Taliban militants captured the Afghan capital on 15 August. The last US forces withdrew from Afghanistan on Monday. President Biden vowed that America would continue work to take at risk persons out of the war-torn country even after its withdrawal, but did not specify how Washington would do so.
Former Afghan officials and security personnel, as well as activists, journalists and women who worked with the Afghan government are now hiding out in literal “underground facilities” while searching for opportunities to escape the country, Newsweek reports, citing individuals said to be engaged in the operations.
The secret locations are said to have been rented out by locals with a record of working for the government, and to contain a broad range of individuals, including former activists, ex-cops, security personnel, women and children.
Niamatullah told Newsweek that he has been on the run since August, changing his whereabouts and phone number regularly as the Taliban have searched for him.
The former official said the facilities are solar-powered, feature basic amenities and even limited cellphone reception and internet. Food, medicine and other supplies are said to be provided by a complex delivery process of changing phone numbers and meeting points designed to ensure security.
Naser Waziri, a former security advisor who is working with Niamatullah, said that the individuals on the run plan to remain in hiding until a way to escape the country can be found.