood streaming down his face. Bearded fighters menacingly brandished semiautomatic rifles nearby and one appeared to object to being filmed. Five of the man’s Afghan-citizen family members were with him, but a member of the group said the relatives were split up, with some feared abducted, according to the Daily Mail. Taliban leaders said Tuesday they will no longer allow Afghans to enter the airport after thousands mobbed the country’s exit when the radical group swept into Kabul last week — adding uncertainty for dual citizens and Afghans who helped US and allied forces in the 20-year conflict. Since Aug. 14, the United States has helped evacuate 82,300 people including Americans and Afghan allies.

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